History of the Lee County Council on Aging
First meeting place of the Lee County Council Of Aging was at Orchard Glen Nursing Home, in May of 1974.
The council was organized by Hazel Weiser-Miller, R.N., and Carrie Kreger-Belcher-Redebaugh, R.N., LNHA- and incorporated on May 14, 1974 – with the help and consultation of Dave Carlson, a field representative from Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging (NIAAA). Janet Ellis was the Director of NIAAA. Hazel and Carrie were both on the NIAAA Board of Directors.
May 14, 1974 -Tom Hoye, President of LCCOA, received a check from Lee County Republican Central Committee.
On November 13, 1975 the Title 7 nutrition program was started at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Richard Schilling, Chair Transportation, Committee started working on getting a senior citizens bus. Under leadership of Joyce Miller, Nutritionist, Meals on Wheels started at KSB Hospital.
Jan 1976- With cooperation of LCCOA, the city of Dixon and Dixon Township, the Drop-In center in Dixon was getting ready to open. Reverend Downing asked for donations of furniture.
In April 1976, Dixon Drop-In Center was opened with an Open House held on May 6, 1976 - at the corner of Galena Avenue and 1st street. Reverend Downing was Chairman of Social Concerns Committee and found the building.
1976- Debby Chamber was the first Coordinator of the Center. Many people volunteered their time, talents, and money. In 1976 Eileen Oester was employed as a full-time paid Executive Director. In August 1976 Chuck Reuter, President, Board of Realtors and Shirley Selgestad, presented $100.00 to the Dixon Drop-In Center. Audrey Koepke, a member of the LCCOA board, accepted the check.
In 1976 Carrie Redebaugh was appointed to the Illinois State Council on Aging on a charter member - at such time Joan Sheridan replaced her on the NIAAA board.
September 30, 1976 –The First Senior Bus arrived; Richard Schilling was the Transportation Chairman. Gertie Burke was the first driver of the senior bus.
In 1977 the Drop-In Center was becoming too small and opportunity to get a bigger building presented itself. In 1978 a $100,000 grant from the federal government, the Illinois Department on Aging and the Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging, was accepted. The LCCOA had to match the grant with 35,000. Jerome Callahan was president of the LCCOA council and chairman of the fund drive.
Through the grant, the lower level was renovated, including making the building accessible. New windows were added and the outside of the building which was painted a light gray, was chemically washed to reveal the stone we see today. They filled in the swimming pool (see picture above) to make the lower level dining room area and a 3-story spiral staircase was removed and in its shaft was placed the current elevator (and now only accesses 2 levels). A new roof was put on the building as well.
On September 21st, 1978 after much volunteer work by many people an “Open House” was held at the new senior center at 100 W. 2nd in the old Post office building (pictured below).
2000 - Present Day
In March 2000 LCCOA started renovating the upstairs Post House. We received $200,000 through the Dept of Commerce and Community Affairs. An additional $100,000 was received from agency fund-raisers and donors.
Today nearly every weekend of the year is booked for special occasions such as weddings, parties, showers, or corporate events. It is a beautiful, classy and set in a historic setting of sheer elegance. Proceeds from the Post House Ballroom go to directly support the services that the Lee County Council on Aging provides.
See some of our renovation pictures and some of today's pictures below.