The Stories That Shape Us, talk by Janet Riehl

Hosmer-Williams Lecture
Farley Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois
April 28, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.

We listen with interest and amusement when our parents tell us stories about our grandparents, and also when grandparents inform us of great grandparents. These intergenerational accounts—some yarns, some legends—create our personal histories; they confirm who we are.

Author, artist, and storyteller Janet Grace Riehl is heir to over 150 years of tales that the Riehl-Thompsons have swapped. These stories have shaped six generations of working and living atop the bluffs above the Mississippi in Jersey County.

In “The Stories that Shape Us,” (to be presented April 28, 2022, at 7:30 p.m., at Farley Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois) Janet will tell us about the power of stories and how her family’s narrative is woven into the life of our community.

Janet is a country girl who roamed the world and then followed her heart back home to Riverbend. She is the great-granddaughter of E. A. Riehl who founded the family home place—Evergreen Heights—in the 1860s, where she lives today. She is an award-winning author of “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary,” and the companion audio book “Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music.” Her artwork has been shown internationally.

This program is one of this year’s Hosmer-Williams Lectures sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and underwritten by Liberty Bank: A United Community Bank.

Elsah Museum Opens 2022 Photography Exhibit

Current Photography Competition Information

The Village of Elsah Museum announces the opening of the Village of Elsah Museum for the 2022 season with its annual photography exhibit on Saturday, April 2 at 1 pm. The purpose of the exhibit is to celebrate and foster an appreciation of the beauty and unique qualities of the Village. The exhibit theme is “Elsah Postcard.”  

The judge was Erica Popp, an artist and photography teacher. She commented on the high quality of the submitted images. She felt that the winner gave a clear message encouraging winter visitors to come to Elsah and see the Eagles. The exhibit awards include the annual Village of Elsah purchase prize, four special recognitions and a youth prize.

The Village of Elsah Purchase Prize is for “Welcome to Elsah” by photographer, Patricia Ott of Godfrey, Illinois, pictured above. The purchase prize photograph will be part of the Village of Elsah Museum’s collection. As the winner of the Village of Elsah Purchase Prize, Ms. Ott will also receive the Green Tree Inn award of an overnight stay for two. The photograph is an image of the Village welcome sign on a snowy day with an Eagle perched on the sign. 

Ms. Ott is a well-known local nature photographer. She has taken many photographs of eagles.  She often feels a strong connection with her subjects. The photograph was taken on January 14, 2022, Sony A7R4 with a 70-200mm f2.8 prime lens. The photograph is customed framed, using an archival quality mat and UV filtering glass.

There were four recognitions for photographs with outstanding qualities. These were awarded to Joan Baker for “Elsah General Store” for the use of color and expression of theme, Tim Eckels for “Through the Past” for composition, Karen King for “The Tunnel” for its iconic image and storybook quality, and Jeff Vaughn for both his entries, “Bluffs and River Bend in Autumn Light” and “Redbud and Blue River Reflection,” for the outstanding quality of the images and prints.

For the fourth year, a Youth Award was given for the best photograph submitted by a person between the ages of 10 and 18 years old. The winning photograph was “Elsah Village Hall” by Penny Hosmer of Godfrey, Illinois. This is Penny Hosmer’s first entry in the photography exhibit.

The following photographers are represented in the exhibit: Joan Baker, Tim Eckels, Kaye Hayden, Jon Hosmer, Penny Hosmer, Karen King, Marty McKay, Yvonne Mossman, Patricia Ott, Holly Rain, Rosa Renner, Carolyn Schlueter, Jeffrey Vaughn, and Cynthia Verseman.

The Museum exhibit will be open the first weekend in April and every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm until Sunday, August 7, 2022. Visitors are encouraged to wear masks and keep a social distance. Hand sanitizer is available at the door. A celebration of the winners and participants will be held on Saturday, April 2 at 1 pm with refreshments outside, weather permitting. All the photographs are for sale; and proceeds are retained by the photographer. The Museum will continue to be open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 pm with its regular exhibits through the end of October.

Thanks go to all who make this exhibit possible with their funding and time. We thank the Village of Elsah Board of Trustees and Mayor Pitchford, Historic Elsah Foundation, Green Tree Inn, the Village of Elsah Museum Advisory Committee and Museum attendants, Sally Horbelt and Jeff DePew.

Discovering the Underground Railroad

Historic Elsah Foundation offers its first Hosmer-Williams Lecture of 2022: “Discovering the Underground Railroad.” The speaker will be J. Eric Robinson, assistant professor of history at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis. The lecture will be held in person at Farley Music Hall in Elsah (limited capacity) on Thursday, March 3 at 7:00 pm.

The recorded talk is below.

Elsah Museum Photography Exhibit Celebration

The Village of Elsah Museum will be celebrating the annual photography exhibit with a closing reception to honor the winners and participants.  The outdoor reception will be Saturday, July 31, 2021 during open hours, 1pm to 4 pm. with refreshments served outside in Green Tree Inn’s gazebo that is in the next lot north of the Museum.  Remarks and recognitions will take place between 1:30 and 2:00 pm. at 26 LaSalle Street, Elsah, Illinois. 
The purpose of this annual exhibit is to celebrate and foster an appreciation of the beauty and unique qualities of the Village.  This year’s exhibit was carried over from last year with the theme of “My Favorite Window.”  If rain is predicted, the refreshments will include “take away” refreshments. 
This year’s photography judge is Erica Popp, an artist and college instructor.  She commented on the high quality of the submitted images.  In addition to our purchase prizes, there were eight special recognition photographs.  Historic Elsah Foundation featured six historic window photographs from the exhibit on their webpage.     
This year’s Village of Elsah Purchase Prize (for a photograph taken in the valley area) is for “Barbara’s View” taken by the photographer, Barbara L. Clark of Elsah, Illinois.  The purchase prize photograph will be part of the Village of Elsah Museum’s collection.  As the winner of the Village of Elsah Purchase Prize, Ms. Clark also received the Green Tree Inn award of an overnight stay for two.  The photograph is an image of a boat on the Mississippi framed by an interior window of Ms. Clark’s home.
The prize recognizes a photograph that shows the beauty and significance of Elsah’s surrounding area including Chautauqua, the River Road, the nearby bluffs, and the Principia College campus. This year’s prize was awarded to “Foggy Illuminations” by Kim Howland of Godfrey, Illinois. The image stood out as a nighttime photograph of a Bernard Maybeck designed building on the Principia College campus. Like the Village of Elsah Purchase Prize, this photography will also become part of the Museum collection. 
This is the second year for a Youth Award for a photograph submitted by a person between the age of 12 and 18 years old.   This year’s winning photograph title was “Window Waves of Elsah” by Jonah Hosmer of Godfrey, Illinois.  The judge said of this image that it made “full use of the opportunity to use the reflection in the old glass to create a whimsical double exposure effect and yet seeing through to the inside of the building.”
The following photographers are represented in the exhibit: Joan Baker, Jerry Benner, Barbara L. Clark, Linda Davis-Swink, Julie Elmendorf, Gayle Erxleben, Robert Erxleben, Jonah Hosmer, Kim Howland, Karen King, Hope Mader, Marty McKay, Yvonne Mossman, Bonnie Noeninger, Jim Noeninger, Patria Ott. Chuck Parr, Rosa Renner, Carolyn Schlueter, John Tomlinson, Ray Watsek, and Susan Young.
Next year’s photography exhibit’s theme is “Elsah Postcard.”  The 2022 rules are posted on HEF’s website.

Holiday Online Auction

You and your friends are invited to the 2020 fundraiser for Historic Elsah Foundation.

Bidding starts on Thursday, December 3, 2020.

Auction closes on Saturday, December 5, 2020.

Items up for bid already include overnight stays at fine inns and a variety of gifts from businesses in Elsah, Grafton, and Alton. These items include artwork, overnight stays, various wonderful foods, and many other items.

More details will be posted here when available.

If you have items or services you’d like to donate in order to benefit Historic Elsah Foundation, please reach us at [email protected]