YouthBuild students lend their talents to Cheney Mansion in Jerseyville

JERSEYVILLE — Students in Lewis and Clark Community College’s YouthBuild program have filled a need for raised garden beds at Cheney Mansion, home of the Jersey County Historical Society.

The garden beds and surrounding fence, which have been constructed from reclaimed wood, will be used to grow heritage produce to demonstrate life in a pioneer kitchen.

YouthBuild construction trainer Greg Echols expressed his pride in the work the students accomplished and the respect they showed to their peers and everyone involved in the project.

“I’m incredibly proud of these students and their hard work on this project,” Echols said. “They worked hard to learn more about the tongue-and-groove method of construction and we were all very happy to help shape the final design at Cheney Mansion.”

According to Beth McGlasson, vice president of the Jersey County Historical Society, the students’ efforts will help the historical society capture the vegetable garden, an essential part of everyday pioneer life.

“We are thrilled to see our pioneering garden taking shape,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without Greg and the YouthBuild students. Our complex, with its one-room schoolhouse, church and log cabins, provides a glimpse of life in the 1880s.”

Jersey County Historical Society volunteer Jim Droste enjoys working with students.

“When I came to the Scott Bibb Center to mentor these students, they all had a great attitude and a strong desire to learn,” he said. “It makes me happy to see this future generation of students wanting to learn these skills.”

Jersey County Historical Society board member Sherrie Droste explained how the garden will be used for purposes other than cooking.

“By growing heirloom vegetables and flowers; plants used for dyes, medicines and laundry; and others, we will be able to offer a practical and accurate representation of early life on the Illinois prairies,” she said.

The Jersey County Historical Society is located at 601 North State Street, Jerseyville. You can visit their website at

To learn more about YouthBuild, contact Sabrina Davis, Director of Adult Education for L&C, Pathway Resource Development, at (618) 468-4141 or [email protected]. On the web, visit

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