Towanda Area Historical Society

In the Beginning:

In early 2005 a local group of individuals led by Jack Jenkins, former Mayor and library board president, organized the Towanda Area Historical Society to update our 1976 Towanda area history book.  The Society formed in response to the departure of original residents from the area and the development of rural properties into business and residential areas for nearby Bloomington and Normal.

An appeal went out to former and current residents to find the items their families had stored, perhaps in old, deteriorating scrapbooks, in dusty attics, in moldy basements, or crammed into closets and to loan, or donate, them to the Society.  The memories lingering in the minds of our senior citizens were solicited and written to include in the collection.  Over 9,000 images were scanned and saved to disks and the work began to sort and select the items to include in our updated history book. 

 The Project:

Then in the spring of 2006, the Society partnered with the Towanda District Library to obtain a digital imaging grant from the Illinois State Library entitled “Capturing Towanda’s Past for Eternity”.  The time had come for the materials that had been gathered to be made available to a larger audience through the Internet. The Library Science and Technology Act (LSTA) grant has allowed this to happen.

In the months since the grant was awarded a large number of dedicated volunteers have stepped up to the awesome challenge of writing descriptions for artifacts, entering the data, proofreading, researching, and so many other necessary tasks.  The enthusiasm and excitement these people have about the accumulation and documentation of our history has encouraged an even larger number of people to contribute to our collection.

Below are links to documents that are being used to publicize the grant project and the websites:

Ø   Bookmark
Ø   Poster
Ø   Brochure  

Below are links to the grant project status reports that have been sent to the Illinois State Library:

Ø    May 19, 2006 Grant Application
December 31, 2006 Grant Report
March 31, 2007 Grant Report
June 30, 2007 Grant Report
Ø    September 28, 2007 Final LSTA Report

Project Photo Album

 The Future:

The Society still plans to complete the history book and accompanying CDs to document in another way the area’s rich past before it is no longer obtainable.  We continue our efforts to accumulate history of the Towanda area which includes Barnes, Merna, Towanda; Indian Creek and Lamplighter subdivisions, and farms and homes in Money Creek and Towanda Townships.  Additionally, this Towanda History website will continue to grow as we gather materials. 

Currently we are developing a collection of Veterans' histories. These will be written stories, audio and/or video interviews.  A  Veteran's Information Form is available on our website and at the Library for those who have not yet added their name, or their family member's information, to our contact list.    Click HERE for more information.

How YOU can help:

This is an on-going project – and we invite you to be involved in helping to preserve our history.

In preparing materials for inclusion in the Towanda area history collection, from our experiences with this work, it would be best if you would:

Ø    Identify the people, location and time period/date of any photographs you have;

Ø    when writing stories about memories, traditions, genealogy, save the documents 
     to a disk and send us the file;

Ø    describe your artifacts as completely as possible (used for what, when, how,
     where, by whom...); and

Ø    let us know whether you prefer to loan, or are willing to donate, the item to the
    Historical Society;

We have a standard Description Form that you can use in preparing the materials for the collection, and a Permission-to-Use form that needs to be completed and signed for us to keep on file.  Click on the hyperlinks to see these forms.

You may email or mail us these forms and a copy of your photograph, newspaper article, and/or written memories:

Towanda Area Historical Society    email:
PO Box 217
Towanda, IL  61776
            Fax: 309-728-2187


The Towanda Area Historical Society meets regularly on the 4th Tuesday of each month at the Towanda Community Building, on Jefferson St, (across the street from the park) Towanda at 7:00 p.m.  The public is warmly invited to attend.  But beware, the history bug is catching....

Back to Top

Towanda Area Historical Society email:
Webmaster email:
Last update: April 24, 2008