HERRIN, Ill. (AP) - Herrin has a history that includes coal mines, Italian immigrants, gangsters and even an amusement and entertainment complex. Some of that history is tucked in a room at the north end of Herrin City Library.
The library’s Herrin History Room was part of an expansion project that was dedicated in August 2002. History Room Assistant Lisa Carnaghi said the room was needed to house the library’s expanding collection of historical items.
Linda Banks is the history room librarian. Banks and Carnaghi get assistance from volunteer Doris Frey.
“We get visitors from all over the country and Linda assists them,” Carnaghi said.
The Julia Harrison Bruce Foundation paid for locking and wall cases for displays that allow artifacts to be displayed. Tony Galinas Foundation bought equipment that takes microfilm and digitizes it.
“We get a lot of donations, and we sort and catalog them,” Carnaghi said.
Herrin History Room received a large donation from the daughters of Howard Rushing, which provides Rushing Fellows for the room. Herrin High School students may apply to be Rushing Fellows at the end of their junior or sophomores years. They work eight hours per week in June and July and receive a weekly stipend.
The fellows have been working on digitizing and organizing photos.
“We would love to see the whole collection digitized and copies stored in other places,” Carnaghi said.
Volunteer Doris Frey is researching White City Park, an amusement park/entertainment venue in Herrin during from the mid-1920s through the mid-1950s.
The park had a salt water swimming pool, rides and ballroom. Carnaghi said some big names of the era played at the facility, including Big Band names Guy Lombardo and The Dorsey Brothers, and Frank Sinatra. A picture of the park and a sign are displayed in the history room.
The current display also includes the cover of Life Magazine that features a photo taken by Louis French, Herrin photographer; a Navy uniform from World War II that belonged to James Stanley, a storekeeper first class; a life-sized cut-out photo of publisher Hal Trovillion and a model of his home, Thatchcot.
Carnaghi is working on a slideshow of about 110 photos to be shown during HerrinFesta at 1 and 6 p.m. May 27 and is researching information about the photos.
Another project is a slideshow in September that will feature the work of French’s Studio, Herrin Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. Owners Don Eaton and Becky Eaton are looking through photos. Carnaghi expects to borrow 200 photos for the slideshow.
“They have just captured so many memories that would have been lost,” Carnaghi said.
The history room is working on digitizing microfilm and making it available online. It also houses a collection of genealogy materials on some Herrin families.
Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/1SBd7iV
Information from: Southern Illinoisan, https://www.southernillinoisan.com
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