Tag Archives: Cullom

It’s been awhile…

It’s been awhile…

Don’t you hate politicians who say one thing before an election and do something else after?  Me too!  I was sworn into office as Village President April 23rd.  Since then we have held two Regular Board Meetings, and five Special Board Meetings.  Not bad for the first two months    Oh wait… this does not include a bid opening, a few committee meetings, and spending every Wednesday evening at the Village Office.  This Board has been busy!

My point in telling you all this is to let you know, I have not had the time to do much writing or keep everyone up-to-date as promised.  So… I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what we have been up to on the Cullom Village Board.

You may or may not know… Cullom needs a new well.  Our Well #2 on North Hickory Street completed in 1947 is deteriorating.  We found out about this late last year.  Currently, it is pumping about 40 gallons per minute… it should be closer to 100 gallons per minute. Don’t panic… we do have two wells, Well #3 which is okay, however, it does take both wells to provide all the water the village uses. So you know, there had been a Well #1 which was abandoned years ago.

After investigation it was determined the location of Well #2 is not on Village property. It was decided it was not a good idea to be spending money it will take to dig a new well and not have it on property the Village owned.  Property was purchased on North Ash Street next to Regency Woodworking, the old building was demolished and trees removed.  In the future, there will be plenty of room for a new water tower on this property if needed.

Negotiations with Ameren have been finalized to bring power to the new well site, and the permit from the EPA has been received.  The bid opening will be July 2nd for digging the new well and new water line.  Our intention is to award the contracts on or about July 9th

Whew… made me tired just writing all this…Yet, we have also been actively working on updating the waaaay out-of-date ordinances, acquiring a new auditor, contemplating 2013 street repairs, town maintenance, appropriations, water bills, barking dogs, homeowner’s lawn upkeep… and going after unlicensed, abandoned vehicles next!

The bad news is we had one board member resign, Paul Flessner.  He will be greatly missed.  The good news, Brad Wallrich will be appointed as our new trustee at the regular scheduled board meeting July 23rd.

You will start to see notices around town about conserving water.  With the condition of our well, it is important everyone needs to be using water responsibly.

Also, to give everyone a head’s up… Frontier Communications will shortly be bringing in a fiber optic cable.  Village right-of-ways on East Hack, North Hickory, East Jeffery and North Oak are going to be affected.

I will try to do better in the future keeping everyone up-to-date. If you have questions you can leave a message at 815.689.2160, contact me by email villageofcullom@gmail.com, or I am at the Village Office every Wednesday 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Oh yes… I do have a job, and those pesky kids of mine… always want to eat and complain when there isn’t any food in the house and the laundry isn’t done.  I’m a Mom too… sometimes I need to remember to keep everything in perspective! 

Later… Barbara


My thoughts before the election…


Barbara.at.computer          In Illinois, Tuesday April 9th is the day that is called the Consolidated Election.  No, there will not be any national candidates to vote for, but every election is important.  This one is no different.  I trust every registered voter will take the opportunity to elect your local governments and school boards.

          I would like to say a few words about being a candidate for Mayor of Cullom.  It was a difficult decision, a responsibility I do not take lightly.  It is not something I thought I would aspire to, the desire I have for tackling this challenge was never a life-long dream.  However, I am willing to try and do my best.  That said…

          First, I would like to make clear I do not have any harsh words to say about our current mayor.  She originally asked me to serve as a Trustee to fill a vacant position on the board.  I find Marge Kross an inspirational role model.  She has done a great job and has served our community well.

          My primary goal is to advance the use of the technology available to engage as many people as I can in community issues.  There are changes I would like to implement to achieve this goal with board approval.

                   Summaries of Agendas and Minutes posted online, and newspapers

                    Dedicated Internet page where questions can be answered publicly

                     Dedicated Email for more private questions and answers

                    Village office hours to change ~ from Saturdays to Wednesday afternoon/evening

                    I will be available most days in my business office 9:00 am – 3:00 pm  or, by appointment

                    Implement a phone alert calling system, used for important announcements or warnings

          As each of us faces difficult times in our personal finances, the Village is no different.  Due to the diligence of the current mayor and trustees, the Village is financially stable.  Taxes have not been raised.  I will, with the help of the trustees do my best to keep Cullom a viable community and work not to increase taxes.

          Water is the highest priority.  In my opinion, one of the foremost responsibilities of the Village Board is to provide clean and safe water.  Again, thanks to the care of previous boards, we are fortunate as a community to have an abundance of some of the best water in the area.  Again, I will not neglect this priority.

          I believe this gives you a preview of some of my positions if I were to be elected Mayor.  I expect these to be some of the most important issues.  If there are any questions you would like me to answer, please do not hesitate to ask.  Most generally, you can find me at my office 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.  I also have a dedicated email address for this purpose: Barbarahahn2013@gmail.com  I will try and answer your concerns in a timely manner.

          I want to encourage everyone to take an interest in our community. I know the job of mayor will not be easy.  I know I have a lot to learn.  I know I will make mistakes.  I respectfully ask for your support and your vote on April 9th.

Later… Barbara

p.s.  In case you heard any rumors like… ‘If elected, I will ban eating ice-cream cones on alternate Sundays when temperatures are below 50 degrees’, or any other such preposterous and ridiculous rumors… They Are False… Ask me first!

Happy Birthday Dad

My Dad and me in 1959

My Dad and me in 1959

Today my Dad, Robert Hahn would have been 76. This photograph was taken in March 1959 at my Grandfather’s farm.  Later that summer he and Mom would start HAHN INDUSTRIES. Knowing the creative thinker he was I have to believe while he was shoveling corn this day he was thinking about what he could do to provide for his young family.

I often have to repeat the story when a customer ask me how the business started; each time I say how proud I am of my parents.  They had four kids by the time they were twenty-one, had one unfortunately die, and started a business, I frankly don’t know how they managed.  As Mom states, “and… we didn’t have disposable diapers.”

They worked and lived the American Dream!

Happy Birthday Dad

Photo taken in front of a picture of the business.  Sometime in the 1980's.  He is holding the first mold he started HAHN INDUSTRIES with, I'm holding the chick.  One of my favorite photographs!

Photo taken in front of a picture of the business in Cullom, IL. He is holding the first mold he bought for HAHN INDUSTRIES, I’m holding the chick. One of my favorite photographs!

Later… Barbara

Find out what’s going on in Cullom


I’ve got a new addition to my site.  If you look over on the right side column you will see a link to the Cullom, Illinois web site. A great place to find out about our town, check it out.  Judy Ehlers does a fine job keeping it up-to-date.

For now, I’ve added a few more older photographs you might find of interest.

The photograph of a bird’s eye view is taken from the water tower looking east. The area in the center with the trees is where the park is today.

The photograph of the Train Depot isn’t the best, but I love the smoke coming from the train engine.

The photographs of Hack <Main> Street were taken in 1954.

The older photograph of Hack <Main> Street, a poor picture, but notice the horse and buggies.

Tile Factory, is where our Pit is today.

Hope you enjoy them!  Again, you should check out Cullom’s Web Site!

Later… Barbara

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A small town boy who found a book ~ Arnold Beckman


Arnold Beckman’s 7 Rules for Living

1)  Absolute integrity in everything

2)  There is no satisfactory subsitute for excellence

3)  Moderation in everything, including moderation

4)  Hire the best people, then get out of the their way

5)  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; if you’re not making mistakes you’re probably not doing very much

6)  Acquire new knowledge, and always ask ‘why’

7)  Don’t take yourself too seriously

Headstone Located In West Lawn Cemetery
Cullom, Illinois <click on image to enlarge>

The unassuming headstone for Arnold & Mable Beckman is located in West Lawn Cemetery in Cullom.  Arnold Orville Beckman was born in Cullom, IL in 1900, the son of the local blacksmith, George Beckman and his wife Elizabeth Jewkes.  In 1925 Arnold married Mabel Meinzer.

In 1909, Arnold  Beckman found an old dusty science book in the attic of his parent’s  home, Steel’s Fourteen Weeks in Chemistry He studied this book and his curiosity and passion for science began.  At the age of eleven, Arnold helped his father convert on old tool shed in back of the house for a place to work on his experiments, buying chemicals he needed from the local drugstore.  One of his first experiments was to measure the butterfat content of raw milk for a local dairy.  <Due to the close proximity, I wonder if it might have been for my Great-grandfather Hahn’s dairy>  His mother died when he was twelve and he and his father moved to Bloomington, IL where Arnold completed his education taking university level chemistry classes at University High School in Normal, IL.  He went on to study at the University of Illinois and Cal Tech.

In 1935 to help a friend from the California Fruit Growers Association, Beckman developed what he called an ‘acidimeter’, to test the pH factor of lemons.  When other fruit growers requested the same piece of equipment, Beckman saw the potential and started the National Technical Laboratories to manufacture the devices.

Arnold Beckman is shown with an “acidimeter the first pH meter”

Today, his invention is known as the ‘pH meter’.   It quickly became an indispensable tool in analytical chemistry and earned Mr. Beckman in 1987 a place in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  In 1988 he was awarded the National Medal of Technology for outstanding technological contributions to the United States.  

Mable, President Reagan, & Dr. Beckman

He was also nationally recognized under the Reagan administration with the 1989 Presidential Citizens Medal for his exemplary deeds of service.  In 1991 he was awarded ‘The Order of Lincoln’ from the State of Illinois.  These are just a few of the honors Beckman received in his lifetime, not bad for a boy from a small town with humble beginnings.

Dr. Beckman with his Son and President George H.W. Bush

In 1942 The U.S. Government hires Beckman to produce Infrared Spectrophotometers for the war effort.  He also develops Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer which was later used in molecular biology, to probe the nature of DNA.

By 1950 he changed his company’s name to Beckman Instruments.  The product line for his company included electrical resistors, radar equipment, micro circuitry, heart monitors, and liquid crystal digital displays.  One invention which became an industry standard were Beckman’s oxygen meters used in incubators for premature babies, helping to prevent retina damage and blindness in newborns.

Always on the cutting edge of innovation and science, in 1955 Beckman provided seed money to William Shockley the founder of Shockley Semiconductor in Palo Alto, CA.   An entire microchip industry grew, establishing Silicon Valley as one of the world’s top centers of innovation. This company was one of the first Silicon Valley businesses, and later was absorbed into Beckman Industries. 

Arnold & Mable Beckman

1977 saw the establishment of the Arnold and Mable Beckman Foundation.  The Foundation has donated over $400 million to advance science, medicine, engineering, and education.

“The past years have been rewarding for me in many ways,” said Dr. Beckman, during the Golden Anniversary celebration for Beckman Instruments, Inc. “Perhaps the greatest reward is the knowledge that Beckman products have contributed and are contributing to the benefit of mankind.”

All this from a boy in a small town who found a book…

Later… Barbara

California Institute of Technology
Beckman Institute for the Chemical & Biological Science

University of Illinois at Urbana
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology

Beckman Center for Molecular & Genetic Medicine

City of Hope
Beckman Research Institute

Beckman Laser Institute
for Advanced Science & Technology

Beckman Memorial Library
Main Street Cullom, IL

Cullom, Illinois ~ Agriculture, Celebrations & Balloons


Before the arrival of the settlers in the early 1800’s this area was covered in prairie grasses as tall as a man, with an abundance of deer, wolves and rattlesnakes.  As kids we would search for arrow heads in the freshly plowed fields of dirt the color of coal.  I imagined we were in old Indian hunting grounds, since Indian villages were said to be located in surrounding areas.

In 1878 a railroad was built which went through present day Cullom and a post office was established the same year.  The name came from Illinois Governor, Shelby Cullom.  <To my knowledge, a governor in Illinois who didn’t serve time in prison!> Technically, Cullom is a village not a town and was incorporated in 1882.

I thought I would take some time over the next few weeks and introduce you to my small town.  Located in Central Illinois, smack dab in the middle of some of the most flat, fertile, farm land in the mid-west.  Agriculture plays a vital role in our economy.  Surrounded by soybean and corn fields, don’t blink as you drive through, you might miss us.

Grain Storage Bin

Our main business district is one block long, no stoplights needed.  The grain storage bins loom over the town like skyscrapers.  The only traffic jams will be the line of tractors with wagons and semi-trucks hauling grain to town and then shipped out by rail.  On crisp fall days, the background music is the hum coming from the grain dryers signaling another successful harvest.

The closest fast food restaurant, movie theater, and big box store is twenty miles away, and within a couple hours you can be in downtown Chicago.  


It is not exactly known when Cullom had it’s first balloon ascension, but it was reported one went up in 1898.  Every August Cullom has a Homecoming Celebration.  It grew out of a celebration started by the St. John’s Catholic Church in 1889.  It eventually turned into a community affair, people from surrounding towns would return to town to visit with family and friends.  The balloon ascension became a part of this tradition.  It is said the only times the balloon didn’t go up in August was during World War II or if bad weather would prevent it.  Some even say Cullom holds the distinction of having the longest continuous annual balloon ascension in the United States.

Balloon Ascension Every August
During Cullom Homecoming Celebration

The early days had smoke filled balloons, it would be an afternoon affair watching the balloon being filled with the black smoke. The balloonist would take the balloon up and parachute from a rig hanging below the balloon.  Most years, the second Thursday in August is when the Celebration with a balloon ascension begins.  It has turned into a three day and night party, with a livestock and domestic arts fair, and flower show.  The addition of a fireworks display on Saturday night caps off the festivities.  Today, people visit with friends and neighbors as the modern balloons are filled in a matter of minutes.  The official start of the Homecoming Celebration wouldn’t be complete without the Cullom Balloon Ascension!

I’ve got some more old photographs and stories, stay tuned…

Later… Barbara

Starting in the afternoon people would gather to watch as the fire was built and the black balloon would be filled with smoke.

A photograph of one of the old smoke balloons

Cullom Homecoming Celebration 1909                       ~ everyone dressed up for the occasion!

An early photograph of Cullom’s Rail Station              ~ the trees in the background are where the    Village Park is today

Cullom Post Office in 1900 located on what is now Maple Street ~ notice the mud street

I Believe in Magic


Years ago, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a group of computer gurus at a convention in Las Vegas.        <Talk about being intimidated> anyway there I was, able to listen in on conversations about the future of technology.  Obviously, I had nothing to contribute; I had only recently learned how to run a Macintosh Computer. Although fascinating,  most of what I was hearing was beyond my comprehension.

However, there was one conversation I have never forgotten.  I heard a statement, I’ll paraphrase…                              ‘if we compare where we are today with computers to the motion picture industry; we are now at the stage of silent films’ ~ Sherwin Gooch This was in 1991.  What a remarkable prediction!

I think about the changes I have witnessed these past twenty-one years!  Star Trek and the Jetsons are no longer only science fiction.  In my mind I can compare it to how my Grandparents must have felt seeing the change from horses, to automobiles, to flying machines, to sitting in their living rooms watching men walk on the moon.  It excites me to imagine how my grandchildren will be living in the future.

I ask you to look around your own life.  How many toys, gadgets, appliances, phones, music, automobiles… <the list goes on and on>…  involve some sort of computing technology?  Most were not available twenty years ago, some not even ten.  Computers are shrinking a big universe we happen to occupy.

Let me give you a few examples of what is happening now which only makes me believe good things will continue to happen in the future…                

My cousin Michael Johnson <MRJ STUDIOS> is in ‘Time Shifting Echoes’      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0alQeKHkdZE  15 musicians, 28 instruments, 14 different languages come together to create this amazing video.  Every contributor used their own home equipment to film and record.  Take the time to watch and listen to the entire video…  I get goosebumps every time I see it.  You will see and hear the future of music.

The blog you are reading now has had visitors besides the U.S. also from Canada, France, Japan, Norway, and Republic of Korea <I find this incredible> I’m sitting at my kitchen table in Cullom, Illinois.

How many people do you know have a Star Trek communicator?  <Oops, I mean smart phone>

Children don’t use black boards in school, they have ‘Smart Boards’.

An Uncle has an implanted defibrillator that sends reports to his doctor, it saved his life.  The advancements in medical technologies boggles my mind.

A Global Positioning System can direct me from Point A to Point B, and tell me how long it will take to get there.

Video games so realistic, I can be fooled into thinking I’m seeing something live, not a game.

Athletic shoes with a component able to download and analyze your running and jumping skills.

Humans have the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere.  As I write this someone is communicating with a robot on Mars.

To me, it all sounds like magic!

An example using a 3D Scanner and Printer.   The model on the left, reproduction on the right.

I just became aware of three-dimensional scanning and printing.  It is predicted it will have just as significant impact on the future as the printing press did in the 1450’s or the steam engine in 1750.  I don’t fully understand it… however, I like to think what my future grandchildren will be doing with such technology.

I find it fun to believe in and imagine the future.  I guess in the same way I believe in magic.  I don’t have to fully understand something to know somehow it is possible.

I also believe we are beyond the silent movie analogy, and have moved to talking pictures although, still in black and white.  One only has to wonder what it will be like when we reach the full technicolor stage.  It’s going to be magical.

This is fantastic… I just got notified, I can send a message to the future… I think I might have to try it out. <JFGI> It’s true!

<I will always believe and so should you>

Later… Barbara