Submitted by scott on

At the height of the Corona Virus lockdowns...

Hi Scott,

Fry's Hall was located in the Fry block at the corner of what is now Stephenson Street and Chicago Avenue in downtown Freeport.  I have attached a photo of it taken around 1892. The building was torn down at some point.

In the 1970 History of Stephenson County, on page 553, it says that an article was written in the Weekly Journal newspaper about the event. -  "Mark Twain drew a good audience to Fry's Hall last Wednesday evening and the dry humor and inimitable drollery of the lecturer kept the audience in a broad grin from the time he commenced till he closed."  The 1970 article goes on to say  his talk, the "Vandal Abroad," covered impressions he was to use in "Innocents Abroad," published the following July.  The newspaper reporter ended the article by saying "The description of the Sphinx, of Venice, and other descriptive passages in the lecture were very fine, and furnish evidence that the author could, if he chose, earn as high a reputation in other fields as he had achieved as a lecturer." 

The microfilm of that paper is held at the Freeport Public Library which is currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.  When it reopens I can get the full transcript for you if you wish.  I don't think that year can be accessed on the online newspaper archives.

That is what I can tell you from my available resources while I am working at home.  If you let me know what other information you may be looking for; I can look through our museum resources when I am in the office later this week (I am working from home a few days a week to minimize my travel to the office). I may or may not be able to find more information there.


Sharon Welton
Executive Director
Stephenson County Historical Museum
1440 S. Carroll Ave.
Freeport, IL 61032

42.2984257, -89.6200368
Site Category
Type of Feedback