December marks the beginning of the meteorological Winter; however, in Illinois, the cold weather and snow that are part and parcel with the Winter months often get underway as early as October. Now, the winter is just properly starting, with December being the first of the three coldest and usually snowiest months of the year.
As cold as temperatures can be during recent seasons, historical records, including data and photographs, demonstrate that winters in Illinois and across the country were colder and often snowier in the not-so-distant past. The Quincy Public Library’s Quincy Area Historic Photo Collection includes many photos that help provide historical records of winters past as well as capture the sublime beauty of some of Illinois’ harshest weather.
Far beyond its impressive set of winter and weather-related images, the Quincy Area Historic Photo Collection shows the history of a remarkable town, with records dating back to the 1830s, just a decade after the town’s founding. Quincy is a significant location in the history of the Mormon faith as well as being the site of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year in Illinois when the leaves on the trees change from green to a wild display of colors, the crops in the fields are completing their lifecycle and are ready for harvest, and wildflowers such as goldenrod are putting out their final, golden blooms.
To celebrate this wonderful time of year, in 1939, the Eureka Community Association, of Eureka, Illinois organized the first Eureka Pumpkin Festival. Originally billed as a way to boost the local economy after the Great Depression, the Eureka Pumpkin Festival was a successful community festival that celebrated pumpkins and the people of Eureka, IL, and lasted from that first festival in 1939 to 1961.
The Eureka Public Library District has nearly 300 photographs and scans of pamphlets and recipe books that document the festival over the years.