----- Mineral Pride Society, Mineral, Illinois ----- Home of the Leopards

Mineral Pride Museum

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Mineral Pride Museum School Room
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Mineral Cheerleader / Locker Room
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Mineral Pride Museum June 4th, 2011

First State Bank of Mineral Window Sign
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On Display at the Mineral Pride Museum

 
The Mineral Pride Society, Inc. Museum
 
The grand opening of the Mineral Pride Society, Inc. Museum was held on Saturday, June 4th, 2011.  The festivities will began with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:00 p.m.  The ribbon was cut by Mineral High Schoiol Alum Tom Kirley (Class of 1938) and MHS alumnae Zerena Brandt (Class of 1933).
 
Though a "little" warm inside, there were many happy faces and memories "tweaked" as the items were viewed.    At 6:30 p.m. the final Mineral Alumni Banquet was held at the Mineral Community Center on Main Street. 

Ray & Ruby Brieser - The Brieser Room
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The Mineral Pride Society would like to thank the family of Ray and Ruby Brieser whose generous donation helped to make the dream of having a museum become a reality.  Ray and Ruby were dedicated to the development of Mineral and their efforts will never be forgotten.
 
 
 
We would also like to thank ALL of the donors who have made our past projects successful ones.  The school memorial, the induction into the BCR Hall of Fame, and this museum could not be possible without your unwavering support.  Thank you for believing in us!
 
The Society wishes to recognize the workers who donated countless hours and provided services at minimal costs:
 
Rob Lyons & Sons
Jim Blosser
Michael Dittmer
John Puentes Construction
Brent Heavener & Family
MTM Recognition, Princeton
 
We also would be remiss if we did not mention the incredible dedication and devotion to this project portrayed by Sue McCauley. Without Sue's relentless effort this project could not have become a reality. Thank you Sue, you have done a FANTASTIC job!!!
 
Two newpaper articles have been written about the Grand Opening of the Museum and the final Mineral High School Alumni Banquet.  They are printed below in their entirety.  We hope to see you at the grand opening!
 

From the Moline Dispatch, May 31, 2011:

 

'The smaller the school, the fiercer the loyalty': Mineral High School alum to celebrate with final reunion

Posted Online: May 31, 2011, 12:00 pm
By Todd Welvaert, twelvaert@qconline.co
 
When the alumni of Mineral High School hoist a glass at their 50th reunion on Saturday, June 4, the toast will be more bittersweet than most.

This reunion will be the school's last.

Mineral High School served the tiny town and the surrounding area from 1894 to 1961.

"They have a high school reunion non-stop for over 75 years,"Dave Nanninga, president of the Mineral Pride Society said. "All told, 323 people graduated from the school while it was operation, the reunions are open to all the alumni, but over the years the numbers of people in attendance were getting lower and lower while their ages were getting higher and higher. They decided to give the last class a chance to celebrate their 50th and then disband."

Mineral is a town of about 240about 45 minutes east of the Quad-Cities off of Interstate 80. It was born in 1834 when coal was discovered. Several mines offered employment to area men and in 1857 the village was platted. Mineral hit its peak of about 350 residents between World War I and World War II. It had restaurants, bars, a grocery, gas stations, a heating and plumbing store, a lumber yard and two grain elevators.

The townsfolk had a fierce loyalty to the school. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Mineral Leopards fielded tremendous basketball teams for a school that rarely had more than 50 students, bringing home several state and regional championships.

Changes in industry, mining, farming, and transportation stacked up like waves against the little town. Interstate 80 moved the life-blood of traffic away from Mineral, the demand for northern Illinois coal dropped, population shifted towards the bigger cities and schools started to consolidate. The Mineral School District was annexed into the Annawan School District.

The last graduating class went through Mineral High School in 1961. The school district used the building until 1974, when it was sold to a private individual. In 1998, the building was demolished.

"When a small town loses its school, it loses a lot," Mr.Nanninga said. "That's something you can see in a lot of small towns. The people want to live close to schools, the stores want to be close to people."

In 2009, theMineral Pride Society were able to raise $19,000 to install a stone memorial at the site of the old high school, and the flag pole from the high school and open a Mineral museum in a store front.

"It's mostly historical items from what was important to Mineral early on," Mr.Nanninga said. "There's a small class room, teacher's desk, a pot belly stove from 1891 from what was the first school ever built in the area. There's a leather check book from the state bank. Basketball, baseball and even a football jersey from the high school even though they only played football for three years. If you are from Mineral I think you would find it interesting, but I also think it's interesting for people who are not from there."

Mr. Nanninga pointed out a quote from a 1924 graduateFrancis Immesote:

"Mineral High School (brick building) existed a bare 40 years. It was surely not a long time. A poet might say a mere blink of an eye in eternity. True, yet it is a long time in anyone's life. During that time (our school) was the very real center of community life: the farmer's institutes, the ball games, the meetings for almost any purpose, voting days, and the thousand and one things on which people must meet and agree. It was truly the center of the town and it filled a very large part of our daily lives and in our hearts. Gone are the happy shouts of children at play, the hum of the daily classes and the clang of bells to and from class. The feverish din of ball games and the whisper of young people finding romance for the first time are all gone now, never to return, just like the carefree days of our youth.

So now the old building sits there alone and seemingly forlorn. But not really, for it still fills a large piece of our hearts. It seems to be true that the smaller the school, the fiercer the loyalty. I pray that some of the things I was taught there still cling to me today."
 
 
Photo: courtesy of the Mineral Pride Society
The former Mineral High School building. The final class of graduates from 1961 are getting together Saturday, June 4, for their 50th anniversary reunion which will mark the last reunion for MHS graduates.
Photo: courtesy of the Mineral Pride Society
The final class of graduates from Mineral High School, the class of 1961. The class includes: Rita Gingrich, Barbara Van Bevern, Richard Van Kerrebroeck, Gerald Foes, Eldon Croegaert and Donald Maas.
Photo: courtesy of the Mineral Pride Society and Roger Moore
The Mineral High School Leopards basketball team of the 1928-29 season.
 
From the Bureau County Republican May 26, 2011:
 
A time to sow and a time to reap

Barb Kromphardt – bkromphardt@bcrnews.com   

MINERAL — June 4 will be a day of beginnings and endings in Mineral. It will be a day of beginnings as the new Mineral Pride Museum will be unveiled. At 5 p.m., the Mineral Pride Society Inc. will unveil the museum, which will be located in the former E.B. Lyons Plumbing and Heating Store, the only remaining store front on Main Street. The museum will have a large section of Mineral High School memorabilia including trophies and sports uniforms. It will also display historical items depicting the early years of the village of Mineral and Mineral Township.

However, it will also be a day of endings, as the opening will coincide with the final Mineral High School Alumni Banquet. The Class of 1961 — Rita Gingrich, Barbara Van Bevern, Richard Van Kerrebroeck, Gerald Foes, Eldon Croegaert and Donald Maas — will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Mineral alumni have been celebrating their anniversaries for years, but this year, when the final graduating class will celebrate its 50th anniversary, it will be the last banquet.

Dave Nanninga, president of the Mineral Pride Society, said the Alumni Association decided several years ago that this would be the last banquet, considering the work involved in putting the event together and the age of the participants.

“People are content with this being the last banquet,” Nanninga said. “Some have been coming from 30 to 40 years, non-stop.”

Mineral was incorporated as a town in 1853. The population reached a high of around 350 in the mid-1940s but has been dropping slowly ever since. The 2010 Census showed 237 people lived in the village, 35 fewer than census takers counted in 2000.

The Mineral school system was recognized shortly after the town’s incorporation. The first high school was recognized in 1870, and the first graduating senior class recorded was in 1894 with three students getting their diplomas.

But enrollment remained low at the high school. The largest enrollment came in 1953 with 53 students, and by the time the district annexed into the Annawan School District in 1961, the number of students attending had dropped to 28.

Although the number of students who attended Mineral High School is small, they are a loyal bunch.

“They still care, and they’re still very dedicated,” Nanninga said.

In June 2009, a $10,000 black marble Mineral School Memorial was unveiled in memory of the school, which was demolished in 1998. Now Mineral supporters have raised about $20,000 for the new museum. Nanninga said some people doubted the museum would be completed, but work is almost finished. He said the building was restored to look as original as possible, including the hard wood floors and original pressed tin ceiling.

Nanninga said the museum will include items people have saved over the years. There are football and basketball jerseys, trophies and doors and lockers from inside the school. There are photos of all the classes, yearbooks and newspaper clippings, including one from the last day of school in 1961. There are also things from the village, such as the old village mailboxes, an old Mineral Railroad sign, and a piece of steel fencing from the old Mineral Cemetery

“Things people kept out of nostalgia and a love for their ancestors,” Nanninga said. “Things that will tweak people’s memories.”

Nanninga is expecting about 120 to attend the banquet, including 70 alumni. Tom Kirley, Class of ‘38, will perform the honors at the ribbon-cutting of the new museum.

Nanninga expects more than a few tears to be shed.

“Once you lose that school, it’s difficult,” he said. “It’s the passing of a time and an era.”
  

Mineral High School Alumni Have Final Reunion

 

Current and former residents of Mineral gathered Saturday for a night of reminiscing, renewing old acquaintances, and ultimately ending a half century of celebrations. 

Over 100 people, most of who were in town to celebrate the annual, and this year the final, Mineral High School Alumni banquet, were treated to the grand opening of the newly created “Mineral Pride Museum”.  The festivities kicked off at 5:00 p.m. with the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.  This honor was bestowed upon Tom Kirley, MHS Class of 1938, and Zerena Riley Brandt, MHS Class of 1933.

Visitors were then entertained in a completely renovated store front on Main Street that once served as Ely’s Store and E.B. Lyons & Sons Hardware.  The Mineral Pride Society, Inc. purchased the building in 2010 with the purpose of creating a museum to store artifacts regarding the history of Mineral Township. 

Items available for viewing included class photos of all the graduating classes from Mineral HS from 1924 – 1961 (when the school closed). Also included were trophies and photos from the athletic successes attained at the school, a section honoring the former Legion Hall, the counter, walls and mailboxes from the former post office, a small school room which included an antique wood burning furnace and antique desks.

An authentic looking locker room was developed.  It includes lockers and doors from the high school building which was razed in 1998. The locker room bench, a football jersey, a cheerleading uniform, lettermen’s sweaters, and District Championship plaques were on display.  Most noticeable were the mannequins dressed in the full Mineral HS basketball and cheerleading uniforms provided by Jim Blosser.

For further entertainment those in attendance were invited to view the museum created by former Mineral High School student Jim Blosser.  This display was created in the former Mineral Conoco Gas Station on Main Street.  Several authentic items were on display including antique tractors and signs.

The alumni strolled down Main Street to the Mineral Community Center for what would be the final Mineral Alumni Banquet.  The first recorded meeting of the Mineral Alumni Association occurred in 1961, the year the school closed. It is believed that the Alumni Association was developed about 25 years prior to that.  The Mineral HS Alumni have held annual meetings since 1961 and have honored the 25, 50, and 60 year reunions of the corresponding classes each year.

This year would mark the final Alumni Reunion as the class of 1961 would celebrate its 50th Reunion.  The mood was festive yet somber, knowing that the passing of an era was about to occur.

The celebration began with a few words from Illinois House of Representatives member Donald L. Moffitt, who represents the 74th District. Mr. Moffitt began by praising the town of Mineral for their desire to remember the accomplishments of the past.  He said the museum was a credit to the small town’s ingenuity and dedication.  He also praised the Veteran’s Memorial on Main Street, asking that all Veteran’s in the audience be given a round of applause for their service to our country.  Mr. Moffitt concluded by offering his best wishes to all in attendance.

The Pledge of Allegiance to Our Flag was said in unison by the 92 people in attendance.  A moment of prayer and silence was observed and the meal was undertaken.

The banquet continued with the honoring of special guests in attendance.  This included Don and Jayne Dolieslager.  Mr. Dolieslager was a teacher and coached Mineral HS basketball from 1958 – 1961.  Mrs. Dolieslager taught those same years at the Mineral School. Also recognized were the members of the Mineral Pride Society, Sue McCauley, Nancy Salzman, Nancy Nanninga, and Dave Nanninga for their efforts in creating the Mineral Pride Museum and School Memorial Park (2009). 

The MHS classes of 1951 (60 years) and 1961 (50 years) were recognized.  Class of 1951 members Benny and Phyllis Morey (who were married in June after graduating in May of 1951), and Marie Nielsen DeBates each provided their life histories.  Ms. DeBates went to a 40 year career in teaching, Mrs. Morey served as Post Master of the Mineral Post Office for several years. Mr. Morey operated a gas station in Mineral for 10 years and went on to a career at International Harvester in Moline.  

Five of the six members of the Class of 1961 were present.  Don Maas, Eldon Croegaert, Dick VanKerrebroeck, Rita Gingrich Black, and Gerald Foes each took turns providing a brief description of their life since leaving MHS and what growing up in a small town meant to them.  Rita Gingrich Black stated she felt blessed to grow up in such small town with the closeness the people felt for each other.

The microphone was then passed through the crowd to share memories of Mineral High School.  Several charming, funny, and candid stories were shared. Names of people who have since passed were recalled with fondness.

The meeting ended with a motion to disband the Mineral Alumni Association.  The motion was unanimously approved.  Any remaining funds will be donated to the Mineral Pride Society.  Emotions for some were difficult to contain, some tears and sad faces were evident at each table. 

The Mineral Pride Society members announced that they will begin an annual ice cream social to be held on the first Saturday of each June beginning in 2012 specifically geared toward honoring those who attended Mineral Schools.  It is hoped that the social will continue to offer the Mineral High School Alumni an opportunity to meet and enjoy each other’s company.

The evening was capped with the singing of the Mineral High School Fight Song.  All in attendance stood, clapped, and sang one final rendition of “On Ole Mineral”, sung to the University of Wisconsin fight song tune.  Once the first rendition had finished a voice from the crowd shouted “One more time!”.  A second, louder rendition was enjoyed.  The final words came from the school’s former cheerleader’s in attendance who shouted “Cha He,Cha Ha, Cha Ha Ha Ha, Mineral High School, RAH, RAH, RAH!!”, the cheer they remembered from so many years ago. 

One may question if this is really such a significant event in the history of Illinois, or even the United States.  Truthfully, nothing that occurred on June 4, 2011 in Mineral will change the course of America, however it was an important part of history for one small town in western Bureau County.  It is the passing of an era, one that will now likely fade into the distant past.  In closing I offer the words of MHS Class of 1924 graduate Francis Immesoete.  His words are memorialized on the stone at the School Park.  They read as follows:

    "Mineral High School existed a bare seventy years.  It was surely not a long time.  A poet might say a mere blink of an eye in eternity.  True, yet it is a long time in anyone's life.  During that time it was the very real center of community life:  the farmer's institutes, the ball games, the meetings for almost any purpose, voting days, and the thousand and one things on which people must meet and agree.  It was truly the center of the town and it filled a very large part of our daily lives and in our hearts.  Gone are the happy shouts of children at play, the hum of the daily classes and the clang of bells to and from class.  The feverish din of ball games and the whisper of young people finding romance for the first time are all gone now, never to return, just like the carefree days of our youth.  

     So now the old building sits there alone and seemingly forlorn.  But not really, for it still fills a large piece of our hearts.  It seems to be true that the smaller the school, the fiercer the loyalty.  I pray that some of the things I was taught there still cling to me today."

 

The Mineral Pride Museum will be open each Saturday from 12N – 4p or via appointment by calling Nancy Nanninga at (309) 288-5371.

 

To read more about the village of Mineral and its former school on the internet  check out the following web address:

www.illinoishsglorydays.com/mineralhistoricalsociety

From the Bureau County Republican Newspaper July 4, 2011
 
 

Mineral High School alumni hold final reunion

 

The meeting ended with a motion to disband the Mineral Alumni Association. The motion was unanimously approved. Any remaining funds will be donated to the Mineral Pride Society. Emotions for some were difficult to contain, some tears and sad faces were evident at each table. 

The Mineral Pride Society members announced they will begin an annual ice cream social to be held on the first Saturday of each June, beginning in 2012, specifically geared toward honoring those who attended Mineral schools. It is hoped that the social will continue to offer the Mineral High School alumni an opportunity to meet and enjoy each other’s company.

The Mineral Pride Museum will be open each Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. or via appointment by calling Nancy Nanninga at 309- 288-5371. 

To read more about the village of Mineral and its former school on the Internet, visit www.illinoishsglorydays.com/mineralhistoricalsociety.

More than 100 people, most of whom were in town to celebrate the annual, and this year, the final, Mineral High School Alumni banquet, were treated to the grand opening of the newly created “Mineral Pride Museum.” The Mineral Pride Society Inc. purchased the former Ely’s Store and E.B. Lyons & Sons Hardware building in 2010 with the purpose of creating a museum to store artifacts regarding the history of Mineral Township. Items available for viewing included class photos of all the graduating classes from Mineral HS from 1924–1961 (when the school closed). Also included were trophies and photos from the athletic successes attained at the school, a section honoring the former Legion Hall, the counter, walls and mailboxes from the former post office, a small school room which included an antique wood burning furnace and antique desks. An authentic looking locker room was developed. It includes lockers and doors from the high school building which was razed in 1998. The locker room bench, a football jersey, a cheerleading uniform, lettermen’s sweaters and district championship plaques were on display. Most noticeable were the mannequins dressed in the full Mineral HS basketball and cheerleading uniforms provided by Jim Blosser.

 
From the Moline Dispatch June 13, 2011:
 
Photo:
This photo was submitted to QC Capture by Dave Nanninga. Over 100 present and past residents of Mineral gathered recently for the final Mineral High School Alumni banquet and grand opening of the newly created “Mineral Pride Museum." The museum is a renovated store front on Main Street and includes class photos, trophies, counter, walls and mailboxes from the former post office, an antique wood burning furnace and antique desks, locker room and bench, football jersey, cheerleading uniform, lettermen’s sweaters, and District Championship plaques were on display. The Mineral Pride Museum will be open each Saturday noon to 4 p.m. or via appointment by calling Nancy Nanninga at (309) 288-5371.