Friends of the Castle annual meeting to discuss support, future
QUINCY — Forty-five years ago, a group of Quincy Jayceettes, made up of wives of members of the Quincy Jaycees, were armed with mops, brooms and buckets as they stormed the castle sitting on the Mississippi River bluffs with the noble intention of cleaning and re-opening the building.
What they found out was a good cleaning was not going to fix the beautiful Villa Kathrine, which had fallen into extensive disrepair.
But instead of throwing in the towel, a new group was formed: The Friends of the Castle. By November 1978, the group was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) and by December of 1979 the Villa Kathrine was listed on the National Register of Historic Places to be protected and begin fund raising for restoration.
Not surprisingly, the group ran into some local business naysayers who did not believe Quincy needed a tourist information center, did not need another place for weddings or events, or the Quincy Convention and Visitors Bureau (QCVB) would not want to locate there.
But the Villa Kathrine was opened in 1987 and now hosts about 1,500 people a year at special events and the QCVB occupied the building, left, and then came back.
More than 5,000 visitors a year stop by the castle and a dedicated group of volunteers keep it open seven days a week.
The Friends of the Castle will celebrate its anniversary on September 19 with the following activities open to the public:
- Building open for free tours all day from 9:00A.M.-5:00P.M.
- Social Hour begins at 5:30 P.M. Light refreshments.
- Ribbon cutting 5:45 P.M. for the new walkway along the back of the Villa Kathrine installed by the Quincy Park District, which maintains the grounds.
- Annual Meeting begins at 6:00P.M. State of the business and Volunteer Honors
Friends of the Castle still needs your support to continue the mission of operating and restoring the Villa Kathrine. They invite you to renew your membership, donate to the endowment or this year include a gift in order to upgrade the group’s Website so more visitors can discover the Villa through social media and attract even more people to the Gem City.
The Quincy Tourist Information Center serves a need for visitors looking for a place to eat, stay and visit and guide them to the museums, eateries, hotels, and events all year long.
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