Last updated: 4/24/2011
110 S . Main Cross
Carmi, IL 62821
PO Box 121
Carmi, IL 62821
The WCHS was founded in 1957, and established its first museum in Carmi when the Ratcliff Inn was saved from destruction in 1960. Abraham Lincoln stayed in the Inn in 1840, and its original owner served in many county offices from 1818 to 1848.
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency awarded the society a grant in 2001 to replace the heating system, add plate glass windows, and remove soft bricks that were thought to be wicking moisture into the first floor. It turned out that soft bricks were not the major cause of the building's moisture problems, but that the foot of dirt and rubble that had settled on the original stone floor of the Ratcliff basement was causing much of the problem. A channel was dug around the basement with tiling used to draw off wetness. The workers also found a lack of a proper vapor barrier on many interior surfaces of plaster covered bricks. Problems with moisture persist in the building. Lots has changed in Carmi since the Inn was constructed in 1828, including the depth of streets and sidewalks.
The first floor of the museum contains one room with the parlor furniture of Mose and Carrie Day, donated by their daughter Vivian. James Ratcliff's bookcase sets off the front hallway, which has a number of plaques and pictures relating to the museum. The other downstairs room is being used for meetings and events. Upstairs the museum has many artifacts from the past, including Senator James Robinson's cloak, glassware from the Damrom House, firearms, quilts, fans, and a bedroom with rope bed.
The White County Historical Society is again hosting tea parties and tours at the Robinson-Stewart House Museum in Carmi for all the second grade students in the county.
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