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Blast from the past to kick off Streator's 150 years

The city of Streator will unearth some history to kick off its Sesquicentennial celebrations next month.

City officials will kick off their 150th anniversary by digging up a time capsule planted in City Park 25 years ago.

David Reed, local historian and one of the event’s organizers, said the event begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at Plumb Pavilion in City Park with speeches from officials and an update as to what’s to come throughout the year.

He added no one is particularly sure of what was buried 25 years ago as the contents of the capsule were kept secret from many.

“We don’t know if it’s going to be papers or artifacts or what,” Reed said.

Representatives from a number of other Streator events will be on hand to detail celebrations to come. Reed said the goal was to inject a "historical twist" to most annual events this year in honor of the city’s anniversary. Organizers of the year's later events are expected to be on-hand to describe what residents can expect throughout the year.

Of particular note, are the summer events. The main celebration will be from Sunday, June 24 to Saturday, July 7.

This extended period of time incorporates the Streator Walldogs celebration wherein 16 murals will be painted around the city as well as the Streator Fourth of July celebration and the annual Pluto Fest.

Reed said it made sense to incorporate those three summer events into the festivities and make it one larger anniversary celebration.

The kickoff event with time capsule unveiling was set earlier in April to denote the naming of the city.

“The local movers and shakers at the time, as many as there could have been as it was a small community, that’s when they voted to change the name from Unionville to Streator in honor of Dr. Worthy Streator, who put up the money for the railroads and coal mines,” Reed said.

The naming actually occurred on April 9, 1865, but the 8th was selected as they hoped more people would be able to attend on the weekend. They would incorporate into a city three years later.

Reed said he’s excited to begin the festivities and as president of the Streatorland Historical Society he looks forward to sharing his passion with others.

“I’m all about the history. I want to promote it and educate people on the history of Streator,” Reed said. “We have a very rich history and I want people to know about it. That’s what I’m focused on all year.”

Reed said he understands not everyone may share his enthusiasm, but he’s certain they can if it's shared in the right manner.

“I understand you have to have the fun stuff too," he added with a laugh. "But I think this is a unique opportunity to educate people on their hometown."

For more information, visit the event's Facebook page at fb.com/streator150.

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