Chana School Museum seeks donations for $10,000 match

OREGON — Supporters of our local history need to rally for the Chana School Museum. The 1883 Chana School was to be destroyed in 1998. A group of concerned citizens organized a movement to save the structure by moving it to Oregon’s Park East. The schoolhouse was then restored and became an attraction for our rural area.

The Chana School’s unique architecture was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places of America and inducted into an elite category of moved structures in 2005. Only about 1% of all buildings on the National Register of Historic Places have been moved.

The 1883 Chana School stands as an example of rural 1800s education in Illinois. It also represents the results of people from several communities in Ogle County coming together to work for the success of a project that was doomed for destruction.

“American ingenuity” should never be under estimated. School children saw the potential of saving the old building. Their “coins to save the Chana School” were collected and encouraged others to donate money, services, work time and so much more over the years.

The Chana School Foundation was formed by the original volunteer group that saved the building. The foundation continues to support the Chana School Museum through fundraising, grants and donations of money and in-kind donations as well. The Chana School Museum does not receive tax money.

The largest fundraiser is an annual rummage-type sale. This event raises enough money to help maintain the old schoolhouse and historical programs for area communities. This year’s fundraiser will be different in that whatever funds are generated over the course of a period of days will be matched by a generous benefactor up to $10,000.

The Chana School Foundation hopes the area communities will rally once again to support their efforts to save history and promote history to all ages. The event to be held on May 31 and June 1 at the Oregon Coliseum will need items large and small. Volunteers will be needed in setting up for the event, during the sale, and cleaning up after the event.

If you are willing and able, please call 815-732-2447 to volunteer your time to help in this event. Items for the sale may be dropped off on Tuesday, May 28, from 3-7 p.m. and Wednesday, May 29, from 9 a.m. to noon.

If you have questions concerning items, please call Ray at 815-979-2907. We may not be able to take such items as entertainment centers, large appliances, blinds, mattresses and springs, and car seats.

Another way to help in our efforts to reach $10,000 for a maximum match is to donate money to the Chana School Museum, which is a not-for-profit organization. Your donation whether large or small will double with the generous offer of matching funds.

Cash donations may be sent to the Chana School Museum, 201 N. River Road, Oregon IL, 61061. Everything sold at the fundraiser will go into the match of funds as well to support the old schoolhouse. Please call 815-732-2447 if you have any questions.

2024 will mark another amazing year for the Chana School Museum with the communities pulling together to raise a benchmark amount that will bloom with a match of funds up to $10,000. Since the beginning of the Chana School Project the motto for success has been, “if everyone does their small part, then great things will happen.”

Please do your part and support the 1883 Chana School Museum in this year’s campaign to preserve history.

  • Connie Stauffer is a Chana School Museum volunteer.