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ASH Visits Bishop Hill

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ASH VP Dan Mieszala and the Swedish elves

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Bishop Hill's "Goat-man" dances with ASH


History Students Visit Bishop Hill Historic Sites

Dec 8, 2008

Eleven members of the Associated Students of History, led by their Faculty Advisor, Dr. Jennifer McNabb, and their President, Abby Lagemann, spend Sunday, December 7 visiting the historic community of Bishop Hill, Illinois, where they encountered both Swedish elves and a traditional Swedish goat-man.

The group, accompanied by Dr. Ginny Boynton, Interim Chair of the History Department, met with Mike Wendel, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association's Administrator, for a guided walking tour of the historic sites in the town, which was founded as a utopian community in the 1840s by Swedish immigrants seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity.

Although the state government has closed, for budgetary reasons, several of the state-operated buildings, including the historic Colony Church and the Bishop Hill Museum, which houses the paintings of Olaf Krans, the group was able to visit other historic buildings in the town, including the extensive museum in the Colony Steeple Building and the National Archive of the Vasa Order of America, a Swedish American Fraternal Organization. At the latter, the students met with the archivist, Dr. Lars Jenner, to learn more about his work and about the collections on Swedish immigration and the Bishop Hill colony that are kept at the Vasa Archives. They also toured the museum at the Vasa Archives, which holds many possibilities, both in the archives and the museum, for student research into the history of Swedish immigrants in America and Swedish fraternal societies since the mid-nineteenth century.

The group rounded out their visit with a fine meal at the Red Oak Luncheonbord, visits to several gift shops with historical items for sale, and a visit to the "Chocolate Walk" that is part of Bishop Hill's "Julmarknad" (Christmas Market) celebration.

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