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Columns

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 –  A month after convicted murderer Stuart Heaton had his petition for a new trial denied, his attorney argued that a ruling on his request for new DNA testing should be granted.
    Kelly McGinnis, a Greenville man charged with shooting up the office of Vandalia attorney Larry LeFevre, argued that because he will be in shackles for his trial, so should Fayette County State’s Attorney James Overholt.

  • Article describes Vandalia's second capitol

    The first capitol in Vandalia was a frame two-story building erected on the northwest corner of Fifth and Johnson streets – at the current site of The Leader-Union.  Construction began in the spring of 1820, and records show it was built at a cost of around $4,000.
    A fire, discovered around 2 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 9, 1823, totally destroyed the building, along with some state papers.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two young ladies, pictured in the mid-1950s, were attending 4-H camp at Allerton State Park.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – Vandalia’s first city administrator, Ron Neibert, had begun work at Vandalia City Hall.
    Former Vandalia residents, Winifred and Dennis Smith,  were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.
    Members of the Vandalia Historical Society approved the incorporation of the group, a step that became necessary after local historian, Mary Burtschi, announced her wish to donate the Little Brick House to the society.

  • Coles paid the price for anti-slavery stance

     Edward Coles has been ranked along with Abraham Lincoln as one of Illinois’ greatest citizens. It has been said of Coles, who was Illinois’ second governor (1822-1826), that he was a “victim of his own integrity.” Read on to see why.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – Between 450 and 500 people attended the open house for the new emergency room addition at Fayette County Hospital.
    Representatives of GEM (Going the Extra Mile) went to Springfield to receive a Governor's Home Town Award for volunteerism. GEM is the volunteer arm of the Fayette County Health Department.
    Deborah Philpot resigned from the superintendent's position in the Ramsey School District to take an associate dean position with Lake Land College.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This picture of these four friends was taken about 30 years ago.

  • Vandalia had many inns and taverns

    In my spare time during the past several years, I have been working on a project to identify as many of Vandalia’s early taverns as I can. In those early days, a tavern was where you could find a place to sleep, and an inn, or grocery, was where you would find a dram of whiskey.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This aunt and niece, pictured in 1967, live in the Vandalia area.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – The city of Vandalia was considering rejoining the I-70 Growth Association, several years after dropping its membership.
    Amy and J.D. Vieregge of Vandalia bought the 28th house built by a building trades class at the Okaw Area Vocational Center. The house is located on East Fork Drive.
    Wilbert and Elenora Yagow of St. Elmo were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and Wilmer and Pauline Yagow of Kinmundy were celebrating their 40th anniversary.