Soldiers with Picks and Shovels by author and journalist Tom Emery of Carlinville, Illinois

The Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series will present the second lecture of its 2023 season, Soldiers with Picks and Shovels, featuring author and journalist Tom Emery of Carlinville, Illinois, Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 7:30 pm, in historic Farley’s Music Hall, 37 Mill Street, Elsah, Illinois.
Soldiers is the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a signature and highly successful program of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, launched early in FDR’s first 100 days, and important to southern Illinois and this region’s history during the Great depression.
Tom Emery’s book, Soldiers with Picks and Shovels, is now available in its second edition. He describes the CCC as putting millions of young men to work, building state parks, creating and implementing forest conservation programs, even helping with preparedness for what would be World War II. Emery will speak to the lasting legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Emery has authored several books and is widely known as a speaker in southern Illinois and elsewhere. He has received a number of awards from the Illinois Historical Society. This presentation in the Hosmer-Williams series will be his first speaking engagement in Elsah.
The Series is a mission-fulfillment commitment of Historic Elsah Foundation, founded in 1971 by Principia College faculty members Charles B. Hosmer and Paul Williams. Four lectures are presented annually. The lectures are free of charge and open to all. Refreshments are available following the lectures. People interested in this program but unable to attend physically can “attend” the program via ZOOM.

The Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series is supported in part by Liberty Bank of Alton-Godfrey, Illinois, by anonymous donors, and by the Board and membership of Historic Elsah Foundation. Photo:

The West Point of the Air: Choosing a Site for the Air Force Academy

Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Farley Music Hall, 37 Mill Street, Elsah, Illinois

The lecture, The West Point of the Air: Choosing a Site for the Air Force Academy, will describe the events of early 1954 when a federally appointed Selection Committee reviewed site nominations, one of which was an area that included Principia College, the Village of Elsah, and the New Piasa Chautauqua community.

The speaker, Tim Tomlinson, President emeritus of the Chautauqua Historical Society and Historic Elsah Foundation, notes “I’m fascinated by the decision making process in this important national matter. And, I continue to wonder why this naturally appealing area along the Great River Road was not the final selection for the West Point of the Air.”

This is the first lecture for 2023 in the Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series, a major contribution of the foundation to the understanding of local history. The series is underwritten, in part, by Liberty Bank of Alton, Illinois, by anonymous donors, and by the membership of Historic Elsah Foundation.

Below, you may find a recording of the presentation.

Principia College Solar Car Visit

Saturday, March 25, 1 p.m.

25+ Years of Solar Car Racing

What is it like to race on the official race track in Topeka Kansas?
Racing on the Road on the Oregon Trail to Twin Falls Utah.
Preparing for track race in Topeka June 2023.
What is it like for Principia to compete with MIT, U of Kentucky, U of Illinois?

Hear from and See:
Brian Kamusinga, Team Advisor, Steve Shedd & Student Team members RA XI – The car preparing for 2023 will be on display.

Historic Elsah Foundation has an exciting opportunity to host the Principia Solar Car. Principia College Chemistry Professor Brian Kamusinga and members of the team are ready to give a talk on the car with questions and answers at Farley Music Hall with light refreshments served. The solar car will be parked at the First Church of Christ, Scientist parking lot away from traffic.

More Solar Car Views

Home for the Holidays House Tour

Save the date – Saturday, December 3, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Experience a simpler time in the quaint, historic Village of Elsah, Illinois. You’re invited to tour selected private homes decorated for the holidays. The whole village retains the character and feel of a bygone time. Many of the homes on the tour were constructed in the mid-19th century, often with the stone from the local quarry.

In addition to the private homes on the tour, other points of interest in Elsah, which are open to all, are the Village Museum, Farley Music Hall, the Village Civic Center and historic school room, Maple Leaf Cottage Inn, Green Tree Inn, Elsah General Store, Systir Studio and Life in the Postcard Gallery, The Look Factory, Christian Science Reading Room, and more.

There is no extra charge for a ride on a horse and carriage, which will circle the historic village during the home tour.

Advanced home tour ticket price $20
Day of event ticket price $25

Purchase Tour Tickets

Read about several Elsah residents and homes from previous tours:

House tour tickets may be purchased at Elsah General Store, Green Tree Inn, Maple Leaf Cottage Inn, and Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau in Alton. Advanced and online ticket purchases may be picked up at Farley Music Hall at 37 Mill Street. Day of event tickets may also be purchased at Farley Music Hall.

Historic Elsah Foundation celebrates, educates, and preserves the buildings in Village of Elsah. You may join Historic Elsah Foundation as a member at any time.