Quilt Exhibit at the Historical Society

The Historical Society is pleased to present a special exhibit at the Society in early 2023: QUILTS! We have many wonderful old and new quilts on display and extended open hours to view the quilts. From January 24 through March 11, we are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 – 1:00, and on Saturdays from 10:00 – 2:00. There will be a suggested donation of $5 per person to defray the costs of this special exhibit.

While the quilts are “in residence,” we are pleased to offer the following programs at our building:

Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. –  Patriots in Petticoats, presented by quilt expert Kenda Bond

In this program, Kenda will talk about the everyday lives of women during the Revolutionary War era, including the role of quilting in their lives. “Patriots in Petticoats” is also the name of a quilt design created by Denice Lipscomb to honor women who played a part in the American Revolution. Kenda will talk about that quilt pattern and more!

Thursday, February 16, 7:00 p.m. –  Bed Turning, presented by quilt historian Joan Ruppman

Joan will present a program where she talks about many of the quilts that have been loaned to the Society for this exhibit. “Bed turning” started as a social event back in the days of pioneer women. After spending the winter sewing warm, beautiful quilts, a woman would invite other ladies from the community to her home for refreshments and a time to show off all the quilts made over the winter. Because there were no large areas in their cabins to show off the quilts, the host would pile the quilts neatly on top of her bed, stacked on top of each other, and then reveal each quilt one-by-one while talking about the methods she used to make the quilt and the history behind it. Joan will re-create this wonderful social experience for our members and friends. Of course, refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, February 28, 7:00 p.m. –  Mini-Trunk Show by local quilter Jackie O’Laughlin

Area resident Jackie O’Laughlin is a prolific quilter and has won many awards and honors at local and national quilt shows. In this program, she will present some of her most interesting quilts and discuss their roots in the history of quilting.

 Saturday, March 11, 11:00 a.m. –  Modern Quilting – More than Blankets by Lori Schierer

Lori is a master of using quilting techniques to make beautiful pieces that include beautiful blankets and so much more. Come hear Lori talk about her innovative modern quilts and how she makes wall hangings, bags, and other items using traditional quilting techniques.

Christmas House Tour

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy this year’s Christmas House Tour! We hope you enjoyed your day and we hope to see you again next year!

2022 Roots Recipient

The Washington Historical Society is pleased to announce this year’s Roots recipient, Gene (Wink) McCoskey. Gene has led a fascinating and productive life, including work at two large corporations and many years volunteering for various civic organizations in and around his community. To read the full article about Gene, please click here

The Washington Historical Society is proud to call Gene McCoskey one of Washington’s own and are pleased to honor him with this well-deserved recognition.

New Mural on Washington’s Square

The Washington Historical Society, in conjunction with private donors, is happy to announce that it has brought another historically-themed mural to Washington! After successfully commissioning two murals for Washington in the last two years, the Historical Society this time has created a mural on the south-facing wall of its own building, 128 Washington Square. Anat Ronen, the artist responsible for last year’s mural, painted this mural as well. 

The theme of this year’s mural focuses on the connection between one of Washington’s first landmarks and the creation of the Historical Society itself. It shows a beautiful round barn that sat on property on Eldridge Street from the 1910s until 1980. The dairy barn, originally built by local dairy farmer Fred Zimmerman, was based on the round barns that Mr. Zimmerman had seen in use at the University of Illinois. The barn was used from the time of its construction until 1972 when it was taken out of operation. It sat abandoned and neglected until 1980 when a group of local citizens banded together to try to purchase and save the round barn. The group was ultimately unsuccessful in saving the barn, but the effort had a silver lining: those citizens decided Washington needed a Historical Society that could educate people about Washington’s history and protect the physical items of Washington’s past. Thus, the Washington Historical Society was formed.

For more history of the round barn, please click here.


Historic Washington

Dr. Harley Zinser Home

105 Zinser (Est. 1858)

Constructed in 1858, the home of Dr. Zinser features a Greek Revival structure and was designed to be a single family home with an office in the east parlor. Additions to the home were added later in the 1880’s and early 1900’s. It was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Though the Zinser House was owned by the Washington Historical Society for many years, today it is back in private ownership by a member of the Zinser Family. The House is a home once again. 

Hiram Price Home

109 Burton (Est. 1867)

Although exact building records are questionable, the home at 109 Burton was originally built at 102 Burton in 1867 with an Italianate Structure by Hiram Price. Price served as Mayor of Washington from 1899-1901. In 1915, the home was purchased and moved to 109 Burton by Henry Denhart which later accommodated the First National Bank’s Money Store. After some renovations in recent years, the house still stands as a single family home in Washington. [1]

116 N. Elm

116 N. Elm (Est. 1898 or 1906)

The exact age of this historic home is unknown, however it is believed to have been constructed in either 1898 or 1906. It is a foursquare house and has been well-preserved over the years. Its past owners have included two Washington Mayors: John G. Gorin and Richard F. Tanton. [1][2]

Israel Zinser Home

307 E. Jefferson (Est. 1878)

Moving his family to Washington to become the City’s primary pharmacist, Israel Zinser built this house in 1878 for his family. The home has kept the same look and feel as it did in its day for over 130 years, the only exception being the porch that was added to the home in the early 20th century. The home remains in the Zinser family, as it has for five generations. [1][2]

Holland Home

312 S. Market (Est. Mid-1800's)

Like many historic homes, the exact date of construction on the home at 312 Market is hard to place. The front portion of the main level was constructed in 1870, and the upstairs and rear of the home were added in 1893. Still, the home has some pretty big historic significance for Washington, with its history dating back to the Matthew Holland, son of Hollands Grove Founder (later re-named to Washington), William Holland.[1]

What We Do

Acquire, Preserve, Display

The mission of this Society is to acquire, preserve, and display Washington’s history.