Rescued Pieces of Steel Mill History Will Be Dedicated

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Those who hold the former Hennepin steel mill plant in their hearts will be able to view part of it for years to come.

A dedication of the new steel mill display will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at the awning next to the Ag Museum, 501 Old Highway 26, Hennepin.

In May, a pair of work rolls were transported from the former steel mill plant to the Putnam County Historical Society.

The rolls, which steel went through, had been on display outside the plant since the plant’s 30th anniversary. The rolls probably were built around 1995, said former steel mill plant worker Mike Black in a previous interview. Black will talk at Sunday’s dedication. He plans to talk about positive points, including what the rolls represent — the innovation of the plant, the customer service provided, the people involved and more.

He said he’s happy the historical society was able to save a part of history from being scrapped with the rest of the plant.

The rolls originally were transported in May, and since then, an awning has been added above as well as lights to keep the display lit at night,

There is also a plaque that has been with the rolls since the 30th anniversary of the plant and a memorial rock that reads, “In memory of the deceased brothers and sisters of U.S.W.A. Local 7367 and amalgamates.”

A new plaque with pictures and history of the plant will be placed behind the rolls and should be completed this week before the dedication, said Sid Whitaker, president of Putnam County Historical Society.

If interested in contributing to the project, donations can be directed to the Putnam County Historical Society, 327 Old Highway 26, Hennepin, IL 61327 with the note, “steel mill display.”

Ag Open house

The annual Agricultural Museum Open House of the historical society will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, at 501 Old Highway 26, Hennepin.

The society rearranged everything in the museum to open up space, helping with organization, Whitaker said.

“It looks quite different,” he said.

Permanent displays in the museum include agricultural equipment and tools, wildlife, coal mining, early 1900s general store, post office, one-room school, farm kitchen and sitting room.

Military memorabilia have been moved to the Meeting House.

Tractor drive benefits FFA

The Putnam County FFA Alumni will hold a tractor drive before the open house to raise funds for the Bill Biagi Memorial FFA Alumni Scholarship. Registration for the drive will begin at 8:30 a.m. at museum. The tractors will depart at 9:30 a.m. and return at 12:30 p.m. for lunch. Cost of the drive is $40 per tractor. For information on the Tractor Drive, contact Brian Biagi at (815) 252-0474 or

Lunch is served

Everyone is invited to the open house and admission is free. Pork chop and BBQ lunches will be available for purchase at the Meeting House. Pulsifer House will be open for tours. The Agricultural Museum and the Meeting House are handicapped accessible. Pulsifer House (historic house museum built in 1844) will also be open for tours. Pulsifer House is not handicapped accessible.

For more details on the open house, contact Luke Holly at or Sid Whitaker at or (815) 303-5104.

Donations can be sent to 327 Old Highway 26, Hennepin, IL 61327.

Source: News Tribune