|Old Six Mile Historical Society
On May 18, 1981 the Six Mile Historical Society was founded. The purpose of this group is to preserve
local history by promoting and maintaining a museum; by encouraging historical research; and by
preserving records and items of historical interest.
The Emmert-Zippel farmhouse, located at 3279 Maryville Road, is being preserved as a museum and is the
oldest structure in Granite City. Built in 1837 by William Emmert, with additions made in 1848, it was sold to
August Zippel in 1884. One hundred years later, the Old Six Mile Historical Society purchased the property
to house many items of local history which needed to be protected and displayed.
In 1996 the Emmert-Zippel house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its
architecture. The house itself is in an I-house style that became popular in the mid 1800’s. It was a
simple, rectangular, side-gabled, two-story house that was two rooms wide and one room deep. While
many of the homes built in this style have lost their historic architectural integrity, the Old Six Mile Museum
remains close to its original form.
The Old Six Mile Historical Society held many events at the museum over the years. Apple Butter was
made, piano recitals were given on the back porch, along with car and craft shows.
Unfortunately, as the founding members passed away, interest in the society and museum also slipped
away. For years the house was pretty much abandoned until Jim Engelke, son of Georgia Engelke a
founding member, decided to try and find interest once again.
Jim’s first goal was to earn money to pay for the upkeep of the museum and grounds. He did this by
starting a community garden in 2012. The first year he started small and as the years passed he
continually added to it. The Rotary Club in Granite City became involved and thanks to their monetary
and voluntary contributions the garden became a success.
During the summer fruits and vegetables are sold off a trailer on an honor system. We have many people
that have come to look forward to our fresh vegetables. This summer corn, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers,
potatoes, onions and cabbage were sold on the stand. We have a wonderful group of volunteers that
come out almost daily and help.
The spring of 2012 the Old Six Mile Community Garden started a Junior Garden Club. Students from
Worthen School would come over and learn about the ins and outs of growing a garden. In 2013 5th
grade students came and planted the rose bushes that are now seen around the museum grounds.
In April of 2013 Julie McKinney added some bee hives to the garden. She had been keeping hives at her
house for about 6 years when her husband decided she had had too many. She met Jim Engelke at the
garden and asked if he would be interested in having some hives on the property. Of course he said yes
with much enthusiasm. The bees have been quite successful and for the past two years Julie has sold her
honey at the museum and garden stand.
Currently there is a small group of dedicated volunteers who are committed to getting the Old Six Mile
Historical Society back to its former glory. In 2015 a Vendor Fair was put on by the society. We had bands
and craft booths and it was a huge success. December 5, 2015 a Christmas Open House is planned.
|Jim Engelke Cooking Apple Butter
|Georgia & Wilbur Engelke, Elmer Stille at the purchase
of the Zippel House
|Peeling apples for apple butter
|Piano recital on the porch
|Piano recital on the porch
|Receiving historical marker
|Six Mile Museum receiving their historical marker