June 4th is shaping up to be a big day in Fairbury. Between the Farm Bureau’s Breakfast on the Farm at Kilgus Farmstead, the Speedway’s Fan Appreciation Night, the Cruise-In at Marchellonis, and the new History Talks on Main Street (first Saturday of June, July & August by volunteers from Fairbury Echoes Museum), Saturday will be buzzing with activity.
Depending on how things go, there may be something new to show off in town. As this article is being written, there is work in progress in Central Park near the gazebo. Some people are working very hard. These folks are installing a project that will be a really nice addition to Fairbury.
The plans are that there will be five murals depicting some of Fairbury’s history. Dale Maley is the leader of this project, and he has put in hours and hours of time researching, designing, building, and helping to implement this exciting endeavor. Dale is truly dedicated to our community, and he deserves to be recognized for his work. But, that story is for another time.
This project was borne out of the efforts of City Alderman Terry Zimmerman and David Slagel who have been holding public discussion groups about the betterment of Fairbury. The group created a new slogan for Fairbury… Where Our History Provides a Vision for Our Future. They came up with an idea to build some murals to illustrate some of Fairbury’s History. The topics covered in these five murals are:
1.) The TP&W Railroad
2.) Coal Mining
3.) Francis Townsend, the father of Social Security, and a native of Fairbury
4.) Fairbury Fair and the Race Track
5.) John Virgin, another historical figure from Fairbury’s history
Dale Maley spent hours of time designing the mural from old photos. Because the murals are much bigger than the photos, many had to be recreated to display a clear picture with the proper resolution. This took a lot of creative work from which we will all benefit.
“Soon, Fairbury will have a variety of items showcasing its history. Of course, Fairbury Echoes Museum has long been a great repository of local history, and their new History Talks will be a great addition. The murals in Central Park make this a “have-to stop” for anyone new visiting town. You may have also noticed the various framed art pieces going up at Steidinger Tires, Lost Arts, and soon to be elsewhere scatter inside and outside of Fairbury,” says Bobbi McKeon, owner of Heart’s Desire and coordinator of the Specialty Shops. “We believe these things will attract people into our small town to enjoy the history, dine at our restaurants, and shop our shops. Thanks to everyone who is contributing to these projects!”
As always, if you have any stories, ideas or suggestions for interesting topics about our community, please stop by Heart’s Desire, call Bobbi McKeon at (815) 692-4500 or email fairbury@fairburyILattractions.com.