At the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, we do not like to toot our own horn so many of you might not be aware that the BHHA is 60 years old this year. In the fall of 1962, a small group of Colony descendants met to preserve the rich history of the Bishop Hill Colonists and began to acquire threatened Colony buildings. The founders were: Ron Nelson (President), John W. Bogren (V.P.), Merrill Nystrom (Secretary), Berenice Florine (Treasurer), Janet Nystrom, Frieda Boland, Mrs. William Henry, Gilbert Swanson, George Swank, Reynolds Everett, Sr., and Sam Mendel.
The following is a brief timeline of the major building acquisitions of the Heritage:
1963 – Steeple Building; BHHA museum, offices, and archives.
1966 –Colony Blacksmith Shop; houses craftspeople, artisans, and antiques.
1969 –Colony Store; now the BHHA gift shop, a major source of renovation revenue.
1971 –Cobbler Shop, now an art studio.
1976 –Colony Hospital (now in private ownership)
1976 –Poppy Barn (now in private ownership)
1985 –Colony Dairy Building; education center, photography studio and apartment
1987 –Colony Apartment House (now in private ownership)
2011 –Albert Krans Livery Stable; second BHHA museum.
2016 –Colony Carpenter Shop; now a gift shop, apartment, and U.S. Post Office
2017- Spets Stuga; children pioneer playhouse
Of course, the above is only a partial list of all the things that the Heritage has done. Over the decades, the BHHA has conducted tours, organized festivals, hosted lectures/workshops, created exhibitions, conducted research, and the list goes on and on. It is our hope that we will continue to serve Bishop Hill for the next sixty years and beyond. Thank you to all our supporters who have helped us preserved the heritage and legacy of the Bishop Hill Colony!