In the News

September 2019 Press Release

Agnes Ayres, the silent screen star of the 1920, is the subject of a program by the Union County Historical and Genealogy Society on Sunday, Sept. 8.  The event, in St. Joseph Catholic Church Hall on Centennial St., Cobden, begins at 2p.m.

Agnes grew up in Cobden with aunts and uncles living in Anna and grandparents in Carbondale. Her mother, Emma, married Franklin Rendleman of the Mt. Glen/Cobden area in 1895. Ayres is her stage name.

Much has been written about the woman who starred with Rudolph Valentino in “The Sheik” and “the Son of the Sheik.”

Historical Society board member, Judy Travelstead, has discovered that many of the details written about Ayres and her family are not accurate. Travelstead hopes to clarify some of those misconceptions.

The1921 film, “The Sheik,” is going to be shown in its entirety after the program. It is a silent film in black and white and is 86 minutes long.

The event is free and open to the public. Popcorn and soda will be provided.

Union County Historical and Genealogy Society
Purchases the Cobden Medical Building
The Union County Historical and Genealogy Society has purchased the Cobden Medical Building/Clinic at 103 North Appleknocker according to a press release by the Society’s president, Patrick Brumleve.  The Cobden Civic Industrial Foundation owned the building. The Union County Museum and the Resale Shop will remain in the DuBois Building.
The Medical Building, built in 1958 by the community through loans and donations, is a one story, stone building a short distance north of the DuBois Building.  The stone is a product of the Lutz Marble Co. of Anna.  It was built to help attract much needed doctors to the Cobden area, and served its purpose well until about three years ago when the last of the doctors and dentists moved out.
It is a perfect fit for the Historical Society’s plans for a resource/cultural center with its concrete flooring, multiple rooms and two large areas for programs, according to Brumleve.  
Brumleve said, “Since we moved into the DuBois Building in 2006 donations of photos, artifacts, newspapers, post cards, diaries, school records, family memorabilia and art work have been overwhelming.”   He went on to say, “It became clear that we could not adequately accommodate these donations nor did we have the space to make them available to the public for research, but this should alleviate the problem.  We have also had to limit our programs because we did not have a large enough area for seating.”
The interior of the building will have to be painted, some areas of some of the walls repaired and new carpeting installed before the research items can be moved.
The resource center is being named for the long time president and one of the founders of the Historical Society, the late Jane Clark Brown of Anna.  
We are grateful to the many people who responded to our fundraising endeavor to make this purchase possible.  We were able to make a sizeable down payment and will have five years to pay off the contract for deed.
Specific rooms will have plaques acknowledging major donors, and others will be recognized with certificates.  Our fundraising efforts will by necessity have to continue until the final payment is made on the building.  And, of course, our monthly expenses will increase. 
Paulette Aronson said on behalf of the Historical Society board of directors, “We are excited about this new challenge and opportunity to continue to work to preserve the history of the area, and we trust the community will continue to support us.”
Board member, Judy Travelstead, noted that many small, local museums throughout the country are closing for various reasons, so it is particularly gratifying that we are continuing to grow. 
The Society is continuing its special fundraising project to pay for the purchase of the building and for the expenses related to the maintenance and improvement of the building. For more information, please contact Judy Travelstead or Patrick Brumleve or send donations to UCH&G Society, PO Box 93, Cobden, IL 62920.