In keeping with Vandalia’s honoring of veterans this Saturday and Sunday, the Fayette County Museum has a military section of various items, such as uniforms and various things that were actually used on the battlefield, such as a medic’s kit.
The museum is located on the northeast corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Main Street, across the railroad tracks from the Vandalia Statehouse.
In addition to the military section, there are also many items used long ago for everyday living, clothing and wedding dresses. Those items include a froe, a roofing tool owned by Abe Lincoln on which he carved his initials.
The froe has an interesting story behind it in that it was handed down through five generations of the family that donated it after treasuring it for many years.
The museum is well worth a visit, as it holds many items of interest, as well as gift items made by local artists and woodworkers. It also offers children’s books that both entertain and provide a bit of local history.
There is always an attendant present who can share the history of the items and of the museum building itself, which was formerly the Presbyterian Church of Vandalia. It actually stands on the site of the church of Lincoln’s time, one that he may have attended. That first church was known as the House of Devine Worship.
After a new Presbyterian Church was built on West Fillmore Street, the old building became the present Fayette County Museum. Much repair work was needed to open the museum, and the building is still in need of repairs, which can only be done as funds allow.
It is an asset to Vandalia, not only for visiting school children, tour groups and travelers who stop in Vandalia, but also for serving as a reminder of our heritage and the treasures of both our local and national history.
In many ways, directly and indirectly, our local history is blended with and helped weave the history of our country.
You can visit the Fayette County Museum this Saturday and Sunday as the Armed Forces Days event is held at the American Legion Home.
Watch the parade held in the veterans’ honor at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, and it’s all right to get choked up and shed a tear when the flag goes by. There have been many tears shed to keep that beautiful flag in our parades – let’s keep it also in our hearts.