Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Huber Opera House

 

Pictured: The Huber Opera House, later renamed to Bunker Hill Opera House by William Fahrenkrog.

    Read our earlier blog about The Old Huber Opera House at https://bunkerhillhistory.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-old-huber-opera-house.html

    In 1882, Anton Huber erected a two-story brick business with a basement and hall, this later was known as the Huber Opera House.  The building is located on the southeast corner of Washington and Warren Streets and is 81 feet by 71 feet.  The first floor is occupied by a grocery store 32 by 48 feet facing north, and the remainder of the store 48 by 48 feet is occupied by a dry goods store, and also a clothing, boot, shoe, hat, and cap store.  Behind this is a large warehouse room 20 by 50 feet.

    Anton Huber was born in Baden Germany in 1826.  At the age of 28, he started for America.  He reached New Orleans, LA in 1854.  He stayed in New Orleans for three months to secure enough money to take him up to St. Louis, MO.  In 1865, he sold his grocery store in St. Louis and came to Prairietown and bought the stock of Conrad Cramer, a general merchant of that place.  He was very successful and when his financial resources were increased, he came to Bunker Hill where he invested his capital.

    As early as 1891, the Bunker Hill graduation exercises were held in the Huber Opera House and continued on through the 1930's.

    In 1921, William Fahrenkrog bought the Huber Opera House and renamed it the Bunker Hill Opera House.  It was remodeled and used as a movie theater, being called the Lincoln Theater.  

Pictured:  Lincoln Theater Movie Announcements


    Upstairs was a gymnasium which was called Lincoln Hall.  Helen (Fahrenkrog) Teakert played the piano for the Lincoln Theater.  Other business in the Opera House were a drug store, pool hall, barber shop, and jewelry store.

    The 1948 tornado blew the second story off.  Later, this building was occupied by the Behrens Drug store.

Pictured: The Huber Opera House Building (Behren's Drug Store) 1948 tornado damage


Pictured: The Huber Opera House Building (Behren's Drug Store) after the 1948 tornado


...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at https://bunkerhillhistory.org/

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, June 23, 2022.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Earliest Inhabitants of Wolf Ridge, Now Bunker Hill

 

Pictured: Artist Sketch of Wolf Ridge, Now Bunker Hill

Reprint of our December 6, 2012 blog posting at https://bunkerhillhistory.blogspot.com/2015/04/wolf-ridge-to-bunker-hill.html

Wolf Ridge to Bunker Hill

    If you had been one of these early settlers back in 1835-1836, the landscape would be very different.  You could stand at the top of the "hill" between what is now the flagpole and the Lincoln Statue, look in any direction and see nothing but wide open prairie.  There might have been two or three buildings in the town, but the only trees would be in the distance along the creeks.

    

Pictured: Artist Sketch of the Springs, the Indian Watering Place, now Millville

    The site of the town of Bunker Hill was once known to the early settlers of Macoupin County as "Wolf Ridge".  It was thus named because wolves lived in the area.  Some of their dens were located in the vicinity where the United Community Bank is today.

    The choice of the name, Bunker Hill, was due to the fact that there is a hill here somewhat like that upon which the famous battle of the Revolution was fought and because those who gave the name came from that area of Massachusetts.

    

Pictured: The Bunker Hill Historical Marker located at Mae Whitaker Park

    The earlier inhabitants of the present-day Bunker Hill were the Peoria, Kickapoo, and Winnebago Indians, who established an encampment near North Washington Street and West Morgan Street.  On their wandering north and south, they would stop here at a large spring in the Millville area.  With the advent of the white settlers, the Indians disappeared and they were last seen in the area in the year 1826.

    In May 2010, a Historical Marker was placed and dedicated at the entrance to the Mae Whitaker Park just North of town on Rt. 159.  The marker inscription reads:

Bunker Hill Indian Trail

    During the Historical period, the earliest inhabitants of the Present-day Community of Bunker Hill were the Peoria, Kickapoo, and Winnebago Indians who established an encampment near North Washington and West Morgan Streets.  Another Native American site was Northeast of Bunker Hill near the Millville School area.

    From Fort Russell in Madison County to the old watering place at the head of Paddock's Creek Northeast of town, the eighteen mile trail ran in a generally straight course through the prairie along the dividing ridge between the waters and timbers of Paddock's Creek on the East, and Indian Creek on the West.

    Native Americans on their Northern and Southern migrations were accustomed to stopping here near a large spring for water.  Soon after the territory opened to American settlement, the indigenous populations were forced across the Mississippi River.  The last Native American encampment in Bunker Hill was recorded in 1826, when five wigwams, which stood at the head of Wood River, were taken down and removed to a site further West. 

--Sponsored by the Bunker Hill Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society.

May 2010

         

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at https://bunkerhillhistory.org/

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, December 6, 2012, June 15, 2022.

Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, p. 5. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

History of the Bunker Hill Cemetery

     

Pictured: 1893 Map of Cemeteries around Bunker Hill

    The Bunker Hill Cemetery is located on East Warren Street three blocks from the intersection of Route 112 (now 159).  It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Macoupin County.

    This cemetery was first laid out by Moses True who donated a small plot of ground in 1840.  The cemetery is divided into three additions.  The first addition is on the north side of the creek that runs through the land and is in Section 23.  The second addition is in Section 24 and is on the south side of the creek.  The third addition is in Section 23.  In the north east corner of the first addition is a Potters Burial Ground.

    On June 13, 1852 citizens of Bunker Hill assembled for the purpose of organizing an association to purchase or hold in trust lands for a burying ground.  On June 16, 1852, a second meeting was held.  An election of officers was in order which resulted in electing the following: E. Howell, Chairman, I.A. Pettingill, Secretary, I.A. Delano, Treasurer, C.D. March, Trustee, I.A. Pettingill, Trustee, and J. Pierson, Trustee.

Pictured: Moses True - Bunker Hill's Co-Founder

  On July 21, 1853 Moses True deeded 3.15 acres of land to the Bunker Hill Cemetery Association.  In October 1867, the first addition was made to the Bunker Hill Cemetery by Noah H. Flanigan.  In November 1899, a third addition was made to the Bunker Hill Cemetery by Judeth McPherson.

    In 1909, the old rail fence was taken down and replaced by an iron fence which extends across the north side of the cemetery.

    

Pictured: The Soldiers Monument in Bunker Hill Cemetery (pre-1938 tornado)

    There are many veterans buried in the cemetery from all of the wars.  There are two Confederate veterans and five black veterans from the Civil War.

    The oldest grave in the cemetery is that of Mrs. William H. Smith, sister of Moses True, who died in 1840 in St  Louis, Mo.

...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at https://bunkerhillhistory.org/

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, June 9, 2022.

Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, p. 124. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Bunker Hill's Memorial Flagpole

 

Pictured: Bunker Hill's Memorial Flagpole

Gazette-News: February 10, 1955

    The Legion committee in charge of erecting a Memorial Flagpole on the main street announced this week that htey [sic] are short of the required amount to complete the job by $261.91.

    The bids for the job are all in and a contractor for the erection of it was awarded to Joe Briskovich on a bid of $349.00.  Further cost will include $15.00 for an 8 x 12 flag, $597.00 for the flagpole, $75.00 for a bronze plaque, and $60.00 for freight.  Total contributions to date are $879.09.

    The flagpole itself will be a 35 foot tapered aluminum job with equipoise tilting unit.  A 24" wingspan gold leaf eagle atop the pole and a copper weather-vane.  There will be an aluminum ball bearing revolving truck for the flag.


Pictured: Bunker Hill's Memorial Flagpole

    This is a final appeal for funds by the committee.  Anyone who still has not donated and wishes to may still do so, anyone who cares to donate more than he already has may still do so.  The memorial will be one the city can be proud of.  It will be dedicated to those who served their country in all wars and to those who gave the supreme sacrifice.  Bunker Hill has its full share of both and can be well proud of both.

Pictured: Present day Bunker Hill Memorial Flagpole

Gazette-News: June 2, 1955

    Workman finished the job of installing the Memorial Flagpole last Thursday afternoon and the flag was flying from the pole on Friday.  Bill Wise, chairman of the committee, informs us that donations are still needed in spite of a total of $1,003.09 received.

The bronze plaques reads:

 IN MEMORY of those who served our country.

Erected in 1955.

...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at https://bunkerhillhistory.org/

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, June 2, 2022.