State Historical Society honors Illinois Centennial and Sesquicentennial businesses

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record
Bret Robinson accepts a Centennial Award certificate for Farmers State Bank of Western Illinois from ISHS President Russell Lewis (right) and Vice President Elaine Egdorf at the Illinios Executive Mansion in Springfield.

    Imagination, hard work, and business savvy are the key ingredients to any successful business or organization, but few corporations make it to their silver anniversaries. The odds—and the marketplace—don’t always cooperate. Nevertheless, Illinois has more than 1,300 Centennial businesses, and on Saturday, September 24, the Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS) welcomed 40 more into the elite club.

    The Society hosted its 27th annual Centennial Awards from reception from 1-3 p.m. at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield, and more than 100 invited guests and their friends attended. The afternoon began with a dessert reception featuring a variety of sweet treats, including New York cheesecake, lemon tarts, white chocolate macadamia nuts, and chocolate chip cookies, fruit, cheese and crackers. The Springfield-based recorder ensemble “Fealty” performed Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music in the east parlor of the 156-year-old mansion, first lived in by Illinois Governor Joel Matteson (1853-1857).

    “The Society’s Centennial Awards program began in 1984 as a way to identify and recognize Illinois corporations that were founded here and continue to operate in the Prairie State,” said William Furry, ISHS Executive Director.

    Centennial Award recipients received one complimentary ticket to the dessert reception, a certificate inscribed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and ISHS President Russell Lewis, a one-year complimentary membership in the Society, and statewide media recognition. Several award recipients expressed delight in receiving a special invitation to the Executive Mansion. The Marion County Savings Bank of Salem brought 14 guests to the reception and drove three hours one way to get there, as did Sister Madonna Rougeau of Franciscan St. James Health hospital in Chicago Heights. Others took the opportunity to share some history, as did Jim Heisler, whose grandather, John Heisler opened his Heisler’s Bootery, in Crystal Lake in 1908, brought his grandfather’s original apron to the reception and modeled it.