Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse/Camp Grant Municipal Park Project

Tim Gover, John Shimkus, Richard Hayes Jr & Steve Thompson
Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse Rendering
Mattoon Camp Grant ISHS Marker Dedication Ceremony
Mattoon Camp Grant ISHS Marker Dedication Ceremony
Mattoon Camp Grant ISHS Marker Dedication Ceremony
Mattoon Camp Grant ISHS Marker Dedication Ceremony
Mattoon Camp Grant ISHS Marker Dedication Ceremony

What: An Urban Re-development and Memorialization Initiative addressing Mattoon's Civil War military context through the fusion of Landscape Design and Sculpture.

Why: To provide an educational/recreational resource for local population and visitors to Mattoon.

Where: Intersection of North First Division Street and Shelby Avenue within Mattoon's Roundhouse Complex.

Significance of Site: The Ellipse site overlooks the location of Mattoon's Civil War-era Camp Grant which functioned as a Union muster camp for Illinois infantry regiments from 1861-1865. In May of 1861, then Illinois recruitment and training officer Captain U.S. Grant performed some of his first Civil War duties at this locale. Units raised at the site include the 21st, 79th, 123rd, 135th and 143rd Illinois Infantry Regiments.

Who: Coalition of local and regional entities including; the City of Mattoon, the Coles County Historic Preservation Advisory Council, the Illinois State Historical Society, the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce, Coles County Historical Society and the Mattoon Area Community Foundation.

When: Ellipse Phase II completed during the fall of 2015. Anticipated overall project completion date based on availability of funds.


Steering Committee

The Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse/Camp Grant Municipal Park Project steering committee has accepted the responsibility of guiding the project through its planning, fund raising and execution paces. The steering committee is comprised of personnel with unique individual talents which are necessary for an effectively administered project. Consolidation of these individuals into a working unit furthers one of the larger goals of the Ellipse/Camp Grant Park Project, that being community capacity building through shared, practical application. The current Ellipse/Camp Grant Park Project steering committee includes the following individuals:

Carolyn Cloyd Executive Director, United Way of Coles County
Ed Dowd Executive Director, Mattoon Area Chamber of Commerce
Kyle Gill City Administrator, City of Mattoon
Sandy Graven Member, Mattoon City Council
Kenneth Serfass U.S. Grant in Living History; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Kurt Stretch Superintendent, Mattoon Parks Department
Mike Sullivan Director of Outreach, Illinois Small Business Development Center
Steve Thompson Coles County Historic Preservation Advisory Council
David Tolle Management Recruiters of Mattoon
Janett Winter-Black Coles County Historical Society

The steering committee's Fundraising Sub-committee is co-chaired by Carolyn Cloyd and Sandy Graven.

Steering Committee Members (L-R) Sandy Graven, Kyle Gill, David Tolle, Carolyn Cloyd and Janett Winter-Black

Not-for-Profit (501c3) Partner

The Mattoon Area Community Foundation (MACF) acts as the not-for-profit 501c3 fiscal agent for the Ellipse/Camp Grant Park Project. The MACF focuses on facilitating initiatives and projects that enrich the Mattoon community in a variety of respects. Foundation Executive Director Joedy Hightower relays that, "...the Ellipse/Camp Grant Park project physically preserves and memorializes Mattoon's Civil War heritage and, through its execution, will enhance a long-neglected neighborhood of the community." "Possibly, the Ellipse Project could be the catalyst for similar heritage projects throughout the region."

Scope of Work, Budget & Completion Date

The physical development aspect of the Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse/Camp Grant Municipal Park Project involves a six phase undertaking. In addition to the creation of this cultural resource, the project also includes an intensive fund raising campaign and advocacy for the integration of the site and the Camp Grant context into local tourism and educational programs. At the completion of the project, the newly acquired/re-developed resource will be donated to the City of Mattoon for integration into the Mattoon Municipal Park System.

Phase I of the Ellipse Project was completed in March of 2014 through the dedication of an Illinois State Historical Society Commemorative Marker at the Ellipse site. The dedication event was well attended by local and regional supporters of the project. Attendees were regaled with the pageantry of a military honors ceremony and were offered reflections on the significance of Camp Grant and the troops that served during the Civil War by Mattoon Mayor Tim Gover, Major General Richard Hayes, Jr. of the Illinois National Guard and U.S. Congressional Representative John Shimkus.

Camp Grant ISHS Marker Dedication 29 March 2014
L-R Mattoon Mayor Tim Gover, Congressman John Shimkus,
MG Richard Hayes, Jr. and Ellipse/Camp Grant Park Project Manager Steve Thompson

Phase II of the Ellipse work was completed during November of 2015. Phase II work included site grading, construction of the elliptical concrete pathway, placement of regimental markers and benches, planting of trees around the site boundary and installation of a site wayfinding marker.

Phase III will finalize the Ellipse Memorial and focuses on the fabrication and installation of the sculpted bronze and granite Last Sentry Monument and associated lighting and landscaping elements in the center of the Ellipse.

Phases IV-VI centers on the acquisition and re-development of the block and 1/2 north of the Ellipse Memorial for the proposed Camp Grant Municipal Park.

Total project budget is anticipated to be approximately $750,000 and is broken down into the following line items:

Phase III Fabrication and Installation $130,000
Phase IV-VI Acquisition & Development $525,000
Project Administration Fees and Contingencies $65,000
Perpetual Maintenance Endowment $30,000

The completion date for the physical aspects of the project is totally driven by the availability of funds for execution. Realistically, if funds were in place, the project could be completed in a twelve to eighteen month period.

Sculptor Roy W. Butler

From his studios in Tennessee and Nevada, Artist Roy W. Butler has been assisting the Ellipse Project management team in developing the design for the bronze sculpture that will top the Last Sentry Monument. The bronze figure will depict a life size Union infantryman in guard mount uniform overlooking the former site of Mattoon's Camp Grant. Roy has been concentrating on sculptures for memorial projects for over a decade. A few of Roy's recent commissions include:

The Levon Helm Memorial Project, Helena, Arkansas
The United States Colored Troops National Monument, Nashville, Tennessee
The American Legion World War II Memorial, Brinkley, Arkansas

Roy will work in close concert with Adams Memorials of Charleston, Illinois who will be providing Ellipse stone elements and install the bronze figure on a seven foot granite base.

Fund Raising & Marketing

The steering committee's Fund Raising Sub-committee is working diligently on the project fund raising campaign. Elaine Webster, Director of Advancement for the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., has recently donated professional fundraising services to the project's strategic planning initiative.

Steering Committee Members Ken Serfass (L) and Steve Thompson (R) with the Smithsonian's Elaine Webster

The fund raising effort consists of the pursuit of development grant funding, a donation appeal to the public-in-general and a quest for donations from supportive commercial, industrial, corporate and organizational entities. Single-source funding of the Phase III Last Sentry Monument will be recognized within the text on a bronze tablet on the monument's granite base. Funds raised above the $750,000 total project goal will be obligated to the Ellipse/Camp Grant Park perpetual maintenance fund. Donations are tax deductible and all donors will be provided with a donation certification document by the Mattoon Area Community Foundation. The steering committee's project fund raising team will be augmented by the presence of enthusiastic donors desiring to move the project forward.

The project will be marketed through internet web sites, PowerPoint presentations to special interest groups, press coverage and personal interaction with potential donors. Other anticipated marketing efforts include appeals through journal articles and mass mailings.

Donations made by check are payable/submitted to:

The Mattoon Area Community Foundation
Attn: Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse Project (Memo Line)
2701 South Banker Street, Suite 102A
P.O. Box 1211
Effingham, Illinois 62401

Join the Party

If you would like more information about this distinctive project, to request a group presentation, discuss a donation or desire to bring expertise to the project management team, do not hesitate to contact Ellipse Project Manager Steve Thompson at 217/254-1524 (c) or If you are personally acquainted with other members of the steering committee/fund raising team, feel free to approach them also for project information.

The War of Southern Rebellion 155 Years Ago

February 1862 - Brigadier General U.S. Grant leads Union troops to victory in northwestern Tennessee at Forts Henry and Donelson.

February 1862 - A Confederate force of 2,500 mounted Texans defeats 3,000 Union regulars and volunteers at the Battle of Valverde in New Mexico Territory. Colonel Kit Carson commands the Union's 1st New Mexico Infantry Regiment during the engagement.

June 1862 - Union gunboats and rams defeat similar Confederate "cottonclad" vessels on the Mississippi River just above Memphis.

August & September 1862 - The 79th and 123rd Illinois Infantry Regiments are mustered into service at Mattoon's Camp Grant.