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Columns

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two couples, shown at the Ramsey High School prom in 1965, both eventually married.

  • Fayette connections in early Texas history

    Texas was an independent nation from March 2, 1836, to Feb. 16, 1846, when it became the 28th state in the Union.
    Sam Houston was chosen as president of the Republic of Texas, with his inauguration on Oct. 22, 1836. They applied for annexation to the United States and, as they say, the rest is history.
    Let’s go back a few years – before 1836.  There is a Fayette County connection here.

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – Bill Payne and Kendall Ray were named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of the Patoka Class of 1989.
    Voters in the LaGrove and Kinmundy-Alma school districts approved the consolidation of their districts by a 3-1 margin.
    Ed Hightower, a collegiate referee and school administrator from East Alton, was speaker at the VCHS athletic banquet.

  • A salute to the area women who served

    In my last column, I shared the history of the Crawford-Hale American Legion Home from the “War Stories” book.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young man, shown more than six decades ago, grew up in the Vandalia area and was part of a family of eight. He has three daughters and spends his winters in Florida.

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – Vandalia’s post-prom casino night was attended by about 100 students.
    Queen and king of the VCHS prom were Melinda Sue Yarbrough and Gary Graumenz.
    Brownstown Junior High School eighth grade boys track team tied with Peoria Pleasant Valley for the state title. Curtis Schwarm had two seconds and a third, and was a member of the second-place relay team.
    Teachers retiring from the Vandalia District included Ellen Black, Jessie Mae Halbrook, Elizabeth Molett, Marjorie Blythe May, Melvin Donnelley and Eli Hefron.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young lady, pictured about 60 years ago, was born in Vandalia. She now travels extensively to foreign countries, and followed her grandfather in ministry work.

  • Fehren home renovated for American Legion

    When I was in junior high, I was a member of the American Legion Junior Auxiliary that met one Saturday a month at the Crawford-Hale American Legion home in Vandalia.  Our meetings were held in a room  on the main floor that is now used for the military museum.

  • Inns, taverns and hotels vital in local history

    Recently I have been looking into the history of a building in Vandalia’s business district – or rather, the history of the lot on which it stands.

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – Bill Donaldson was named assistant regional superintendent of schools, effective at the end of August.
    Vandalia hosted the Pioneer Sectional ACBL Bridge tournament, attracting 120 players.

    30 Years Ago

    1984 – A weekend storm dumped close to an inch of rain in the area. Accompanying the rain was hail on Friday and high winds on Sunday.