Preserving Manteno’s Past
for Manteno’s Future
Preserving Manteno’s Past for Manteno’s Future

Manteno Historical Society

The demolition of the railroad depot on Oak Street was the “last straw” event to prompt Nelda Marr Nusbaum to react to Manteno’s evident lack of concern for its history. After her letter to the Kankakee Daily Journal in 1986 stated that “old things have never been valued in Manteno,” residents were spurred to form an historical society. A tentative executive board was elected and plans were made to incorporate as a not-for-profit organization. The group said its purpose was “to preserve anything pertaining to Manteno’s history and illuminate our little corner of the world.”

Charles Skinner House
The drawing above and on each page is used with permission of local artist Suzanne Smith Pruchnicki. Photos courtesy of Jeff Jarvis.
The society headquartered in the Charles Skinner House, located in the center of Manteno on Third Street, was purchased in 1988 from George Gee. The $40,000 purchase price was paid by the member donations through the generous $20,000 donation from retired school teacher Stella Guimond Crawford.

The opening of the Skinner House as a Museum took place in 1994.  The original first floor of the building has display areas of early 20th century living.  Of special interest is the medical display of items from the offices of Doctors Rouleau, Phipps, Malott, Thomas and Echevarria as well as the Manteno State Hospital.  Articles donated from Dr. Gagnon’s dental office and pharmaceutical items from Hilsenhoff Drug Store are also on display.  The Comstock Room Addition, opened in 2010, includes a commemoration of Manteno war veterans featuring uniforms and memorabilia from WWI to the present.

The restored and rebuilt buggy of Dr. Zephirin Rouleau was donated to the Museum by his grandson, George Rouleau. The buggy is displayed in the glass-sided shelter under the original porte cochere adjacent to the kitchen door on the east side of the Museum.

In 1991 the one-room Bloom School House from Blue Gill Road in Rockville Township was moved to the Museum grounds and restored. Each year the collection of photographs, histories, documents and artifacts continue to be the focus of the Society’s endeavors. Gifts to the Museum are still being accepted.

The Museum and Bloom School House are open the first Saturday of each month from 1:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.


Enacted on November 10, 2016

The mission of the Manteno Historical Society shall be to bring together those people interested in the history of the Manteno and Rockville area; to discover and collect any material which may help to establish or illustrate its history; to provide for the preservation of such material and for its accessibility; and to disseminate historical information and arouse interest in the past.

Manteno Historical Society

1986 marked the founding of the Manteno Historical Society, followed by the purchase of the historic Charles Skinner House which has been converted to The Manteno-Rockville Museum at 192 West Third Street in Manteno, Illinois. 


Free will offering

Museum Information

We're open the first Saturday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. or by appointment.

Museum and Society Offices

192 W 3rd St
Manteno, Illinois
Ph: 815-933-2055

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