GALVA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND GEORGE SWANK
The Galva Historical Society...
The Historical Society was founded in April, 1987. The goal of the society is to preserve Galva History. The Wiley House Museum was bought in December of 1987. The house was the home of one of Galva's founders, William Wiley.
In 1996 an addition was built in memory of George Swank, Galva's Historian and one of the founders of the Galva Historical Society. The addition is a military room. The museum contains many artifacts from Galva.
On January 25, 1996 another chapter was written In the story of the Galva Historical Society. George Swank has had a dream since 1954 when he wrote, "The Galva Story" for the Centennial Souvenir Program. That dream was to keep a record of area historical material for future generations. So in August of 1958 he started the Galvaland. But George didn't stop dreaming. On April 22, 1987 another milestone in Galva history was reached. That was the night the Galva Historical Society became a reality. Mayor Dick Headley was quoted as saying, "It is an event that is long past due".
The first action was to apply for a non-for-profit charter from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. The application was mailed April 28th. It was approved the next day and the charter was received in Galva on May 2. Then application was made for required registration number from the Internal Revnue Service.
That year was the start of the annual Historical Society entries in the Galva Fourth of July Parade. That year it took first place, and for a number of years since, there has been an entry in the parade. Yes, there have been more first place prizes. George has always been there to help with the planning and decorating; but he could never ride, as he needed to be at the sidelines taking pictures.
On August 26,1987 the purchase of the "Wiley House" was approved and the deed was filed Christmas Eve., 1987. May 29-30, 1988 was the first opportunity for the public to view the interior of the home of Galva's Founder, William L. Wiley. George's dreaming continued. The window in the parlor was done, Beta Sigma Phi started restoring and decorating the main room with George snapping pictures of each little improvement. He couldn't believe it was being done. People started donating historical items and money. George was always eager to tell what had been given or who was coming to visit. On June 25, 1989 the museum was dedicated. As usual George had been putting in long hours gettiong the historical displays together, and then rushing honme to change just before the event was to begin. Florence shared in George's dream and encouraged him in her own quiet way. The last months when she was ill and after her death, George just couldn't seem to carry on with activities in the Wiley House.
He has accomplished alot. Now it is our duty to carry on with What he started. We can't doubt George's dream. We must hold on to that dream and work together to see that furture generations will continue to have the resources available to them, as we have available to us now. George has made as big an impact on Galva, as Olaf Krans, in a different way. He was Mr. Galva, a true Ambassador for Galva.
Then there was a moment of silence, followed by the following prayer: Thank you, Lord, that we all got to know George. Guide us now as we go forth to carry on the work he started. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
(This was the tribute I gave before the Historical Meeting on Feb. 13, 1996). Sally Nelson George has bequeathed his entire estate to The Galva Historical Soceity and Wiley Museum. With one stipulation, a 20 ft. X 20 FT. addition is to be built onto the west side of the Wiley Museum, in which to honor its veterans. George has left many historical items, which will be cataloged and will be on display in the museum. Also he gave his W.W. II medals, an Olaf Krans Indian painting, a walnut chest, an antique desk, and many historical books.
An election of officers was held: President: Irving Anderson Vice President: Sally Nelson Secretary: Phyllis Carlson Treasurer: Christy Perkins Corresponding Sec.: Vicki Perkins
Directors (2 yrs.) Judy Anderson Mary Jane Atkinson Keith Carter Directors (3 yrs.) Chuck Medley and Mary Howe
Building: Don Lindquist Arlo Edwall Harlan Nelson
Program: Harold Riner
Museum: Vicki Perkins
Youth: Bill Craig
Publicity: Sally Nelson Swedish Visitor Guides:
Erik and Esther Lindberg
Benefactor: $100.00 or more
Write to Galva Historical Society
Christy Perkins, Treas.
2141 Cty Hwy5
Galva, Ill 61434
Submitted by Jordan Murray
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