Coles County Historic Preservation Awards Program Set For:
Thursday, May 7, 2015

CHARLESTON - The Coles County Regional Planning & Development Commission's Historic Preservation Advisory Council and the Association for the Preservation of Historic Coles County invite the public to attend their annual awards program at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 7 at Eastern Illinois University's Tarble Arts Center Atrium at 2010 9th Street in the southeast area of the EIU campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Music will be provided by the Jay Ferguson Trio.

The Council and Association conduct their awards program during Historic Preservation month each year. They will recognize the addition of properties to the Coles County Register of Significant Places, cite noteworthy historic preservation and cultural resource management projects, and acknowledge the efforts of those who have contributed to historic preservation in Coles County.

The 2015 awards include:

Addition to the Coles County List of Significant Places

Freeman-Meyer House, 1304 Lincoln Highway Road, Lerna, Illinois


Awards of Merit for Rehabilitation or Reconstruction Project

  • Owner Scott Rentals and Contractor Ray Carr - Planning and execution of the primary elevation porch reconstruction of the Prairie Four Square style house located at 1036 7th Street, Charleston, Illinois.

  • Owners Joel and Jennifer Ranson - Planning and execution of the exterior rehabilitation of the Queen Anne style house located at 1703 Jackson Street, Charleston, Illinois.

  • The Parish of Mattoon's Trinity Episcopal Church - Planning and execution of the multi-phased rehabilitative and deferred maintenance project addressing Mattoon's Trinity Episcopal Church located at 2200 Western Avenue, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 19 March 1982.


  • Awards of Merit for Organizational/Individual Contribution

  • The Staff of WEIU-TV - Planning, production and broadcast of the video presentation entitled Mattoon: This is Our Story which featured segments on historic Mattoon landmarks including the Burgess-Osborne Memorial Auditorium, Dodge Grove Cemetery, the ICRR Depot and Civil War-era Camp Grant.



  • Bill & Glennie Hamel - For supporting the advancement of historic preservation objectives in Coles County through local lifetime contributions in the fields of community leadership, advocacy and publication.



  • Additionally, the Tarble Arts Center galleries will be open before and after the program and awards ceremony. On view will be the 33rd Children's Art Exhibition, showcasing over 300 works of art created by area students in grades K-12; "Southwestern Pottery and Weavings from the Tarble and Area Collections," featuring Historic Period and contemporary ceramics from the American Southwest, vintage and contemporary Navajo weavings, and a selection of Caddo vessels, and "Nathalie Miebach: The Weather is Getting Weird." Miebach's work explores the intersection of art and science by translating data into woven sculptures.

    The Coles County Historic Preservation Advisory Council was established in 1980 and is an advisory body within the framework of Coles County government. The Council's primary functions are to develop, coordinate and support policies and activities designed to preserve the historic character of the County. The Association for the Preservation of Historic Coles County maintains the inventory of historic Coles County sites.




    Mattoon Confederate Special Ops ISHS Marker Dedicated

    November 11, 2014

    During a blustery Veterans Day ceremony at Wolf Park in downtown Mattoon, an Illinois State Historical Society interpretative marker was unveiled for the preservation and promotion of a unique aspect of Coles County's Civil War military history. The local context is associated with broader military and political contexts on the international, national, regional and statewide levels.

    In early 1864, the hierarchy of the Confederate government, realizing the war could not be won on the battlefield, chose to embark on an officially sanctioned and well financed behind-the-line war of insurrection, subversion and sabotage. The primary goal of what would be later known as the Northwest Conspiracy was to influence the 1864 Union presidential election in favor of a Democratic Party candidate. The Confederates speculated a Democratic Party victor would be more open to a negotiated settlement than the Lincoln administration.

    The overall operation stretched the length of states adjacent to the Canadian frontier, but the principal focus was in the northwestern states of Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana where large numbers of southern sympathizing Copperheads resided. The plan included the release of Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas outside Chicago, Rock Island Prison Barracks and Camp Butler in Springfield, as well as Camp Morton in Indianapolis and Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. Success of the overall strategy depended on the support and active participation of Copperhead radicals.

    Military commander of the Confederate Canadian Squadron was Captain Thomas Henry Hines, late of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry of General John Hunt Morgan's Command. Hines recruited operatives from various cavalry commands and ex-Confederate prisoners of war who had made their escape to Canada. Richmond also supported the effort by assigning a cadre of junior officers and NCOs with reputations in regard to clandestine tactics. The Confederate Canadian Squadron rarely exceeded 100 members. The Confederate operatives carried out their duties in civilian clothing and Union military uniforms, often impersonating federal officials and contractors. The operatives were trained in tasks such as arson and destruction of telegraph and rail lines. Hines and his officers spent much of their time coordinating with Copperhead leaders.

    After the failed Chicago Revolt during the late August 1864 Democratic Party Convention, Captain Hines and his second in command Captain John B. Castleman withdrew with cells of ten operatives each to Mattoon and Marshall respectively. During September and October of 1864, these groups carried out their missions throughout the region. Known actions of the Confederate operators took place in Mattoon, Carlyle, St. Louis, Missouri, Sullivan, Indiana and Terre Haute, Indiana.

    Due to the lack of committed Copperhead support, the grand plan of a Northwest Revolt never materialized and the Confederate operators ended up in prison or riding with Confederate guerilla bands in the border states until the end of the war. Regardless of their success, this was the first time in American military history that sanctioned subversive warfare was undertaken.

    The traits and tactics of these American military innovators were re-visited again during World War II when the U.S. formed the Office of Strategic Services, the contemporary U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, for behind-the-lines operation and intelligence gathering missions.

    For more contextual information, please refer to the Soldiers of Long Odds paper presented by CCHPAC member Steve Thompson at the ISHS History Symposium conducted at EIU in March of 2014.

    Sponsors for the Confederate Special Operators in Mattoon marker include the City of Mattoon, the Mattoon Community Trust, the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce, Intrepid Consulting Services, Inc. and the Illinois State Historical Society.




    2014 Coles County Historic Preservation Advisory Council Awards Ceremony

    May 8, 2014

    Owners: Denise and Mike Corray and CCHPAC Member: Kit Morice
    Brenda Tabor, Ann Hinrichs, Earl Halbe, David Kent Coy & Nancy Easter-Shick
    Sandy Graven, Tim Gover and Joyce St. Michael
    Steve Thompson and Mary Wetzel
    Cynthia Nichols, Frazier House Owners: Matt and Joyce Madigan

    The Coles County Historic Preservation Advisory Council in conjunction with the Association for the Preservation of Historic Coles County, held its annual County-wide historic preservation awards ceremony and reception at Eastern Illinois University's Tarble Arts Center on Thursday May 8th 2014. Entertainment was provided by the Jay Ferguson Trio with a special appearance by New Orleans Vibraphone player Joe Boyce.

    The CCHPAC annual awards recognize recently landmarked properties, rehabilitation projects, advocacy initiatives and acknowledge the efforts of those who have contributed to historic preservation in Coles County.

    The 2014 CCHPAC awards were as follow:

    Additions to the Coles County List of Significant Places
    • Dodge Grove Cemetery, 917 North 22nd Street, Mattoon
    • James William Frazier II House, 16707 E Co Rd 1600N, Rural Charleston
    • 1917 Charleston Post Office, 320 6th Street, Charleston

    Awards of Merit for Organizational/Individual Contribution
    • 1864 Charleston Riot 150th Anniversary Steering Committee - Planning and execution of 1864 Charleston Riot Commemoration Events 28-30 March 2014
    • Kurt Stretch, Mattoon - For demonstrated leadership and innovation during Phase I of the Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse Project
    • Mary Wetzel, Mattoon - For demonstrated leadership and innovation during Phase I of the Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse Project

    Nominations for CCHPAC awards may be submitted by any organization or individual. Nominations are subject to review and approval by the CCHPAC. An owner consent letter must accompany Landmark/Significant Place nominations.




    Mattoon's Civil War Camp Grant Recognized

    March 29, 2014

    On Saturday March 29th 2014 the site of Mattoon's 1859 Union Agricultural Fairgrounds and Civil War-era Union infantry muster camp, Camp Grant, was recognized through the dedication of an Illinois State Historical Society interpretative marker. The fairgrounds/muster camp site consists of the 90 acre parcel in Mattoon bounded by Logan Street on the east, 6th Street on the west, Piatt Avenue on the north and Shelby Avenue on the south. The ISHS marker is located within the Mattoon Roundhouse Complex near the intersection of Shelby Avenue and North First Division Street. Placement of the marker completes Phase I of the grander Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse Project.

    Ceremony participants included the Mattoon Jr. ROTC Color Guard, the combined Mattoon American Legion/VFW Color Detail, a Ceremonial Detail from Company A, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, Illinois National Guard and bugler Andrew Cheetham. Dedication speeches were given by Mattoon Mayor Tim Gover, Brigadier General Richard Hayes of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and Congressman John Shimkus. Mattoon historian Alice Larabee unveiled the marker.

    Journal Gazette/Times Courier coverage can be viewed HERE.

    Mayor Tim Gover's Speech

    Brigadier General Richard Hayes Jr's Speech