ARGENTA, Ill. (WCIA) – One man has made it his mission to collect and preserve pieces of the past.
He runs a museum, where past and present Argenta residents can reflect on the town’s history.
Tucked in the corner of prairie park, stands a historic building.
“It dates back to about 1900…pretty much the building is like it was,” said Jim Berry, who runs the museum.
The old grain elevator office almost didn’t survive the changing times.
“In the 1980s, Argenta lost its depot, and people in town were upset about that. When this building became available, we decided we didn’t want to lose this building too, so luckily the park let us move it here, and we saved it.”
In 2001, Jim berry and the members of the historical society turned it into a museum, filled with relics from the three towns founded close together: Argenta, Oreana, and Cisco…named for their Latin translations, silver, gold, and copper, respectively.
It’s only natural Berry considers what’s in here to be treasure.
“The quilt over there on the wall was made by the methodist church in the early 1930s. That was found in Tennessee,” said Berry.
If it weren’t for this building…he’s afraid these precious pieces from the past would’ve been buried.
“If this place was not here, many, many things in here would have been lost. People would say we have no use for them, or they would’ve been thrown away, sold in a rummage sale, or they just wouldn’t have been considered,” said Berry.
Whether it’s world war one uniforms, pictures of a late 19th century gathering, or vintage school uniforms…”we seem to have a lot of interest from people who have either relatives or ties, or roots in Argenta, and they come back,” said Berry.
There’s something in here that people can treasure in “silver town,” Our Town Argenta.
The museum is open for special events, like the Argenta Ice Fest.
They also open upon request, if someone gives a member of the historical society a call.