Ribbon-Cutting Marks Formal Dedication of Monee Heritage Center
By Karen Haave
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting marked the formal dedication of the newly renovated Monee Creamery building on Saturday, celebrating its victory over demolition 10 years ago.
Monee Historical Society President Christi Holston did the honors, with an assist from Mayor Therese Bogs, surrounded by happy history supporters.
“It is with great excitement that I present this Certificate of Dedication to the Monee Historical Society for the Monee Heritage Center,” Mayor Bogs said.
“The dogged determination, the tireless volunteer hours, and the vision of Christi and members of the Monee Historical Society have brought to fruition a lasting legacy for our village.
“I encourage everyone to enjoy and support the Monee Heritage Center.”
In her comments, Holston recounted the 10-year effort that saved the one-time cheese and butter factory.
“In 2011, the Monee Creamery building was exactly two weeks away from the wrecking ball,” she said, “and an important piece of the history of Monee would have been lost forever.
“The structure, which has been at the center of Monee community life for more than a century, had been neglected for decades and was slated for demolition.
“A group of concerned citizens banded together to raise awareness of the demolition plans and set out to raise awareness and funds to save and restore the building.
“In 2016, the building gained Will County Landmark status, and the Save the Creamery Foundation evolved into the Monee Historical Society.
“This building is a part of the heritage of everyone who lives in Monee, and we hope to continue to use the Creamery as a rallying point to create an even greater sense of community. We want to create memories for both the adults and, especially, the children of Monee for years to come.
“From the beginning, the Monee Historical Society envisioned the Creamery as a place to store, study, archive, and share the historic papers, memorabilia, documents, and artifacts of the town’s history – a place where the community could gather to share in this rich heritage, a place for genealogical research and to showcase the new history that is being made in the community every day,” she continued.
“As we remember those who lost their lives on 9/11, 20 years ago today, we reflect on how sharing the lessons and stories of the past can bring depth of meaning and a balanced perspective to the present and the future.
“At this time of celebration, we want to thank Monee village officials, both past and present, for seeing the value in what we are trying to achieve and for supporting that vision and making this day possible.
We want to thank the people of Monee for their support and for sharing in this mission.
“I also want to thank the members of the Monee Historical Society for their deep commitment and ceaseless efforts to bring us to this day.
“Welcome to the new Monee Heritage Center!”
Just before the ribbon-cutting, MHS Board member Mary Brockmiller offered praise for Holston’s unwavering commitment to the restoration of the building.
“I would like to say a few words on behalf of the Monee Historical Society,” she said.
“There are three words we would use to describe our President, Christi Holston: (She is) dedicated beyond measure; passionate about her work, and not just for the Monee Historical Society but for those of you who have worked with her in the village, you know this is true of any project she is involved with, and (she) always stays positive. Through both good and challenging times, she instills a sense of joy in those around her for accomplishing the goals we are trying to fulfill.
“In listening to her talk about how far we have come during the past 10 years, Christi says we worked as hard as we could until we came upon a brick wall, and then worked as hard as we could to overcome it.
“Well, if you know Christi Holston, you know a brick wall is no match for her when it is in her path!
“So thank you, Christi, for leading us this far, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds – in the next 10 years and beyond!”
Monee Township Trustee and MHS Member William “Billy” Morgan later noted, “Monee is a small town, but it has a rich history.
“Housed in Monee’s historic creamery building, the Monee Heritage Center will allow us to not only preserve our history, it also will provide an opportunity for future generations to study and learn from those who have come before us.
“I hope the Heritage Center becomes a vital part of community life as we learn from the past and chart our future together.”
The Historical Society meets the second Thursday of the Month at 7 p.m. Meetings now are held at the Heritage Center. The building will be open to the public, for viewing historical collections, one Saturday per month, as docents are trained to welcome visitors and give tours. When more docents are available, the building will be open more frequently, Holston said.
More information is available on the Monee Historical Society website and Facebook page.
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