In 1891, the Air Line Railroad established a stop for travelers that became known as Albers Station, and so begins the history of Clinton County’s youngest community.
The village of Albers is finalizing the details for “Albers125,” a quasquicentennial celebration for the town’s 125th birthday set for Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5 at Lehrter Park, formerly Albers Jaycees Park.
The celebration actually kicks off on Friday evening, June 3 with the Patriot Guard and Freedom Riders escorting the 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit into town. Following a short program, concession stands will open and music will be provided by Livewire.
Saturday’s festivities start with a 5K/1 Mile Fun Run at 9 a.m. In addition to the 9/11 mobile exhibit, highlights of the weekend include a parade at 3 p.m. on Saturday featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales, Tribout rides and games along with rock climbing, trampoline bungee jumping and pony rides, a military appreciation ceremony, a car and tractor show and musical entertainment by The Jorrells, Dirty Muggs Band, the Scott Air Force Base Roots in Blue Band and Jimmy & the Parrots and Bobby & the Buzzards.
The $10,000 raffle drawing and beard judging contest will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
(See next week’s Journal for a full list of scheduled events).
Before the celebration begins, let’s take a look back at the town’s rich history and a few of the folks who made it all possible.
A walk back in time
The settlement of the area that was to be Albers took its first step when a railroad line known as the Air Line was constructed in 1889. In 1891, the railroad built a small depot on the road to Damiansville, naming it Damiansville Station for the citizens it served. The name of the station was later changed to Albers Station in honor of F.H. Albers who donated the land for the switches and the depot.
Only five houses stood close to the depot and it was not until after 1900 that families began to settle in the area. On Jan. 30, 1901, the F.H. Albers Subdivision, consisting of four blocks just north of the railroad station, was platted and filed at the Clinton County Courthouse in Carlyle. On Jan. 3, 1908, the town of Tonnies was platted by Henry Tonnies. It was filed at Carlyle on Jan. 8, 1908, consisting of 12 blocks, northwest of the Albers subdivision.
Possibly more than any other man, Henry Tonnies was a catalyst in the early development of Albers or “Tonnies” as the town was called for a short time.
At the age of 29, he started a small store of his own and bought wheat for the Germantown mill. In 1892, the Southern Railroad Co. appointed him ticket, freight and express agent. Along with the office of postmaster to which he was appointed in 1893, Tonnies began the regularity of mill shipping and put Albers on the map.
However, the town was still in desperate need of business. In order to attract such business, Tonnies and Anton Stroot started a saw mill and connected it with a feed and corn meal mill and a hydraulic press.
In 1905 Tonnies was elected highway commissioner, a position he held for six years. During that time the first rock road was built in the area. He also was instrumental in telephone service being routed from Albers to Damiansville and New Baden.
Through Tonnies’ efforts, the construction of St. Bernard Catholic Church was initiated and completed. In fact, he and his wife Elizabeth donated the land for both the church and the school.
The first settlers entered the Albers area in the early 1840s. They came from Hanover and Westphalia, Germany. As Catholics, they traveled to Germantown for religious service. In the early 1860s, new churches in Damiansville and Aviston brought services closer to many settlers, but numerous creeks and branches made travel very difficult.
In 1908 a congregation was formed at what was then referred to as Albers Station. Pastor Bernard Peters made immediate plans to construct a church to serve the 44 Catholic families assigned to the new parish. The cornerstone of St. Bernard Church was laid on Sept. 2, 1908.
Albers grew substantially in the following years. By 1912, the small town of 175 people contained three general stores, a hardware store, a creamery, a saw mill, three saloons, a barber shop, a butcher shop, an elevator, a lumber yard, a blacksmith and a livery stable.
In response to the amount of business being conducted in the prosperous little community, a private bank was opened in 1916. This private enterprise became a state bank in 1921, and, in 1933, after President Franklin Roosevelt declared a four-day banking holiday that shut down the banking system, the People’s Bank of Albers was one of only four Clinton County banks which were allowed to reopen.
In the years following this early growth a number of other businesses were established including the Superflash Battery Company in 1918. In later years, the name of this battery manufacturing firm was changed to the U.S. Battery Exchange and was operated in connection with a mail order house.
Albers, throughout its history, has often been referred to as “the biggest little town in Illinois,” a tribute to the amount of business it did in comparison to its size, both in terms of population and area.
Albers was incorporated into a village in July 1954. The first Village Board meeting was held at St. Bernard’s School Hall in August 1954. The first village officials included Alois Johnson, president; Leroy Hustedde, vice president; and trustees Anthony Dulle, Norbert Fuehne, John Kuhl, Fred Markus, Linus Meier and Henry Netemeyer. At that first meeting, Edgar Netemeyer was appointed village treasurer.
With the opening of Interstate 64 and the construction of Monterey Coal Mine #2 in the mid-1970s, the village began to experience increased growth. To address this growth, the Village Planning and Zoning Commission was created in April 1976.
Now 125 years later, it is the town’s rich history and German heritage that the current citizens of Albers are celebrating, and they invite you to celebrate the historical weekend with them.
For more information on the Albers125 kickoff festivities, visit albers125.com or search Albers125 on Facebook.
A teenager survived a crash that killed both of her parents following a three-vehicle accident Saturday night on state Route 127 at Tamalco Road in Bond County.
Illinois State Police and the Bond County Coroner’s office are still working to determine what caused the fatal accident.
Husband and wife, Michael Lee Marshall, 36, and Shelly D. Marshall, 38, both of rural Keyesport, were pronounced dead at the scene at 9:22 p.m. on May 21 by Bond County Coroner Anthony Brooks.
Their daughter, a 16-year-old passenger, was pulled from the truck by four men who passed by prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.
According to the Illinois State Police, the Marshalls, driving a 1989 Ford truck, were stopped at the intersection facing southbound on Route 127 with their turn signal on when their vehicle was rear-ended by a 2009 Nissan Versa. The impact forced Marshall’s truck into the oncoming lane where it was struck head-on by a third vehicle, a 2013 Ford Expedition.
The Marshall truck then ran off the roadway, into a ditch and burst into flames.
According to police, the Marshalls were both wearing their seat belts and no airbags were deployed at the time of the crash.
Four men who happened upon the accident pulled the 16-year-old female from the vehicle and attempted to get to the other two, but the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames at the time and they were unable to rescue them.
Tyler Kruep said that he, his father Dale, his brother Zach and cousin Cole all came upon the accident on their way home from Indianapolis for the qualifying of the Indy 500. The first thing they saw was a big cloud of smoke ahead on the roadway.
“As we got closer, we saw a truck on fire and we stopped to help,” Tyler Kruep, 23, of Breese said.
The four reached the truck and saw that the back window of the regular cab truck was shattered. Kruep said he saw someone moving around in the truck. The individual was in the middle, sandwiched between the two people who were not moving.
“I put my focus on her and we were able to pull her out,” Kruep said. They carried her away from the crash scene alongside the road.
He said that an off-duty deputy from the Bond County Sheriff’s Department happened to be passing by and saw the accident and assisted with the crash.
The Marshall family has hailed the Good Samaritans who helped save their family member as “angels,” according to the crowdsourcing site, Go Fund Me, Kruep humbly said that there were others who also assisted in the accident who have not received enough credit, including a group of ladies from Sesser who came from a cheerleading competition, who had a blanket and kept the female talking when emergency personnel showed up.
In addition, he said that a man from Greenville helped the juvenile onto a stretcher and others had assisted with the other vehicles.
Keyesport and Greenville firefighters extricated two people from the other vehicles involved and ARCH helicopters transported the juvenile and the male who drove the Versa to St. Louis area hospitals and another person was airlifted to a Springfield, Illinois hospital.
The teen was listed in serious condition, the driver of the Nissan Versa had serious injuries and the passenger in the Ford Expedition was listed in serious/critical condition.
State police said that a portion of Route 127 was closed until after 3 a.m. Sunday morning for accident reconstruction. The crash remains under investigation.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be made according to the teenager’s release date from the hospital.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up for the Marshalls for burial expenses. For more information or to donate to the family, go to https://www.gofundme.com/25jy2pw.
Two men are currently in the Clinton County Jail on separate sexual abuse charges.
Gary E. Wintermann, 49, of Breese and Nathaniel L. Burlingame, 38, of Centralia were each charged last Friday in Clinton County Circuit Court with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim.
Court documents, filed May 20, state that Wintermann was charged with Class 2 felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse. According to the document, on May 19, Wintermann allegedly committed an act of sexual misconduct to a person at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age and that he was at least five years older than the juvenile.
It was reported that Wintermann called 9-1-1 himself after the mother of a 16-year-old male juvenile saw her son getting out of Wintermann’s car. Police said Wintermann had picked up the juvenile as he was walking from his mother’s home to a friend’s house. Wintermann reportedly knew both the victim and his mother.
Wintermann has been a registered sex offender since 2007 following a Marion County conviction for sexual exploitation of a child. In 2004, he was also convicted of exploitation of a sexual act in Clinton County.
His bail was set at $30,000. If he were to post bond, 10 percent of that amount would apply, or $3,000. In addition, if he were to post bond, special conditions of his release would apply, including not having any contact with the alleged victims or anyone under the age of 18.
An oral motion for a recognizance bond was denied and public defender Stewart Freeman was appointed to represent Wintermann. He has since entered a plea of not guilty.
Wintermann is scheduled to appear in court this Wednesday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
Wamac Police was the agency that responded to the alleged incident.
A second alleged sexual abuse incident was reported later that evening in Wamac.
Nathaniel Burlingame was charged Friday in Clinton County Court with Class X felony home invasion; Class 1 felony residential burglary; four counts of Class 2 felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under the age of 13; and a Class 4 felony criminal trespass to a residence with someone present.
According to reports, Burlingame was reportedly intoxicated, when around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday night, May 19, he allegedly entered his neighbor’s home uninvited and went to the bedroom of the neighbor’s juvenile daughter where he was allegedly found fondling the girl and himself.
The girl’s mother and another neighbor reportedly ran Burlingame out of the house and he was ultimately arrested by Centralia police who responded to the call for Wamac, which was ultimately in charge of the investigation.
Burlingame’s bail was set at $50,000. If he were to post bond, 10 percent of that amount would apply, or $5,000. If he were to post bond, special conditions of his release would apply, including not having any contact with the alleged victims, anyone under the age of 18, or entering the Brookside Trailer Park.
Burlingame was currently on probation after he was convicted this past October of aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon on a person in Marion County.
Public defender Stewart Freeman was appointed to represent Burlingame, although he told the court he intends to hire his own attorney. He has also entered a plea of not guilty.
Burlingame is next scheduled to appear in court this Wednesday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
|Fri., May 20||446.01|
|Sun., May 22||445.89|
|Tues., May 22