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State bicentennial events for Ottawa discussed

In 2010, workers from Ottawa Masonry prepare the Illinois Centennial Monument on Ottawa Avenue to be painted. Refurbishment is planned for the structure as one of the local projects for the state's upcoming bicentennial celebration.
In 2010, workers from Ottawa Masonry prepare the Illinois Centennial Monument on Ottawa Avenue to be painted. Refurbishment is planned for the structure as one of the local projects for the state's upcoming bicentennial celebration.

Plans and thoughts on Illinois Bicentennial events for Ottawa were discussed Sunday afternoon at the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum.

The meeting was called by Mollie Perrot, president of the museum and chairwoman of the Ottawa Historic Preservation Commission.

Projects already underway by the commission are the refurbishment of the Old Settlers Colonnade on Ottawa Avenue near the entrance to Ottawa Avenue Cemetery and restoration of the sundial on the lawn of the Ottawa Boat Club that marks the spot where Abraham Lincoln mustered out of the Blackhawk War.

Both were dedicated on Dec. 3, 1918, to mark the state’s centennial. Also on that same day a fountain was dedicated to the memory of the county’s namesake, French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle.

That fountain originally was on the grounds of the Illinois National Guard armory which once stood west of Ottawa High School. It was moved when the armory was demolished but now is available from the private owners for restoration, although a new location has not been decided on.

Ron Slack and Gerald Hulslander, of the Starved Rock Civil War Roundtable, said their group was planning a historical marker at the site of a Civil War training camp along Route 71 near Coval Creek.

Perrot said she hoped there could be a similar marker placed at the site of a now-demolished telegraph equipment factor which produced telegraph keys for the Union army. Perrot also suggested a display on the life of Civil War General W.H.L. Wallace and the preparation of a new history of Ottawa.

Arnie Bandstra, president of the Ottawa Canal Association, said a groundbreaking was being planned for July 1 to commemorate the start of the Illinois & Michigan Canal rewatering project.

Curt Bedei, executive director of the Ottawa Visitors Center, suggested more information be made available concerning the plight of the workers at the Radium Dial company, a topic that is drawing more tourists to the city.

Groups with project suggestions are welcome to call Perrot at 815-433-1361.

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