Professor to introduce tornado research

Alex Seidler, Staff Reporter

William Lovekamp, an associate professor of sociology, will be presenting his research during an event called “Coles Co. & the 1917 Tornado” Sunday as part of the Five Mile House Foundation open house.

This event is the last open house of the calendar year for the Five Mile House Foundation. According to the website, the house is one of the earliest standing structures in Coles County.

Program director Dick Hummel said the purpose of this event is to promote the history of the house.

“We’re just hoping to promote the local history to people,” Hummel said. “That’s why we do these activities, so we can bring a lot of people here so we can educate them about it.”

Lovekamp will be displaying his research on the 1917 tornado to those in attendance at the historical county landmark.

He said he has been researching the tornado for a long time and this will be his first time presenting his research.

While this is Lovekamp’s first time presenting, he has attended other activities that the Five Mile House hosted in the past. Lovekamp said the event will be more casual and laidback as opposed to formal.

“I have a couple of letters and pictures, and I’m going to talk about what I have so far with my research,” Lovekamp said.

Lovekamp said if anyone has any pictures or stories of their own about the event through family or friends, he would be interested in letting them share.

The purpose of the presentation is to retell the story, remember the people who lost their lives and remember the event, Lovekamp said.

“I hope people will come away with knowledge of the event,” Lovekamp said. “It was one of the worst tornados that occurred in Illinois and it killed about 100 people.”

Mackville, a bluegrass/gospel band, will perform their music at the event along with the presentation.

The group has performed in other events around Charleston with the most recent one on Aug. 5 in Kiwanis Park.

Mike Waddell, banjo player for Mackville, said their band has played about five times at the Five Mile House and he hopes to entertain people with their music.

“We are 90 percent gospel with a little mix of bluegrass, and we’re strong on vocal harmony,” Waddell said.


Alex Seidler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]