A History of Havana
By Matt Meacham
Read Time 2 minutes
January 29, 2024
During the winter and spring of 2023, three University of Chicago students who were participating in a graduate-level public history practicum facilitated by Professor Michael Rossi—Michael Lachenmeyer, Ishan Maunder, and Reed Williams—produced, in collaboration with Illinois Humanities, a research-based audio documentary about Havana, Illinois, where the Havana Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting our Museum on Main Street exhibition, Spark! Places of Innovation.
We invite you to listen as Reed, Ishan, Michael, and residents of Havana share their insights about the community and what makes it a place of innovation, including the remarkable cultural and economic achievements of Indigenous people who lived there in centuries past, as well as present-day Havana’s downtown revitalization initiatives and the activities of the Illinois River Biological Station.
We’re deeply grateful to Ishan, Reed, and Michael for the privilege of working with them and for sharing their excellent final product with us. Our appreciation to Professor Michael Rossi and graduate assistant Julia Rossi for making the project possible. Many thanks, also, to the local coordinators of Spark! and related activities in Havana, April Burgett, and Kim Anderson, as well as Dr. Jim Lamer, the staff of the Illinois River Biological Station, and all of the Havana residents who contributed to the making of this audio documentary. Additionally, we thank Edward David Anderson for providing the music included in it, an excerpt from his original composition, “Still the River.”
Note: April Burgett, who is the business manager at the Illinois River Biological Station as well as the president of the Havana Area Chamber of Commerce, assures us that no fish are harmed by the electrofishing process. The staff of the Biological Station are careful to conduct their fish monitoring procedures humanely with environmental safety procedures in place.
For more on Havana and Spark!, read "Possibility and Purpose in Havana, Illinois."
Spark! Places of Innovation is presented in partnership with the Havana Area Chamber of Commerce, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and Illinois Humanities. Spark! is on display through February 17, 2024, at the Havana City Center.