P.O. Box 255       






  Wild FLOWER WALKS                         BIRD WALKS                    

  Saturday, April 21   10AM  or 4 pm                     

  Saturday, April 28   10AM  or 4 pm                      Saturday, April 28  6 am or 4 pm     

  Saturday,  May 5    10AM  or 4 pm

   RESERVATIONS: (Word format) <-- click here

(pdf format) <-- click here

The Elkhart Historical Society is pleased to bring author D.L. Dennis to the Wild Hare Café for the May 11th dinner lecture entitled, “The Witwer Files”.  The story takes place in a small Midwestern village in the early 1900’s that was terrorized by uncontrolled violence.  Murders and suicides remained unsolved and unstopped as the responsible law enforcement either turned in their badges or disappeared.  Come hear first-hand how the author’s grandfather arrived in the village and what circumstances occurred that changed the course of town’s future in this fascinating story inspired by actual events. Autographed copies of Dennis’s book, “The Witwer Files”, will be available along with his other books.  Motivational speaking, and artwork round out the additional talents of this fascinating man, please be sure to reserve a space before the May 7th cutoff.

As the weather has finally begun to act like spring, The Elkhart Historical Society has decided to add one additional weekend to its Wild Flower walk schedule.   The walks started on the 14th of April, and will continue every Saturday until May 5th. You can take advantage of this wonderful opportunity by reservation only.  Mona Maas, Master Naturalist from Elkhart will assist on the April 21 walks with Gillette Ransom, learn some of the amazing culinary or medicinal uses of the fabulous flowers on the hill.  Master Naturalist Dr. Pam Moriearty  will join the walk on April 28 at 10a with Gillette Ransom. They will share the beauty and variety of the ephemeral spring wild flowers on Elkhart Hill.  Private walks can be arranged for during the week or on Sunday for groups of 10 or more, please call 217 947 2238 for details and to make arrangements. The scheduled wildflower walks will be April 21st and 28th and May 5th at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  April 28th will also  include a 6:00am or 4:00pm bird walk, with Ornithologists Rhetta Jack, Lara Borgerson, and Joe Funk all superior birders with fascinating knowledge of native birds and the migrating ones passing through.   Their expertise is not only of Elkhart Hill but in many places around the world. Come sharpen your skills or learn for the first time. The flower-walk at 10 am, which offer glimpses of birds along wildflowers.  If this activity makes you hunger for lunch, be sure to check the lunch option, and let us make the arrangements for you at the Wild Hare Cafe.  See the Elkhart Historical website for a reservation form at www.elkharthistoricalsociety.org.  When you are ready to make your reservations, please call (217) 947-2238 and leave a message. You will receive a confirming call. The cost for all walks is $10.   

The event will be held at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café on Friday May 11th at 5:30p.  (Doors open at 5:00p) The Dinner will consist of a choice of Beef Bourguignon or Crusted Baked Chicken Breast, each entre served with mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans and a freshly baked roll…Fruit crisp or vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert, and beverage, at a price of $40, which includes the meal, tax and tip, and $10 for the Elkhart Historical Society program. Reservations are required and can be made at 217 947 2238.  For more information and a reservation form please click on RESERVATIONS <--

Lawyer Abraham Lincoln Riding
on Elkhart Hill's Edwards Trace

... a well-used path in early to mid 1800's Central Illinois ...
[Young Mr. Lincoln as portrayed by award-winning Joe Woodard of Hazel Dell, IL.]

                         “Edwards Trace – The Whole Story”

Independent researcher, David Brady, presented the program ( June, 2012) at Wild Hare Café in downtown Elkhart.  Brady is considered one of the foremost experts on Illinois trails.   Before there were cities and towns and roads there were the trails, the Edwards Trace being among the most prominent. Thousands of Indians, trappers and settlers traveled the Edwards Trace as they moved up and down the state, starting in Peoria. Many other trails connected to the Edwards Trace from the north at Galena to Kaskaskia in the south. All were vital for transportation and commerce as the population grew.

Elkhart Grove was a prominent timbered hill over which the Old Trace ran

"Thanks to a geographic anomaly created during the Ice Age, Elkhart Hill becomes a stunning sea
 of bluebells every spring that visitors can tour on just two or three Saturdays in April."

AND - dine at WildhareCafe  by Karen Sorensen    
8 Nov., '17 LDN: 
Elkhart Works for Veterans
Renovation of Veteran Park underway, donations welcome

Donations to the “Veterans’ Park Fund”
are tax deductible & can be sent to
PO Box 20, Elkhart, IL 62634.


                                   The Elkhart Historical Society’s
                         2018 Calendar              
featuring “ The Old Gillett Farm” 

 is available at the Country Bumpkin or at Horsefeathers, in Elkhart, Illinois.  If you have already renewed your membership, you may stop by and pick up your copy, and if you haven’t renewed, or were considering becoming a member, you may also do that at either of the above, for $20 for families, or $15 for Senior Citizen families.  With your membership you receive a free calendar.  Or for just a calendar $17 which includes a free membership,  postage and handling  check made payable to the Elkhart Historical Society  PO Box 255 Elkhart IL   62634
Now on facebook  -->  ElkhartIllinois


Past Events

 2018     2017        2016         2015           2014           2013         2012

ohn D. Gillett, whom the London Gazette dubbed “The Cattle King of the World”. Gillett and his grandson Hiram Keays won numerous awards at the Chicago livestock show. For many years in the late 1800's the town of Elkhart was one of the largest shipping points on the C&A (Chicago & Alton) Railroad, due to the large stock raising farms of John Dean Gillett. Noted for importing Durham cattle from Scotland and developing the Shorthorn cattle breed, Gillett shipped over 2,000 head of cattle and 1,000 head of hogs to Europe annually.

for much more information, go to -->  http://www.oldgillettfarm.org/history.shtml



P O Box 255, Elkhart, IL  62634

Elkhart Historical Society 2017


Dear EHS Members and Friends


As we once again prepare for the holidays, it is important to note how commitment can center our lives. Each family, clan, tribe, or even neighborhoods exhibit some form of this in their annual traditions, be it caroling, decorating the house, or some holiday fare. Ours is in the creation of our annual Christmas Candlelight Services, which have continued faithfully and have become a tradition for many of you. Our musicians and vocalists’ skills have become an integral part of the services, not to mention the narrators and behind the scenes writers, all of whom devote hours to the program that for so many “begins the Christmas season.”


This year’s Christmas Candlelight Services, “Keeping Christmas”, will be held Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 2:00, 4:00, 5:30, and 8:00 pm. As the number of seats are very limited, please call 217-947-2238 and make your reservation as soon as possible starting November 4. You may pair your reservation with a dining package which appears on the downloadable reservation form available at elkharthistoricalsociety.org. We hope to see you there!


During the past year, our flower and bird walks were somewhat interrupted by wet weather, but we made up for it with fabulous weather for our Fall Festival over Labor Day weekend. Many wagonloads of visitors took the tour up Elkhart Hill, as well as through the village. The festival involved numerous activities such as a Biscuit and Gravy Breakfast, a Swap Shop, a Bar-B-Q Contest, a Pie Baking Contest, and most exciting, the introduction of the new mural outside Horsefeathers, painted by Andrea Niehaus, Renee Sisk, and Peter Niehaus, and jointly sponsored by the Historical Society. There was music on the street all day by live musicians. The day was topped off by a complimentary wagon ride around the village for Elkhart’s senior citizens followed by dinner at the Wild Hare Cafe.


The Historical Society continues to provide the dinner lecture series throughout the year, which began in 2010. It continues to be well received, with some presenters being so popular that additional nights have been required to accommodate all the bookings!


Other praiseworthy items to mention would be YOU, our friends and members, without whom our efforts would be pointless. Thank you for your encouragement, participation and support throughout the year.


The coming of the New Year brings with it the 2018 calendar which celebrates the Old Gillett Farm, a historical landmark, and one which was occupied by descendants of John Dean Gillett for eight generations, starting in 1868.  The property is being sold in the near future, and marks the end of an era.. We hope you enjoy the photographs.


The Elkhart Historical Society Board:


Ann Anderson, President          Bob Albert, Vice President               Anne Morris, secretary

Gillette Ransom, treasurer

Trustees           Bev Albert                 Michael Morris                Bill Evans             Joyce Evans


To reserve space for a dinner lecture or walk for a group of six or more you may call 217.947.2238 prior to the reservation date noted on the web site.

 Payment will be accepted early for groups of 6+.  Upon confirmation of the reservation, payment must be received by EHS

within SEVEN DAYS or the reservation confirmation date or the tickets will be released.


    Web Site:             http://www.elkharthistoricalsociety.org

Email:    Rob Wilson:     jrwsound@gmail.com

Village of Elkhart:   www.elkhartillinois.us

NEW Exploring Tourism in Logan County Web site: www.explorelogancounty.com