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LIBRARIES

SOCIETIES

Benton Public Library
502 S. Main
Benton, IL 62812
618/438-7511

C.E. Brehm Memorial Public Library
101 S. 7th Street
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
618/242-6322; Fax: 618/242-0810
(Holds the Shawnee genealogy collection -- formerly located at John A. Logan College)

Christopher Public Library
204 E. Market St.
Christopher, IL 62822
618/724-7534

John A. Logan College
Route 2 (located on Hwy 13)
Carterville, IL 62918-9599
618/985-3741
(contains GSSI's genealogy library)

Sesser Public Library
302 W. Franklin Ave.
Sesser, IL 62884
618/625-6566

West Frankfort Public Library
402 E. Poplar
West Frankfort, IL 62896
618/932-3313
(Open: 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Monday - Thursday.
10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Friday & Saturday)

Zeigler Public Library
102 East Maryland
Zeigler, IL
618/596-2041

Frankfort Area Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 427
West Frankfort, IL 62896
618/932-6159
(Library, @ 2000 E. St. Louis St., W. Frankfort, open Wed. & Thurs., February to December 15)

Franklin County Genealogy Society (CLOSED)
All library materials were donated to the West Frankfort Public Library.

Mulkeytown Area Historical Society
P.O. Box 523
7570 Mulkeytown Rd.
Mulkeytown, IL 62865
618/724-1156

Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois
c/o John A. Logan College
Route 2, Box 145
Carterville, Illinois 62918-9599
(meet the 2nd Sunday of the month, @ 2:15 @ J.A. Logan College.  June meeting held off-site.  No meeting in July or August.  Fall Conference & Book Fair held 2nd weekend in October.)

West Franklin Historical District & Genealogical Society, Inc.
2130 School House Rd
Mulkeytown, Illinois 62865
618/724-2445

 

 

MUSEUMS
Beatles Mini Museum
113 McCann St.
Benton, Illinois 62812
618/438-2328
 
Summery: Hard Day's Nite Bed and Breakfast provides a nostalgic window with a view of 1963, when George Harrison spent a summer vacation with his sister, Louise Harrison, in Benton, Illinois.
Frankfort Area Historical Museum
2000 E. St. Louis St.
West Frankfort
618/932-6159
Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wed and Thur. Open by appointment at other times. Groups of over 10 should call first.
Admission: No Charge
Summery: Shows early Franklin County history, including a mural which follows the area's history from 1802 to 1976.

Museum Description: Located in 'old Frankfort', the museum is the renovated 3 story Logan School. The museum offers:

  • A genealogy library
  • A one-room school
  • an arts and tea room
  • replica of an early 1900s five-room home
  • quilting room
  • Auditorium (mural located here)

A gift shop is available to visitors, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. lunches are available in the tea room.

Franklin County Garage 1910 Museum
211 N. Main St.
Benton, Illinois
618/438-2121
Hours: Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Open on Sat from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. from May to October.
Admission: No Charge, donations accepted
Summery: The garage was built in 1910 as Franklin County's first Ford Dealership. The building, which contains about 90% of its original equipment, has been restored as an automobile showroom and machine shop of that era. Within walking distance of the Old Franklin County Jail.

Museum Description: Exhibits currently include:

  • 5 Ford Model T automobiles, including a car that belonged to Southern Illinois gangster Charlie Birger.
  • Among other Birger memorabilia are the handcuffs Birger was wearing when he was hanged April 19, 1928 and a bullet-proof vest that Birger often wore.
Mulkeytown Grade School
3120 Schoolhouse Rd.
Mulkeytown, IL
618/724-2445, 618/724-2913, or 618/724-4252
Hours: Tue - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sat - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Admission: None stated
Summery: Exhibits focused on individual communities and run by the West Franklin Historical District and Genealogical Society.
Museum Description: This museum is located in the former elementary school (currently under restoration). Exhibits available range coal to indian artifacts and include exhibits devoted to Franklin County communities.
Old Chicago and Eastern Illinois Depot
102 W. Main St. (Illinois 149)
West Frankfort (next to the railroad tracks)
618/937-2205, 618/932-6159
Hours: 1 -4 p.m. Sun; tours by appointment.
Admission: No Charge
Summery: The old Chicago and Eastern Illinois Depot has been renovated and is sponsored by the Franklin Area Historical Society. Depot was built around the time when West Frankfort was founded in 1912 the railroad came through in 1895.
Museum Description: The museum has veterans' memorabilia from World Wars I and II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. There is also memorabilia from the Civil War and Spanish American War. There is a coal miner's memorial wall east of the museum, and a soldier's memorial in front of the depot.
Old Franklin County Jail
209 W. Main St.
Benton, IL
800/661-9998 or 618/439-0608
Hours: Mon - Sat: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; closed Sunday
Admission: No Charge, donations accepted

Exhibits: The mansion and adjoining jail have been restored to their original 1905 condition by the Society for the Historic Preservation of Franklin County. The exhibits include:

  • Old radio equipment from station WFRX that was used when the Beatles' George Harrison visited the area in 1963 and the station played the first Beatle record in the U.S., "From Me to You."
  • Memorabilia from Prohibition, gangs, and Charlie Birger in the 1920's.
  • room dedicated to high school, college, and professional basketball standout Doug Collins, who spent his childhood in the area and lived in the mansion while his father was sheriff. His one-time bedroom has been converted into a room dedicated to his basketball career.
  • Civil War Memorabilia and John A. Logan historical items, and local history items.
  • 17-foot monument to Gen. Logan and the 209 Union Soldiers from Franklin County who died to preserve the nation.Home of the Franklin County Tourism Bureau
Special Mentions: The jail became a symbol for the gang era in Southern Illinois during Prohibition, and became the last stop for Charlie Birger, the last man publicly hanged in Illinois on April 19, 1928 for the 1926 murder of West City's mayor, Joe Adams. A new jail was built in 1991, and the old jail was placed on the register of Historic Places on Feb. 1, 1999. It is also the home of the Franklin Tourism Bureau.
Silkwood Inn Museum
one-half mile north of Mulkeytown, IL
618/724-7270
Hours: Open July 4th, Labor Day and other times by appointment.
Admission: No Charge
Summery: This inn, built in 1827, has been restored and furnished by the Mulkeytown Area Historical Society. It is the only remaining structure along the old Shawneetown-Kaskaskia Trail that connected Southern Illinois communities in the early 1800's. Exhibits depict life in rural Southern Illinois in the late 1800s.
Thompsonville Log Cabin
Next to the fire dept on S. Main St.
Thompsonville, IL
618/627-2815 or 627-2222
Hours: Tours by appointment
Admission: No Charge
Summery: Two story log cabin dates to 1825 when it was about three miles east of town and in 1970 is was moved and reconstructed in 1970. The cabin is undergoing renovation.

 

NEWSLETTERS

The Saga of Southern Illinois 
  by the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois (quarterly) 
  [Dues: $18.00/year Jan 1-Dec 31]

Facts and Findings 
  by the Frankfort Area Genealogical Society(quarterly) 
  [Dues: $10.00/year Jan 1-Dec 31]

NEWSPAPERS

Benton Evening News
  111 E. Church, Benton, IL 62918 
  618/438-5611
  (good resource for obituaries, etc.)

Daily American News
  P. O. Box 617, West Frankfort, IL 62896 
  618/932-2146 
  (good resource for obituaries, etc.)

Sesser Valier Times
  113 S. Franklin, Sesser, IL 62884
  618/625-2131

Southern Illinoisan
  710 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, IL 62901
  618/529-5454

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

County Clerk 
202 W. Main
Benton, Illinois 62918 
618/438-3221 
(for birth, marriage,
and death records)

Circuit Clerk
202 W. Main
Benton, Illinois 62918
618/439-2011 
(for estates and wills)


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