County historical society seeks levy

By Nick Walton - [email protected]

The Champaign County Historical Society (CCHS) is seeking to pass an operating levy this fall to open the museum more often, improve youth programs and improve displays of Champaign County history.

The Champaign County Historical Society Museum is the local agency responsible for preserving the historical artifacts that record memories of the past citizens of the county so their contributions to the county’s progress will never be forgotten.

For 82 years, the historical society has preserved the heritage and artifacts of Champaign County. Its mission is to display the county’s history to the public at its museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana.

According to information provided by Robert Pollock of the Champaign County Historical Society, the society is seeking to augment its donations and dues with a three-tenths of a mill, five-year operating levy on the November ballot.

The historical society museum is currently open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“For 82 years we have preserved and supported the collections with volunteer support, society dues, and generous donations,” historical society president Dan Walter stated. “We have created a very good museum, but our ability to be open to the public is limited to two days a week. We would like the museum to be open to the public more often – at least five days a week – in order to the Champaign County story.”

The artifacts on display at the museum include a wide range of items including prehistoric Native American relics, possession of Simon Kenton and Tecumseh, the first United States Medal of Honor presented, the former Spring Hills log jail building, historic period clothing, military uniforms, agricultural implements, aviation items from Grimes and pans manufactured by the American Pan Company.

Historical society treasurer Larry Headlee stated if Champaign County voters would approve the levy, the museum would be able to fund the pay of a professional curator/director who can help preserve and improve the care and display of artifacts. This would allow the museum to have a greater presence in the community and permit the introduction of new youth-based programs linking Champaign County youth with their history.

The levy is expected to generate $247,000 annually according to information provided by the Champaign County Auditor’s Office.

Walter noted the levy request would equate to an annual tax increase of $10.50 per average household and would allow the museum to be open at least five days a week.

Walter added it is not unusual for a county historical museum to be partially supported by public funds. The historical museums for Clark, Logan and Miami Counties are funded by tax levies larger than the one proposed in Champaign County.

The historical society has established a campaign committee and appointed former Champaign County Commissioner Max Coates as campaign treasurer. The historical society has also opened a campaign account at the First Central National Bank in St. Paris and filed all appropriate federal, state and local forms.

For more information on the historical society and the proposed operating levy, residents can contact the museum at 937-653-6721. Contributions to the “CCHS Museum Campaign” may be sent to P.O. Box 65, Urbana, OH 43078-0065.

By Nick Walton

[email protected]

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.