The Lewis University Canal and Regional History Special Collection was dedicated in honor of a husband and wife that contributed much to the preservation of their hometown of Lockport. The Lewis University History Center: Urban, Cultural and Catholic History of the Upper Midwest hosted a celebration unveiling the “The Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection” Oct. 1 on the Romeoville main campus.“This family has provided local and regional leadership and we hope to use their efforts as a model for us as this collection continues to growth in the future,” commented Dr. Dennis H. Cremin, director of the history center.
The collection contains more than 10,000 items; including books, manuscripts, photographs, and maps relating to the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the areas, towns, and activities it influenced in Illinois. The collection also features material about other American canals in the 19th and 20th centuries. This photograph collection is the largest existing pictorial record of the history of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. John Lamb is the director of the collection and more information about the collection is available at www.lewisu.edu/historycenter.
Brother James Gaffney, FSC, president of Lewis University, presented the honor to Jerry Adelmann and Joan Morrison, two of the Adelmann’s four children. Dennis H. Cremin, director of the history center and assistant professor of history, and Mary Hollerich, library director, also applauded the Adelmann family and their contributions to preserving local history.
On behalf of the family, Jerry expressed his gratitude to Lewis University as well as his appreciation for the recognition for his parents’ contributions. Jerry also announced that he would begin to donate his Lockport photographic collection, which features many 19th century images, to the collection now named in honor of his parents. The Adelmann family members are descendents of the first permanent settlers of Homer Township.
Prior to his death in 2008, Howard J. Adelmann made various outstanding contributions to his community. He served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II and founded the Lockport Oil Company in 1958. He sold the business in 1977. Howard also was one of the founders of the Bank of Lockport, which is now Harris Bank. He served as chairman of the bank’s board for many years.
In 1999, he purchased and restored the Adelmann Block Building, which had been built by his grandfather a century earlier. Howard was instrumental in preserving Lockport’s historic Central School, which currently houses City Hall, the Lockport Township Offices, and Park District facility. The former trustee of the Lockport Townships Fire and Lockport Park District was also influential in restoring the Old Congregational Church as the Gladys Fox Museum.
Lois also shared her husband’s passion for preserving the past. The avid gardener had an extensive antique collection. She also enhanced interest in local and regional history over several years as contributing member to the Will County Historical Society.
A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The 10th largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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