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Wabash County Museum
320 N. Market Street
P. O. Box 512
Mt. Carmel, IL
Mt. Carmel has been known as the Little City of Great Music for many years. Other towns in the county also had community bands in late 1800s and early 1900s during music's hey day for local performers when most clubs had a chorus, each city had a performance hall and friends gathered around the piano to sing.
The square grand piano was owned by Sarah Susan Canedy and passed down through her family. She and her daughter both gave piano lessons on it. The victrola at the right belonged to the Zimmerman family and the two tabletop radios were both made by the Meissner Company in Mt. Carmel.
The hammered dulcimer at the left of the photo belonged to the Wirth family and would be in playable condition if it had new strings. It originally had legs. The morning glory horn at the right was the amplifier of sound for the Edison player. This player used wax cylinders to record and play the sound.
These Mt. Carmel High School band, choral and flag team uniforms were all used in the past and are retired styles. The white drum major uniform is in the center. Parts of the uniform on the right were used when the marching band played at Disney World.
One of Mt. Carmel's most famous natives was Brace Bell Beemer, whose father ran a music store on Market Street. This early advertising shows J.D. Beemer and his young son Brace. Brace went on to become a radio announcer and finished his career as The Lone Ranger on Detroit radio station WXYZ.
The player piano at the left opens to insert a piano roll of perforated paper which encoded the song. The person operating the piano will pump the white pedals which in turn operate the roll and make the keys play the correct notes.
The Meissner radio/phonograph was one of the large models made in Mt. Carmel during the late 1940s and 1950s. On top in the open case is a combination radio receiver, record player, sound recorder and public announcement system with microphone. This was also a Meissner's product but was not made locally.
To the left of the manequins are several newspaper clippings which discuss music festivals held in the past. These were multi-day events with bands from several communities which competed and came together for a last day performance at Mt. Carmel High School. The event was sponsored by Meissner's and was held several years. The binder on the reading rail holds copies of photos of the bands, orchestra and chorus from each Mt. Carmel High School year book to the present date.
This section salutes Charles F. Rodgers, radio engineer, who started Wabash County's first AM station, WVMC. The first day of broadcasting was 12-7-1948. He had an illustrious career associated with radio during his short life.
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