Special Exhibitions

Magnificent Mansions of the Past

Magnificent Mansions of the Past Phase IV – West Ottawa

The focus of the new “Phase IV” exhibit will be on old mansions and homes that were or are located on Ottawa’s West side. This exhibit will be set up by street – i.e. Ottawa Avenue, Illinois Avenue, Benton Street, etc. In researching this area of town, many surprising things have been discovered that will be shared with visitors to the exhibit. There will be some current photos of the inside of a few of these homes.

This exhibit will include the homes of Hubert J. Hilliard, Walter B. Palmer, Maurice T. Moloney, William Hickling, Enos Palmer, Max Kneussl, John Fiske Nash, Silas Cheever, Thomas Bellrose, Harry Bellrose and several others.

The exhibit will feature photos of these old homes, past and present, and of some of the people who lived in them. In addition to viewing the photos, visitors will be able to learn about the lives of the people who built/lived in these homes, and their “place” was in the scheme of things in Ottawa in the 1800s and early 1900s. They came from all walks of life – lawyers, bankers, businessmen, farmers. The visitor will discover many things about the history of Ottawa that they may not have known.For example – do you know what prominent Ottawa attorney served as Attorney General of the State of Illinois from 1893-1897? Who owned the home that eventually became the Hulse Funeral Home? What prominent west-side Ottawan helped to start a newspaper called The Constitutionalist, which would become today’s newspaper, The Times? Where did Ottawa’s first Mayor live? Visit the Ottawa Scouting Museum and discover the answer to these and many other interesting questions!

Questions may be directed to Executive Director, Mollie Perrot, at the museum on weekends, 815/431-9353.

The museum is located at 1100 Canal Street in Ottawa, Illinois. Admission to the museum is $3 per adult, $2 per youth, through age 17. The museum is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  Lincoln-Douglas Debate Time Capsule Opening

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Time Capsule Opening

When Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas visited Ottawa as the site of their first debate, it created an historic event celebrated in Ottawa many times since Aug. 21, 1858.

In 1958, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the debates, a huge celebration took place in Ottawa.

Events were planned and executed for residents and visitors alike — and visitors came from all over. A parade that was a cornerstone feature of those festivities drew a crowd estimated at 35,000 people.

One of the post-celebration activities included the internment of a time capsule in Washington Square. The capsule was intended to be opened in 2008, 49 years after its interment, an event that took place August 21, 2008.

The Ottawa Scouting Museum has created an exhibit to showcase some of the materials found in the time capsule. Included in this exhibit are 50 photos of events that took place in 1958 as well as numerous documents, items — and the actual time capsule.

The exhibit is available at the Ottawa Scouting Museum, 1100 Canal St, Ottawa, Illinois. Questions may be directed to Mollie Perrot, executive director of the museum at 815-431-9353.

A complete list of the time capsule contents is online at www.mywebtimes.com.