The Frankfort Area Museum and Genealogy Society is a non profit organization. The building, formerly LOGAN grade school, is maintained by donations and money earned from their tea room, gift shop, custom quilting, and sale of books. It is on top of a steep hill where old Frankfort started. It is on the old "Shawnee Trail". The early stage coach traveled this trail from Shawneetown, IL to Kaskaskia, IL. The museum is open on Wednesdays & Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The library is closed from December 15th to the first Wednesday in February. Luncheons are served from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the tea room on the lower floor. There is also a nice gift shop on that floor also. Contact the museum to schedule group tours. If you would like to become a member of the historical society, or the genealogy society, call the museum or email Helen Lind. Membership in the genealogy society includes their quarterly, Facts & Findings.
On the first floor of the museum you will find an "early home" room depicting life at the turn of the century. In the "one room school", teachers often bring their class to show the children how school was in the olden days when there was a "pot bellied stove" in the room. In the "quilt room" you will find old quilts and antique looms for weaving. Be sure and see the Civil War Soldiers quilts. Once a week ladies meet in this room and have "quilting bees". If you have a quilt top you would like quilted, contact the museum for information. In the genealogy library you will find the desk and chair used by Congressman Kenneth J. Gray, now retired, that grew up on "the hill" which was once Frankfort.
On the second floor there is the "Lowell Mitchell room". In this room is a very large mural painted on three walls by a local artist, Don Ross. This mural tells the early history of Frankfort in pictures. It shows the first county seat and jail, the Crawford store, Sadler's blacksmith shop, the Horrell home, and the old Dimmick Hotel where it is said that Abraham Lincoln once spent the night. In the mines & minerals room you will see artifacts and history from the coal mining industry in the area. There are many other artifacts too numerous to mention.
A branch of the museum is located at the old C&EI depot. In 1989 we received the governors award for the renovation of the building. It is filled with memorabelia from the Civil War to Desert Storm. We have uniforms of all branches of service, a purple heart, horse sadles from World War I, insignias & patches, gas masks, a World War II communication system and many other items on display. We are quite proud of a billboard made by high school boys showing the names of all the West Frankfort boys who served in World War II. We have two quilts with veterens names on them. For $10.00 you can have a soldiers name, alive or dead, put on a quilt. In front of the depot is a large statue of a World War I "doughboy" soldier. Inscribed on the front is "Lest We Forget". The veterans hold a memorial service in front of the depot each November 11th. Many young boys of the area left from this very depot to go to war. The Depot Museum is open Sunday afternoons by appointment. Call (618) 932-6159 or (618) 937-2205 for appointments.
Annual events of the museum includes an "apple butter stir" in September with a big kettle outside. Several silver dollars in the bottom of the pot keeps the sauce from sticking as it is being stirred. The apples are picked from orchards in the area. This delicious apple butter is sold in the gift shop. The third week in November is "holiday house", when the building is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Once a year they have "dinner on the prairie".
The Genealogy Society has many books and materials for researching in Franklin and surrounding counties. In addition to books they also have funeral home books, some old probate records, old newspapers and city directories for Benton and West Frankfort, a collection of obits, and many family files and family histories. For research and copy fees contact the museum and ask for the library, or e-mail Helen Lind.
The books listed here are available for purchase. Call (618) 932-6159 or e-mail Helen Lind for information.
Books For Sale
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Franklin Co IL Surnames Index
Frankfort Area Historical Museum
Frankfort Area Genealogy Society
The Veterans Military Museum Located In The Old RR Depot
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