Kaneville celebrates 175 years at fest

By on August 26, 2011

175th Birthday Party
Sunday, Aug. 28

9:30 a.m.: Community Church
service behind Dave Werdin
Community Center

Noon: Potluck dinner with
meat provided

1 p.m.: Cutting of Kaneville Township
Birthday cake and ice cream,
followed by township picture

1:30 p.m.: Cemetery Walk

3 p.m.: Softball pick-up games

by Susan O’Neill
Kaneville’s history will come alive on Sunday, Aug. 28, when prominent and interesting characters from the early days of the township will be portrayed by current residents during the Kaneville Township Cemetery Walk.

Dressed in character and demonstrating some of their possessions, each of 12 individuals important in the history of the township will tell their own story at their grave site. Among those featured in the walking tour will be Amanda Rose Miner, one of the first settlers of Kaneville, and her daughter, Mary Miner Alexander, the first child born in Kaneville; Joe Thompson, a World War I veteran who was instrumental in creating the first fire department; artist and world traveler Grace Ravlin; Dr. Hardy, Kaneville’s first medical doctor; and Myrtle Goodwin Spencer, an activist who initiated the Kaneville Women’s Club and helped start the first library.

Small groups of eight to 10 at a time will tour the cemetery to ensure a meaningful experience with the earliest settlers of the area, said Kaneville Historical Society President Lynette Werdin, organizer of the walk.

The Cemetery Walk will complete the township’s celebration of its 175th birthday on the last day of Kaneville Fest 2011. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with a community church service sponsored by the Kaneville United Methodist Church. The service will be held in the pavilion in back of the Dave Werdin Community Center.

The Rev. Mark Harkness, who will preside over the service, said it will include a few songs from the praise band, as well as some of the more familiar and widely known hymns. An offering, in addition to the one for members of his church, will give worshippers an opportunity to donate to the Elburn Food Pantry.

A display of historical items from the church, including the original white altar, a photo album, a collection basket from the 1800’s and other pictures and records, will be set up in the hallway of the Community Center on Sunday.

The two historical houses in town, the Farley House and the Benton House, will be open on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., and will feature memorabilia from the Withey family, including a spinning wheel, a covered wagon hoop and a rocking chair.

The township will provide the meat for a potluck dinner on Sunday at noon at the pavilion, and people are asked to bring a dish to share. After the dinner, the Kaneville Township birthday cake and ice cream will be served, and all township residents are asked to be present for the 175th birthday picture.

The cemetery walk wraps up the birthday celebration, with pick-up softball games to follow at 3 p.m.