Summer Porch Chats at the Iles House in Springfield June 13, 20 and 27 to feature "Growing Up in Springfield"
"Growing Up in Springfield" is the theme of this year's Summer Porch Chats at the Elijah Iles House at Seventh and Cook in Springfield, a series of free events scheduled on successive Wednesday evenings, June 13, 20 and 27 at 5:30 p.m.
"The Summer Porch Chats are not lectures, but stories told by long-time, native sons and daughters who have personal life events worth sharing," said Elijah Iles House Foundation President James Cornelius. "The event is reminiscent of the time-honored tradition of sitting on the front porch on a summer night telling stories and enjoying the fireflies and sounds of summer. This year's presenters will offer insights into how things have changed, and in many cases stayed the same, in our community."
The Wednesday evening events will be held indoors, in air-conditioned comfort, at the Iles House. The front porch and back patio will be open afterwards. The programs include:
Wednesday, June 13 – Nancy Lanphier Chapin and Theresa Cummings will describe growing up about the same time on the same Springfield street, one on Williams Blvd. and the other a few blocks away on Williams Street, and how life was both different and the same.
Wednesday, June 20 – Admiral Ron Thunman, the child of Swedish immigrants, and his wife Owsley Brown Thunman, the daughter of a well-established Springfield family, will describe their differing childhoods and the circumstances that brought them together.
Wednesday, June 27 – Mike Lelys will describe what it was like growing up with his Lithuanian heritage in Springfield.
Porch Chat visitors are also encouraged to see the Iles House's Time to Remember exhibit on the Illinois Watch Company. Light refreshments will be available at each event, and free parking is available at the Iles House lot at the southeast Corner of Seventh and Cook.
The circa 1837 Elijah Iles House at 628 South Seventh Street is the oldest surviving house in Springfield and is open Wednesday and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. from April through October for public tours. It hosts many programs and events for the public, and may also be rented for private events. The house's historic main level is furnished as would have been typical in 1840s Springfield. The lower level houses the Farrell and Ann Gay Museum of Springfield History. Because of the house's impressive architecture and rich history, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The Iles House first stood on the southeast corner of Sixth and Cook streets. In 1910 the upper wood-frame portion of the house was moved to 1825 South Fifth Street, about two miles away. In August 1998, the non-profit Iles House Foundation moved the house from its South Fifth Street location to 628 South Seventh Street, just a block east from where it originally stood. The foundation has restored the house's historic interior and reconstructed the exterior based on early photographs. Two of Springfield's most famous citizens, Abraham Lincoln and poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, are known to have visited the house when it was privately owned.
For more information about the Elijah Iles House, visit www.ileshouse.org or call (217) 492-5929. You can also learn more via Twitter and Facebook.