Tools of the Trade is a look back to a time when McDonough County was being developed into the communities we know today. Considering the efforts and tools used by the early citizens of the county illustrates the ingenuity, strength, and vision they held. From the courthouse being built to mark the center of the county to the thoughtful layout of the businesses that surround it, decisions have been made to create a beautiful and prosperous region.
The installation of the tools in the exhibit follows the course of constructing a new home and life of the some of the first settlers in the 1830s. From clearing the land to establishing churches and schools you will read first-hand accounts of their efforts. Some of their buildings and homes still stand, marking their time and contributions to McDonough County.
For more information about the development of McDonough County see The History of McDonough County Illinois, 1885, published by the Springfield, Illinois Continental Historical Company.
Thank you to Allan Nemec for allowing us to use his research on the area’s historic homes. See his 2010 book, Macomb Homes with Names, for more information and images of other homes.
Research and installation assistance provided by Anna Bower, Karen Mencel, Daniel Williams, and Spencer Williams.
Line drawings of tools from A Museum of Early American Tools, by Eric Sloane.