The owners of The Delavan Times in Delavan, Illinois have established a non-profit entitled Friends of the Hometown News, Inc. for the purpose of creating a museum that will illustrate the historic contributions of small newspapers in Central Illinois, inform the community about the responsibility of newspapers in a democracy, serve as a resource for citizens seeking to learn more about government transparency, and sponsor events for youth intended to stimulate thoughtful discussion of civics-related topics like the First Amendment.
The museum will be housed within an existing building at 314 South Locust Street originally constructed in 1890 as a one-story structure for The Delavan Times with a second floor added about 1891. It seems one primary purpose of the structure was always the office and printing press for The Delavan Times which was started in 1874 as well as a post office; it is believed the second level was always intended to be an apartment.
Phase 1 of the project will establish a design from which to tackle fundraising for the museum. The owner’s first grant came from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the amount of $5,000.00 from their Kohler Intervention Fund and the Daniel K. Thorne Intervention Fund; the grant was matched by the owners in order to have $10,000.00 working toward Phase 1 planning. The owners will be seeking additional grant dollars, will investigate accessing a local TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District, and will use the Phase I design drawings to seek donations.
The design will be of a mixed-use structure accommodating the working office for The Delavan Times, the museum, and an apartment. The intent would be for the project to achieve one of the four levels of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.