Farm Collector

Move From Arcola to Jerseyville A Great Success!

Co-Sponsor Jersey County Victorian Festival, 1510 North State
Street Jerseyville, Illinois 62052

For 16 years the Douglas County Historical Steam Festival was
held near Arcola, Illinois. This fine family-oriented festival was
held on just 10 acres which surrounded a beautiful 1873 Victorian
home built by Jacob R. Moore. The Festival became so popular that
spectators could not park even close to the festival site. Many
spectators chose to park along busy State Route 133. Thank goodness
only minor fender-benders occurred. Shortly after the 1993 Festival
it was evident that additional acreage could not be purchased
adjacent to the home we had lived in and restored for twenty years.
We made one of the most difficult decisions, as a family, we have
ever made. We would relocate. Our many exhibitors and supporters
were notified of our decision and the search began for a new
festival site in the summer of 1994. The next two years would be a
true test of the strength of our family and friends.

We received a call from one of our friends, a Civil War
reenactor, Gene Cameron. Gene told us about a lovely brick
Victorian home near Jerseyville that looked deserted. We talked to
the grandson of the man who had built the home and yes, it was for
sale. We purchased the home and 60 acres, with many trees, a stream
and plenty of parking and camping space. A festival site we had
only dreamed of!

We have always stressed history and education in our festival
activities. When we learned the history of this beautiful 1866
home, we knew we had made a wise decision. The home was built by a
Confederate colonel and his wife, one year after the Civil War
ended. Colonel William Fulkerson and Cornelia Russell Fulkerson
moved from Rogersville, Tennessee, to Jerseyville because there
were limited opportunities in the South, and the Russells owned
property in St. Louis and Illinois. They became very successful in
this area as cattle breeders, and ‘Hazel Dell’ was built to
entertain the cattle buyers and to hold social gatherings for the
townspeople. A young boy by the name of Charles M. Russell came
often to visit his Aunt Fulkerson. Charles learned to ride at Hazel
Dell under the watchful eye of the Colonel, and developed a love of
horses. Largely self-taught, Russell is now considered by many to
be America’s greatest Western artist. There is much more
history to share, and a brochure on the home and the farm is now in
the planning stages.

Andy Craig, Vandalia, IL, ‘steams up’ the 20 HP Canadian
Reeves at the Jersey County Victorian Festival last Labor Day

After some renovation and restoration work, the move from the
Moore home in Arcola to Jerseyville began. Then the machinery. We
lost track of the number of loads. The steam engines were the most
difficult to relocate, especially the Case with the dual wheels.
Duane Selby, of Sullivan, Illinois, made many trips to Jerseyville
and was invaluable in our relocation efforts. Our mothers and
fathers, sisters and brother were all behind us 100 percent,
encouraging and assisting us in this very difficult move, 140 miles
one way.

The festival grounds needed much work also: fencing taken up,
barbed wire removed, trees trimmed, ground leveled, and electrical
outlets installed. Our electrical genius, Lloyd Dean of Arthur,
Illinois, who also happens to collect gas engines, installed heavy
duty electrical boxes all over the festival grounds with all wiring
underground. Lloyd assures us there will never be a problem with
this set-up!

As time grew closer to Labor Day Weekend and our first festival
here in our new location, we all took the approach of
‘what’s done is done, and the rest will have to wait the
Festival will go on!’

And that it did! We had marvelous weather and a great crowd. We
have met many wonderful people, some new exhibitors who really take
pride in sharing their tractors and engines with others. Mark and
Lawrence Berkel of Alton, Illinois, made special efforts to be of
assistance to us and made us feel welcome to the area. A dinner
held on Sunday night for all our exhibitors was a great success and
could not have been successful if it had not been for the local
support we received. All segments of the Festival were successful.
Andy Craig of Vandalia, Illinois, was the engineer for the Reeves
steam engine and plowed up a storm. We need more engineers with
Andy’s knowledge of steam. The crowd’s appreciation was

Ken Wise of Whitehall, Illinois, plowed with his draft horses,
and the kids loved the potato plowing and picking up the freshly
plowed potatoes. The Civil War Reenactment and encampments
stressing living history were well received and enjoyed, as well as
the old-time piano playing and entertainment by the band. Several
of our food vendors from the Arcola area joined us, but the
majority of the vendors were local churches and organizations. The
food was delicious with a great variety to choose from. Sutlers,
antiques, arts and crafts dealers gave the spectators a good
selection of goods to buy, and several raffles were held for a
tractor and fire engine by organizations.

The death of a festival The Douglas County Historical Steam
Festival, Arcolahas paved the way for the birth of this great new
Festival the Jersey County Victorian Festival! The Festival is
sponsored by a not-for-profit corporation, Historical Steam and
Living History. The Jersey County Victorian Festival will be held
every Labor Day Weekend, Saturday through Monday, two miles north
of Jerseyville, Illinois, on Route 267, on the 60 acre farm known
as ”Hazel Dell.” We know you will enjoy touring
the lovely Fulkerson home, taking a step back in time, and learning
‘a little bit’ of history.

  • Published on Sep 1, 1997
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