The history of the “Altenheim,” later called the Highland Home, was rewritten in 1987 by Arline Schneider, a member of the Highland Home Board.
The Highland Home was originally dedicated in 1912. Three additions followed. The north addition was done in 1969. The second addition to the west was completed in 1987 for the 75th anniversary and dedication of the new Sesquicentennial Apartments, which took place on Oct. 25, 1987. The third addition, on the southwest part of the complex, took place four years later. This 1991 addition had 11 two-room apartments with kitchenettes. An additional dining area and activity area were enlarged. (This third addition was where my parents, Irwin and Maybelle Harris, lived, with my mother living there for 15 years.)
On Sunday, May 1, 2016, another open house was held for the newest addition of the portico over the driveway, a new handicapped-accessible driveway and entry. There’s also an air-lock entry, enlarged parlor, two three-room apartments with kitchenettes. Plus, the Highland Home Museum and Art is in the making on the first floor of the 1912 building. More than 150 people attended the open house on Sunday, and the accolades were very encouraging.
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Now back to Highland Home history.
“On Oct. 4, 1896, at a meeting of the ‘Frauenverein,’ now called the Women’s Guild of Highland’s Evangelical United Church of Christ, the idea of a home for the elderly was conceived. After many fundraising activities, such as bazaars, card parties, luncheons and dances at the Turner Hall, enough money was raised to buy 8.91 acres from Charles and Clara Tuffli on Jan. 15, 1900 at $125 per acre. (In 1928, the Highland Home, purchase an additional 3.43 acres, making the total of more than 12 acres.)
“Many pledges, money and bequests followed, with construction and corner stone laying in 1911, with dedication of the ‘Altenheim’ on April 26, 1912. Later, the Altenheim was called the ‘Highland Home.’
“In the early days, the home raised some of its vegetables and fruit, with the residents aiding in preparing them for canning. Two or three cows were kept for their milk and making cheese, also a flock of chickens for their eggs and meat. The surplus acreage was planted in corn, wheat, beans or hay, until 1972. Under the leadership of board president Wilbur Schatte, farming was discontinued and oak, pine and sweet gum trees were planted on the south end, giving the area a park-like atmosphere.
“Improvements continued through the years, and the 1912 building has been kept up to date with the installation of stainless steel kitchen facilities and dishwasher, fire escapes, fire alarms and sprinkler system, an enlarged dining room and activity room, modern office and rest rooms.”
(Thanks for attending the Highland Home Open House. Please keep the Highland Home in mind with your donations and when seniors need a change.)
The Highland Home Museum and Art is scheduled for completion this winter. We have four rooms on the southeast end and the first floor hall way, all in the 1912 building. We have some room for a few of your Centennial farm pictures, farm scenes, with families, named.
For more information call my cell phone at (618) 303-0082.
Do not bring any additional items, except those people that I have requested, as I still have many of the 98 computer paper boxes or larger, to sort and place alphabetically in the museum as it becomes ready.
The Art Hall has been started, and some of it was viewed Sunday. Art Hall will tell the story of Highland. Starting with early 1800s history of the area of Highland. The theme is “Journey Through Time in Highland.” Here’s a taste:
ILLINOIS TERRITORY created March 1, 1809. Ninian Edwards was appointed governor.
LOOKING GLASS PRAIRIE was named in the first survey. It was the prairie created by Silver Creek and Little Silver Creek. (Little Silver Creek is just west of Highland, starting in northeast Madison County, meeting Silver Creek in St. Clair County and emptying into the Mississippi River.)
DUNCAN SETTLEMENT, 1808 or 1809, later called “Pleasant Hill, was also the first post office in this area, with Joseph Duncan as postmaster. Joseph Duncan, 1782-1852, and his wife, Amy Winegarten Duncan, came to the southeast corner of Helvetia Township in 1808 or 1809. They were the first recorded “squatters” in this area. Their son, Joseph Duncan Jr., was the first death in this area, and their son Hugh Duncan was the first recorded birth in 1816, in what today we call Helvetia Township.
ILLINOIS became a state on Dec. 3, 1818. Shadrick Bond was elected governor.
McALILLY SETTLEMENT Samuel McAlelly, or McAlilly, Sr. came from Tennessee to Illinois in 1818, and in a few years, found a home for his family in a cabin, which stood on ground now comprising the Highland City Cemetery, in southwest Saline Township.
THE KOEPFLI/SUPPIGER SWISS party arrived in McAlilly Settlement on Oct. 15, 1831 and had their first meal at the home of James Reynolds, the lady of the house, her daughter and two grown sons. James Reynolds owned the east side of Little Silver Creek, where Silver Lake is today, plus Silver Lake Park and Holiday Manor. The Reynolds farm of 160 acres had their farm house on what we now call Memorial Court in Holiday Manor, and his great spring was producing 60,000 gallons a day. This spring is still flowing. It was just to the north of Reynolds’ log home. The lake that the spring fed was originally called the Brewery Lake, and today it’s known as Bargetzi Lake.
HIGHLAND was platted with 45 blocks in Helvetia Township, and town lots were sold on Sept. 16, 1837. Joseph Suppiger, known as the “town builder,” was the one to start the first industry, the Joseph Suppiger & Co. Mill.
HELVETIA became the name of Highland in 1840. (Page 44, Centennial History of Highland.)
HIGHLAND, again! In 1844, the Highland near Chicago, became Highland Park, so the Post Office Department gave Highland it’s name back.
(Quotes from Perrin’s History of Illinois; Solomon Koepfli’s The Settling of Highland; Brink’s History of Madison County from 1882, and Spencer’s Centennial History of Highland from 1937, my columns, and Duncan and Reynolds genealogy by Roy Worstell.)