175th Anniversary Celebration
[1836 - 2011]
New Year’s Eve
Mt. Pulaski paid homage to 2010 and cheered in the New Year 2011 with a lighted-ball drop, fireworks, music, entertainment, food and refreshments on the town square. Two $175 drawings were conducted, one by the Mt. Pulaski Farmers Bank and the other by the 175th Anniversary Committee. The two winners were announced in front of the courthouse steps just before the mid-night ball drop and fireworks display. A reading of year-2010 deceased Mt. Pulaski and former Mt. Pulaski residents was conducted, with each name receiving a loud strike of the old school-house bell that once had been placed in the courthouse belfry when it became the Mt. Pulaski school house for grades 1-12 (1857-1878). The courthouse had lost its county seat activities (1848-1855) with the results of the election of 1853—it was two years before the actual transfer to the new Lincoln venue took place due to litigation by the city of Mt. Pulaski. This large school-house bell now is displayed in a wooden open-air hutch on the south side of the courthouse property. Names of some of known students of the courthouse school days are displayed beneath the bell.
Tom Martin serves as the chair of the Mt. Pulaski 175th Anniversary committee, which will be conducting additional events throughout 2011 to mark the 175th birthday of Mt. Pulaski, which was given its town status by its Sangamon County land office on July 5th, 1836. Logan County did not come into existence until 1839.
Following the reading of each name of all the loved ones, the bell was tolled. A moment of prayer was conducted by Darrel Wernsing. The 175th Anniversary Committee served soup and sandwiches in the VFW Hall for a good-will offering. Tickets for the June 30th Mt. Pulaski “Distinguished Alumni & Citizen Awards” program at the Springfield Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum were on sale at various places around the square. The Presidential Museum has been reserved for the June 30th evening event. The tickets are $35, which includes hors d-oeuvres, drinks and access to all of the museum exhibits and shows.
Pizza Man and Buff's Restaurant were open for dinner, with music and entertainment following at the Mt. Pulaski Museum, VFW hall and Buff’s restaurant. The Illinois State Historic Site Courthouse and Mt. Pulaski Historical Museum were open for refreshments and tours. Children activities were provided by the First Christian and Zion Lutheran churches. Perhaps as many as 700 people, including many children, were in attendance at various times throughout the evening’s activities. A New Year’s Eve photo of the town’s citizens was taken on the steps of the courthouse a few minutes prior to mid-night.
Submitted by: Phil Bertoni