Kane County History: Booming Businesses, Big Changes at St. Charles History Museum

Kane County History: Booming Businesses, Big Changes at St. Charles History Museum

The St. Charles History Museum’s new exhibit, Booming Business in the Beauty Spot of the Fox Valley, will take a look back at the legacies of some of St. Charles’ most outstanding businesses over the course of its history.

The exhibit will feature the stories of St. Charles businesses and industry, which saw a major boom at the beginning of the 20th century as waves of new immigrants and settlers arrived in the Fox River Valley looking for work.

Through never-before-displayed artifacts and photos, the exhibit will provide a snapshot of each of the companies that have had a distinct and lasting legacy and contributed to St. Charles becoming the city it is today.

Among the 14 companies featured in the exhibit are Colonial Café and Ice Cream, Blue Goose Market, and Rehm Electric, three of St. Charles’ longest-running family-owned businesses.

Other featured companies include the Cable Piano Company, Heinz Cut Glass, and Howell Manufacturing, each of which are notable for making significant contributions in cutting-edge technology and manufacturing procedures and employed scores of St. Charles residents over the years.

“St. Charles has enjoyed a long history of diverse business and industry,” said Museum Executive Director Alison Costanzo. “We are excited to present this celebration of the legacy of local business as we enter the next chapter of our community’s history.”

The new exhibit is sponsored by Sterling Bank of St. Charles. The exhibit will open with a public reception on from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.

For more information, contact the museum at 630-584-6967 or via e-mail at info@stcmuseum.org.

Leadership Changes at History Museum

St. Charles History Museum Executive Director Alison Costanzo presents at the museum’s annual meeting Jan. 15 at the St. Charles Police Department. 

The St. Charles History Museum announced a new slate of officers and leadership changes at its Annual Membership Meeting at the St. Charles Police Department on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Alison Costanzo

During the meeting, Executive Director Alison Costanzo announced her resignation effective March 27, while Mike Corbett was named the new Board President of the History Museum.

Costanzo, who has served as the executive director of the St. Charles History Museum since 2015, has accepted an offer to become the new executive director at the Lombard Historical Society. Costanzo previously served as educator and Victorian site coordinator at the Lombard Historical Society before coming to St. Charles.

During her time as executive director in St. Charles, Costanzo secured more than $100,000 in grants and donations to improve the St. Charles History Museum’s permanent display and oversaw the revitalization of the museum as a community gathering place, implementing new rotating exhibits and a diverse slate of events and programs every year.

“I’ve poured a lot of myself into this museum over the past five years,” Costanzo said at the meeting. “St. Charles and all the people I’ve met and worked with in this position over the years will always be a part of my heart.”

Mike Corbett

Also at the meeting, Mike Corbett was announced as the new president of the St. Charles History Museum’s Board of Directors. Corbett has been a St. Charles resident since 1995 and a financial advisor for Edward Jones since 2013. Corbett has been involved with the museum since 2015.

“St. Charles and its history have always meant a lot to me and my family,” Corbett said. “I’m looking forward to a great year ahead working with the dedicated staff and board of our wonderful museum.”

While a new executive director has not yet been named, the museum will be conducting a search process with the intention of hiring a new executive director by the end of March.

For more information, museum staff may be reached at 630-584-6967 or via e-mail at info@stcmuseum.org.

History Museum Faces Off in Friendly Fundraising Competition

The St. Charles History Museum will partner with Pollyanna Brewing and La Mesa Modern Mexican on a 12-Week Community Raffle and Fundraiser to benefit the Museums’ efforts.

The two establishments will face off in a friendly competition to see which side of the Fox River can raise the most money to support the History Museum. The raffle will pay tribute to the historic East Side vs. West Side rivalry that has existed in St. Charles since its founding in 1834.

As part of the competition, the museum will be raffling off a week-long getaway to Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Tickets will be available at each establishment and the museum for $5 a piece or 5 for $20 between Feb. 1 and April 18. The trip is provided by peacefulgetaways.com. Pollyanna Brewing is located at 106 S. Riverside Ave. and La Mesa Modern Mexican is located at 51 S. 1st St.

For more information, contact the St. Charles History Museum at 630-584-6967 or via e-mail at info@STCmuseum.org.

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