The community of Arthur, Illinois has a rich history, some of which has been recorded in the photographs in this collection. The first settlement of Arthur began about 1850. At that time, much of the area was swampland. Amish settlers arrived in 1865 and the Arthur area is now home to the largest Amish settlement in Illinois. In 1870 the railroad was built to go across "The Big Slough", from Paris to Decatur, Illinois and in 1872 the building of Arthur began in earnest. By 1873 there were thirty dwellings in this new town, in addition to a large store, drug store, church, meeting hall, blacksmith shop and three grain offices - all doing business in Arthur.
The photographs in this collection depict everyday sights from the early 1900's to the middle of the century. One interesting series of photographs depicts the paving of Vine Street with brick, at a cost of $30,000 - a considerable sum in 1907. Many of the photographs in this collection are made available through the generosity of Mr. Noel C. Dicks. Mr. Dicks, a local pharmacist and owner of Dick's Pharmacy from 1960 to 1995, began collecting photographs of pharmacists and physicians who had practiced in Arthur. This collection sparked his interest in the history of the town. Due to the contributions of many local people his collection now consists of thousands of photographs, glass negatives, and other items of local interest.
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Materials in this collection are made available by the Arthur Public Library. To order reproductions, or inquire about permissions, contact: Arthur Public Library District, 225 South Walnut, Arthur, IL 61911, (217) 543-2037. Please cite the item title and collection name. Digitization of this collection was developed pursuant to a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, an Office of the Secretary of State using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act .