Amboy News | Partnership with Community Foundation Creates Funding Opportunities for Amboy Depot Museum
AMBOY – The Starved Rock Country Community Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of two charitable funds in partnership with the Amboy Depot Commission. The funds were created to attract and facilitate financial contributions to the Amboy Depot Museum by generous donors to support both the museum’s day-to-day operational expenses and to ensure that the museum exists in perpetuity through an endowment fund.
The Foundation’s mission is to connect people who care with causes that matter by creating individual funds to positively impact the charities that serve LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties.
“It was our mission and our knowledge of community foundations that led to our first conversations about creating funds for the Amboy Depot Museum, however, as is often the case, these are the relationships that we have discovered in the process. that solidified it, ”said Pamela Beckett, Founder and Past President of SRCCF. Beckett said she learned early on that there was much more to the story than just an investigation into setting up a fund to support the museum. “We created the SRCCF to empower individuals and businesses to support what is important in their lives and the lives of their friends and neighbors, now and long after these lives are over,” said Beckett.
Peggy Shapiro Horstman, daughter of the late Illinois State Senator David Shapiro, and his wife, Norma, longtime Amboy residents, first learned about the work of the Community Foundation. Peggy then learned that Jay McCracken, a former classmate of hers, now living in Hennepin, was the first chairman of the SRCCF board. Jay’s father Kenneth McCracken was mayor of Amboy in the 1970s, when Peggy’s father was an Illinois state senator. Both men were instrumental in the preservation of the Amboy Depot museum, working tirelessly to secure funds for its preservation and continued operations.
“Peggy was thrilled to reconnect with her old Amboy classmate and learn the role of Jay with us,” said Beckett, who later learned that Peggy had also been a University of Chicago classmate. Illinois to Reed Wilson, the current vice president of the Community Foundation. . It was quite remarkable to hear about the friendship of David Shapiro and Ken McCracken, their commitment and that of their families to the museum. Several conversations and a few presentations later with the leaders of the Town of Amboy and the Commission Dépôt led to the creation of two funds of more than $ 125,000 to support the Museum. The initial donations were made by a generous Amboy family and other contributors who want the museum to be preserved forever. George Carizey, the current president of SRCCF, agrees that “these are the kind of wonderful stories we hear at the Community Foundation, and it is heartwarming to be associated with so many people who care about what matters in their community. “
The Amboy Depot Museum and the surrounding museum grounds were once a vibrant and vital part of Illinois history. At least six US presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant, Zachary Taylor, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, and Ronald Reagan are documented as having visited the Amboy depot.
Located on what was the headquarters yard of the North Division of the Illinois Central Railroad’s charter line, it was the first line built by the railroad, running from Cairo to the southern tip of the ‘Illinois, north through Galena, to East Dubuque, in the far northwest corner of the state. When completed in 1855, it was the longest railway line in the world. The main building of the museum is the railway depot, built in 1876, replacing the original depot / hotel combination which was built in 1854, but was destroyed by fire in 1875. This current structure was built as a 19- room, two-story depot and division headquarters with a unique architectural combination of brick and hewn limestone from Joliet. The depot provided all the facilities of a small town depot and, as a division headquarters, it also contained two large safes for storing valuables and money as well as additional coins for dispatchers, civil engineers, accountants and all other workers. necessary to maintain the functioning of the headquarters of the division.
However, in 1894, despite having been described as “the best IC division headquarters outside of Chicago,” the functions of the division headquarters in Amboy were interrupted by the railroad. The eight-foot-high and richly trimmed windows and doors, eleven-foot-high ceilings, and the grand, curved central staircase have all remained unchanged from their original design. The depot has thus been preserved in its almost original configuration and constitutes a fine example of 19th century railway architecture.
The depot operated in this reduced configuration until 1967 when the last station attendant, Carl Edwards, died and the depot was closed by the railroad. Amboy Mayor Kenneth McCracken expressed concern over the monument’s deterioration and took the first steps to reverse its decline. In 1973, he had negotiated a long-term lease for the Illinois Central depot. He formed the Amboy Deposit Commission to undertake what stabilization could be done. Members of the commission looked to the townspeople who gave everything from glass to replace broken windows to precious family items donated for display in the fledgling museum. This basic restoration gradually allowed the depot to reopen in 1976, as a museum in what became the Amboy bicentennial project. The town of Amboy acquired title to the deposit when Illinois Central abandoned its charter line through Amboy in 1984. By 1991, after 115 years of exposure to the elements and only affordable cosmetic restoration of the building, severe deterioration was occurring. In progress. The beginning of the reversal of the fate of the repository was its listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Adequate funding was secured to carry out major renovations and with the hard work of caring people the grand opening of the repository as a museum of the Amboy depot took place on June 21, 2003.
The Amboy Depot Commission currently faces a major fundraising challenge; $ 650,000 is needed for the restoration and repairs to the depot building itself. Donations must be made through the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation in cash, by check, or online at https://www.srccf.org/funds/Amboy-Depot-Museum-Endowment-Fund. Donations to the fund are tax deductible in accordance with IRS guidelines.
For more information on the Depot Museum, visit www.amboymuseumdepot.org; E-mail [email protected] or find them on Facebook: Amboy Depot Museum.
More information on the SRCCF is available at www.srccf.org; by calling the Foundation office at 815-252-2906, or by sending an email to [email protected]
The SRCCF is a tax-exempt charity that allows individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to create funds within the boundaries of a large foundation to improve the quality of life across Starved Rock country. . The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 designated organization by the IRS and the State of Illinois. Your financial contributions are tax deductible according to IRS guidelines.