- To restore the Lyndon Area Historical Society to a viable community center
- To convert the sanctuary for public use – celebrations and events
- To preserve and archive Lyndon’s venerable history
- To create a media, technology, and genealogy center
History of the Lyndon Area Historical Society
Twenty-eight residents of Lyndon met at the Lyndon Congregational Church on March 21, 1975 to make plans to organize a historical society for this area. Officers elected to serve the first year were:
President Mrs. Robert Settles
Vice-President Mrs. Floyd Glazier
Treasurer Mrs. Victor Dykema
Recording Secretary Mrs. William Zaagman
Corresponding Secretary Mrs. Don Sutton
For several years, the society met in the Lyndon Congregational Church, but it had no permanent location to call its own in which to display and store historical items. Then, in 1986, the Lyndon Congregational Church made the decision to resolute with the Prophetstown Congregational Church. On Christmas Eve 1986, a joint service with the United Methodist Church marked the last formal worship service in the church. With this decision, church trustees offered the building, contents, and property to the historical society. A permanent home was thus provided, a repository of Lyndon’s venerable and most remarkable history. In 2010, several life-long residents of Lyndon were notified that the Lyndon Historical Society’s corporate status had been revoked. With a renewed effort, the new corporation was formed and gained legal status once again with the State of Illinois under the name – The Lyndon Area Historical Society. Today, the Lyndon Area Historical Society seeks to reaffirm those original members’ commitment to the preservation of this most significant landmark. Great efforts have gone into the restoration of the building’s 130 year-old sanctuary.
History of the Lyndon Congregational Church
The Lyndon Congregational Church was the first religious organization in Whiteside County. On March 3, 1836, the first religious meeting was held in the cabin of William D. Dudley with A.R. Hamilton serving as reader. The first pastor was the Reverend Elisha Hazard whose coming was considered something miraculous with many members believing his timely appearance was an answer to their prayers. After one meeting, when prayers were particularly fervent, a lone rider was seen approaching.Â The rider was the Reverend Hazard, an agent of the American Home Missionary Society, who was coming from Galena on his way to Geneseo. The settlers invited him to stay. The Reverend Hazard stayed with the church until 1842. During those six years he and his family became endeared in the hearts of everyone who, long years afterward, spoke affectionately of him.
The church received its charter on June 27, 1836 and the names of the first charter members were those individuals prominent in the development of both the county and town. Early meetings were held in the Bluff Schoolhouse (later called Hamilton Grove Schoolhouse) and still later alternated between the schoolhouse, member homes, businesses, and in the circuit court building. Yes, Lyndon was twice the Whiteside County Seat; but that is yet another fascinating story.¦
In 1850, the church edifice was built at a cost of $2,500. It was a grout covered building, 50 feet long, 15 feet wide and 15 feet tall. The building was located on Fourth Street West (formerly Warner Street) on block 37, lot 7. This building burned on April 1883. Arson was suspected. Only the organ was saved from the fire. A new building was erected almost immediately at the same location and was dedicated on December 27, 1883. In the 1950’s, a wing was added. This very structure is the home of the Lyndon Area Historical Society.
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