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The Staley Museum in Decatur, Illinois

The Staley Museum opened its doors to the public during the summer of 2015. We are excited be a full-fledged member of our community. Here you will find updates and news about the museum and exciting events going on.

The Staley Museum and this web site are both works in progress. We encourage visitors to continue to check back with us and see how we are progressing. We would also like to encourage visitors to the site to share any stories or information they may have regarding Staley history.

Photos, documents, articles and memorabilia are all welcome and appreciated.  Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Staley museum may contact us through via the Artifact Donation Form found on this site. Also, for anyone in our area who wishes to be a Volunteer at the museum and offer their time and/or expertise, please go to the Volunteer Form and fill out your information so that we may contact you personally. We invite you to Contact Us.

Staley Topics

Visit the Staley Museum

The Staley Museum is open year-round
Tuesday – Saturday: 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Last Sunday of the month (March – November): 1:00 – 4:00 pm.

Admission
Adults: $3
17 & under: $1

Location
361 N. College Street
Decatur, IL

The Staley Story

A.E. Staley was a big man with big dreams and had the determination to make those dreams a reality.  Although he did not arrive on the scene until the 1900’s, his impact of Decatur was such that he is counted as one of the founding fathers.  The largeness of his dreams and of his civic minded generosity has contributed in major ways to the city we know today.

It was A.E.’s pioneering vision in the area of soy beans, both the cultivation and processing, that gave Decatur the name “Soy Bean Capitol of the World.”

In the period of one decade, 1920-1930, A.E. Staley made significant contributions to the community of Decatur, being the driving force behind the creation of Lake Decatur, the Staley viaduct, the Staley Office Building, and the formation of the Decatur Staleys football club, later to become the Chicago Bears.

The story of A.E. Staley is one in which the city of Decatur has the right to feel great pride. It is a story which forms a major part in the industrial and agricultural history of central Illinois. We look forward to sharing that pride and history as we work toward the opening of the Staley Museum.

The Staley Office Building: Inaugurated in April, 1930
Also known as “The Castle in the Cornfields”
Photo courtesy of the Hieronymus Mueller Museum

Staley office building

The Staley Office Building: Inaugurated in April, 1930
Also known as “The Castle in the Cornfields”
Photo courtesy of the Hieronymus Mueller Museum

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Our archivist came across this photo today, which was taken September 26, 1941! Exactly 82 years ago!

Pictured in the foreground at the left is Russell Dash. Russell worked for Staley for 45 years, retiring in 1973. He's pictured here using a dictaphone (a voice recording device) and working as superintendent for the order entry for industrial products department.

Pictured in the background at the right is Russell Devore who also worked alongside Russell Dash in the same department.
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September 26th, 2:05 pm
Our archivist came across this photo today, which was taken September 26, 1941! Exactly 82 years ago! 

Pictured in the foreground at the left is Russell Dash. Russell worked for Staley for 45 years, retiring in 1973. Hes pictured here using a dictaphone (a voice recording device) and working as superintendent for the order entry for industrial products department. 

Pictured in the background at the right is Russell Devore who also worked alongside Russell Dash in the same department.

7 CommentsComment on Facebook

Love those beautiful huge antique desks!

Russ was a great guy. He worked with Helen Wangrow, Kathy Reedy, Barb Taylor and Ron McCoy. Their group was very good at what they did. I also recall bowling in the Russ Dash Bowling Tournament.

I love this!

I remember Russ Dash, I started working there in 1966. As a messenger we would deliver mail to each desk. The boxes on each side of the desk were in and out boxes. We would deliver mail and pickup mail. In the early days when it was Staleys it was a fun place to work.

What floor of the building is this?

A can of Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco on his desk by the in/out box closest to camera.

How formal their attire!

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This week’s schedule to see “Fields of Gold” at the Lincoln Square Theater!Another huge crowd on hand this evening for the Sunday matinee showing of ‘Fields of Gold’, A.E. Staley Documentary Presented by Primient! Many Primient employees on hand to see this fabulous documentary that continues to bring in great attendance!

Next up is Night #5 of the theatrical run of the movie this coming Tuesday night Sept 26th. Also scheduled is Night #6 on Thursday Sept 28th & Night #7 on Sept 29th. Doors will open at 6:00 pm with show starting at 7:00 for all showings except on Sunday’s.

We will be releasing the next week of showings including another Sunday matinee this week. Stay tuned and share the schedule as we want as many people as possible to see this amazing documentary! Tickets available at www.Lincolnsquaretheater.com or by calling 217-454-4583
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September 24th, 10:18 pm
This week’s schedule to see “Fields of Gold” at the Lincoln Square Theater!

Take a walk through Decatur and Staley history today, we're open from 1 to 4PM. ... See MoreSee Less

September 24th, 1:00 pm
Take a walk through Decatur and Staley history today, were open from 1 to 4PM.

2 CommentsComment on Facebook

Looks real good

I wish I had remembered!

Did you know?

In March 1940, the Staley company won top honors in the "all American Packaging Competition" for the new design of their syrup cans. The cans featured a pouring spout to avoid sticky spills when pouring the syrup.

Unfortunately, the spouts days were numbered, because by 1942 the US had officially entered the war (WWII) and metals of all kinds were relinquished for use in the war effort.

You can see one of these cans on display in the museum next to the history of Staley Syrup!
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September 22nd, 4:00 pm
Did you know?

In March 1940, the Staley company won top honors in the all American Packaging Competition for the new design of their syrup cans. The cans featured a pouring spout to avoid sticky spills when pouring the syrup. 

Unfortunately, the spouts days were numbered, because by 1942 the US had officially entered the war (WWII) and metals of all kinds were relinquished for use in the war effort. 

You can see one of these cans on display in the museum next to the history of Staley Syrup!

6 CommentsComment on Facebook

My mom kept one of these cans in her collection

One of his many products that he come up with in his lifetime

I refused to eat a waffle or a pancake without Staley Syrup - broke my heart when I could not find it anymore - finally settled on pure maple syrup 🙂

I wish they would have talked more about the products in the movie and not so much about baseball 😉

When did Staleys stop making a lot of these products?

I found a Staley’s cook book at an antique shop up in Wisconsin. Guess who bought it👍?😊

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