A Glimpse of The Past

| March/April 1976

What started out as a building to house antique cars has transformed into an unusual museum for Jasper County.

Kennedy's Museum, located on the west edge of Newton by Illinois Route 33, features a varied collection of cars, trucks, tractors, hand tools and horse-drawn farm machinery. There's even an old depot with a caboose, as well as a log barn, one-room country school-house and the furnishings from the Rose Hill Post Office.

The man behind the whole thing is Lexie E. Kennedy, who is in the grain elevator business with his father and brother. A member of Newton-based Norris Electric Co-operative, Kennedy conceived the idea for a museum nearly 20 years after purchasing his first antique car - a 1915 Model T Ford, the oldest in his collection.

'Since buying that first car,' Kennedy commented, 'I've added one after another until it reached the point where I needed additional storage space.

'In the back of our minds we had thought about taking some of our farmland and developing a residential area for about 30 homes. And adjacent to the house we planned on having the museum.'

But it's turned out to be a bigger project. Kennedy's idea has mushroomed into one beyond belief. People will stop by while passing through Newton to inquire about the museum; others will have information on additional antique items which may be for sale.