Help us discover, record and preserve the history of the Village of Monee, Illinois. Also, check our our Facebook page: Monee Historical Society
Established in 2011 as the “Save the Monee Creamery Foundation,” the Monee Historical Society is a recent addition to the cultural landscape of the village of Monee. We hope to help bring a sense of community to the residents of our village. The group began when like-minded residents organized for a common purpose; to save the historic Monee Creamery Building.
In 2011, the Monee Creamery building was exactly 2 weeks away from the wrecking ball. An important piece of the history of Monee, as well as all of Will County would have been lost forever. The structure has been at the center of Monee community life for over a century, but was deemed unworthy of saving and Mayor had slated it for demolition.
A group of concerned citizens, spearheaded by Dave & Christi Holston, Margaret Horne, Rachel White and Jim & Judie Popp, banded together to fight the building’s “Death Sentence.” Our goal was to raise awareness of the demolition plans, formulate a plan of our own to save the mid- 19th century two story Lockport limestone structure and restore it for use.
Now, 6 years later, that plan has come full circle.
With a new administration in place, the village government is 100% behind restoring the building as the centerpiece of its vision for the development of Firemen’s Park, the civic center of the village.
In 2016 the Monee Creamery was granted Will County landmark status by virtue of it being one of the last, if not the last creamery structure in the county constructed out of local Lockport limestone. Even though the building has achieved Landmark status, our work is not done. The building still needs renovation so that it will not only be a backdrop to village life, but a living, breathing part of our town, from both from without and within. The plan is to occupy a portion of the building by August 2017.
The Monee Historical Society grew as a natural extension of the Save the Monee Creamery Foundation. As a group, we have shifted our purpose to include not only the restoration and preservation of the Creamery Building, but also the preservation of all of Monee’s history, though archive collection, historical documentation and community outreach.
The Monee Historical Society envisions the Creamery as a place where we can archive and store historic papers, memorabilia, documents and artifacts of the town’s history; a resource for Genealogical Research; a Repository for the Monee Oral History and Veterans’ Projects and eventually, a place to showcase and display elements of Monee village history.
Current initiatives of the MHS include partnering with Governor’s State University on an Oral History project. Over the past two years we have recorded interviews with over two dozen long time area residents on high quality digital media to preserve the memories of the way things used to be so future generations may enjoy them. We are launching a project to interview as many local area veterans as possible and to chronicle their stories, as well as the stories of our veterans who have passed on. We have begun a lecture series and have monthly speakers on a variety of local interest subjects. We also strive to become a resource to the community on Genealogical studies and will sponsor a workshop on starting your own family tree this fall.
Our Facebook page keeps the community apprised of upcoming events and serves as a bulletin board for queries and discussions. We have recently launched a website at http://www.moneehistoricalsociety.com. Through these vehicles we will continue to share all historical information we gather.
Our challenges include attracting new members, finding grant monies for ongoing projects and continuing to search for ways to save as much information as possible.
We welcome contributions for anyone who might have stories, memories or photos to share. We are always looking for new members to join the historical society and welcome anyone interested to come to our meetings on the second Thursday of every month at the Monee community building at 5162 W. Court St in Monee.