Service Men’s Snack Bar recreated in Stephenson County Museum program

Online Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — It is an amazing story of a community giving and giving. In the midst of a world war, rationing, wage freezes and the last vestiges of the Great Depression, the people of Freeport and the surrounding communities pulled together over a 15-month period to provide refreshments for some 240,000 service men and women as they passed through town.

The facts and voices behind this incredible story will come to life on the Winneshiek stage Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26 and 27. Performances are at 7 p.m., Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday.

Edward Finch, executive director of the Stephenson County Museum, has created a readers’ theater script from the letters, postcards and record books of Freeport’s “Service Men’s Snack Bar” taken from the archives of the Stephenson County Museum.

This program is part of the “Journey Stories” exhibit now open at Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas St. The Smithsonian developed the traveling exhibit while the Illinois Humanities Council is responsible for the exhibit visiting only six communities in Illinois.

A parallel exhibit relating Stephenson County history to the Smithsonian exhibit has been developed locally. That exhibit looks at three specific ways the railroads were influential in Stephenson County in creating our own “journey stories.” One of the aspects of the railroads was the Service Men’s Snack Bar.

Working in cooperation with Winneshiek Theatre, the program on the Snack Bar will be open to the public free. Attendees are asked to donate a nonperishable food item that will be given to one of the local food pantries. Reservations will not be necessary.

The “Journey Stories” exhibits, which are running in tandem with the One Book/One Freeport program, will remain open until Feb. 16. The only admission fee is a request for a nonperishable food item for a local food pantry. The exhibits are open during regular library hours.

For more information, contact Executive Director Edward Finch at (815) 232-8419.

Posted Jan. 23, 2013

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