Winter in Illinois

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.

Black and white photo of a person standing in front of a frozen waterfall
Winter at Homan Falls. Circa 1916. Quincy Public Library. Permission to display was given by Quincy Public Library.

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.

Bkack and white photograph of a snowy street next to multi-story houses
West side of 6th street North of Elm. Late 1800s. Quincy Public Library. Permission to display was given by Quincy Public Library.

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.

Two-story brick home with snow-covered yard in trees in the foreground
Orville H. Browning Family Home. Date unknown. Quincy Public Library. Permission to display was given by Quincy Public Library.

See all of the Quincy Public Library’s items in the IDHH. See all of the items contributed by IDHH institutions that relate to winter or snow.

Celebrating Pumpkins at the Eureka Pumpkin Festival

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.

Dickinson & Company, Eureka, Illinois. Dick’s Kitchen About Custard Pumpkin: How Manufactured How Used In Cooking. 1922. Eureka Public Library. Permission to display was given by Dr. Junius Rodriguez.

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