- Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was written by Tim Kirsininkas, marketing manager for the St. Charles History Museum. Images are courtesy of the St. Charles History Museum.
The St. Charles History Museum shares a distinct and unique connection to one of St. Charles’ early settlers and the man who helped to map out St. Charles in its infancy.
Ira Minard came to a budding riverfront settlement in 1833 as part of an extensive group of New Englanders and former Chicago residents moving west to lay claim to the lush lands of the Fox River valley.
In 1835, a handshake agreement between a small group of these new settlers would shape the future of this small riverfront community. Another settler, Evan Shelby, was looking to capitalize on his claim on the east side of the river, while Ira Minard and Read Ferson were looking for more land.
Shelby exchanged eight acres of his prime riverfront property, where Ferson and Minard helped to construct the town’s first dam, mill, and trading post on the bank of the river at the site of where City Hall stands today.
From this point on, their budding community was put on the map.
These men helped plat the original town maps and christened the village Charleston, in homage to a town in Vermont near where the settlers originated from (the city would later change its name to St. Charles at the suggestion of prominent attorney Stevens Sanborn Jones after realizing another Illinois town already held the name).
Ira Minard chose a piece of land along the town’s main street as his home. Through analysis of years of St. Charles Township Assessor’s records, our Museum staff recently discovered that Minard’s home stood at the current site of 215 E. Main Street – where our very own Museum building resides today.
We knew that his original house, constructed in 1885 was moved to make room for the new McCornack Oil Service Station thanks to a 1928 St. Charles Chronicle article. What we did not know however, was where this house was actually moved to. By digging further into the township’s records, we were able to find that the house was moved to 1201 Illinois Avenue.
Now that we were able to rediscover this important piece of St. Charles history, we will be looking to begin the process of getting this building landmark status. The story of this Minard home is a reflection of the work that we do here at the Museum, and an example of how our city’s lengthy 185-year history can sometimes be hidden in plain sight.
We can uncover the history of your home, too – you might be surprised at its story! Head to www.stcmuseum.org/research to learn more and get started and uncover your home’s history today.
‘History Happy Hour’ July 25 Aboard The Fox River Queen
The St. Charles History Museum and St. Charles Park District will partner to host a special “History Happy Hour” Cruise aboard the Fox River Queen paddlewheel boat from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25.
Passengers will learn about how the river helped to form the many communities that exist today along the river, some of the other historic commercial boats that have operated on the waterway, and historic locations along the river route like the famous Al Capone hideaway.
Tickets are $35 each and include appetizers and two drink tickets.
Read The Kane County History Series!
- 1850-1925 Geneva — When Penmanship Was Mightier Than The Sword
- St. Charles Museum Site — From Serving Gas To Preserving History
- Elgin Puts 3,500 Priceless Photos Online
- Batavia-Inspired Miniatures Thrilled a Nation
- Aurora’s Maud Powell, World Famous Violinist
- Waxing Nostalgic on Geneva’s WGSB, WFXW
- American Doughboys of WWI — in St. Charles, IL
- Experience High-Tech History at April 21 ‘Open Elgin’ Event
- Batavia, IL — ‘Windmill Capital of The World’
- Meet Andy Aurora, Man About Town
- Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of 9-1-1 in Geneva
- Blue Goose And Evergreen Pub — ‘Shop Local’ 90 Years In The Making
- Elgin Is The Apple of Illinois Bicentennial’s Eye
- Nordens Soner And Batavia’s Swedish Society
- Aurora’s Melting Pot ‘Yearning To Breathe Free’
- Candles, Timing Devices, Phonographs And The ‘Life Cup’ — All Things Made in Geneva
- Hotel Baker, The ‘Masterpiece’ of The Fox Valley
- Elgin Celebrates Our Once-Burgeoning Dairy Business
- Reflections of Batavia’s Quarry Beach Pool
- Aurora’s Mabel O’Donnell, Author of “Alice And Jerry’ Books
- As Alice (Davis) Says, ‘Schools Out For Summer!’
- Elgin Watches, ‘The World’s Standard’
- Aurora Silverplate a Symbol of Good Taste
- Women Leaders Played Huge Roles in Geneva
- Nationally Renowned Summer Camp in St. Charles
- The Harrowing Story of William Lynch, Elgin’s Civil War Brigadier General
- Batavia Powered The Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Railway
- Corsets Doing Big Business in Aurora? Scandalous!
- One Block of Geneva Tells 1,001 Fantastic Stories
- St. Charles’ Evergreen Pub — The ‘Before’ Photos
- 1917-18 — When Elgin Artists Went to War
- Thomas Cleveland — Batavia’s Presidential Connection
- Do Your Wurst — Aurora Meat Markets Are ‘In’ Again
- Geneva Is The Place For Graveyards And Ghosts
- Visit Amelia Anderson At St. Charles’ North Side Cemetery
- Calling All Artists! … For a Cobblestone Reflection in Elgin
- Batavia’s 108-Year-Old Gazebo Still Lights The Way
- The Compelling, Tragic Story of Aurora’s Black WWI Hero Frank Boger
- Geneva History Museum Invites Artists To Celebrate Cultural Heritage
- Elgin’s Anson Clark Soared in The Great War … And Life
- What It Meant To Be a Patrol Boy and Louise White School
- ‘Men’s Night’ Christmas Shopping Was a 1950’s Aurora Phenomenon
- St. Charles Remembers Colson’s Christmas-Day Fire of ’33
- The Art of Elgin’s Cobblestone Reflections
- When Suffrage Met Prohibition in Batavia
- Geneva Presents The Art of The Fox River
- Blansford Astronomical Clock Is Aurora’s Treasure
- St. Charles Returns Family Heirlooms From WWII
- Museum Lands Painting By Elgin Artist Albert Kenney
- Cars Still Fixed at Historic Location in Downtown Batavia
- A Bird’s-Eye View of 19th Century Geneva
- Sheldon Peck: Kane County’s Connection To The Underground Railroad
- Elgin High School Celebrates 150 Years of ‘Education For All’
- Batavia’s Incredible Roller Skating History
- The Fabled History of Jewelry Stores in Geneva
- Astonishing Buried Treasure Discovered in Aurora Outhouse
- Lincoln Elementary School in St. Charles Celebrates 90 Years of Education
- Remembering Elgin High Grad, Renowned Composer Daniel Brewbaker, 1951 – 2017
- Meet Batavia’s Sharron Moran, LPGA Star, ‘Most Beautiful Golfer’ of 1966
- The Many Iterations of Geneva’s National Food Store
- The Burlington Zephyr — A ‘Silver Streak’ Through Aurora
- What IS That Thing in Downtown St. Charles?
- 18 Events, Limited-Edition Poster For Preservation Month in Elgin!
- Julius Amandus Anderson’s WWI Memorial Trapunto Banner
- Geneva’s Swedish Days Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary
- The Historic Drive To Save Aurora’s GAR Hall
- The Story of St. Charles’ Paddlewheel Riverboats
- Meet Elgin’s Legendary Marshal — Andrew Barclay Spurling
- Jackie DeShannon ‘Put A Little Love’ In Batavia
- Aurora’s William S. Hart, Cowboy Movie Star