McLuckie Fossil Collection

I viewed the fossil (also Indian artifact, mineral, sea shell and carved bird statue) collection and museum that was organized/created by John and Lucy McLuckie, in Coal City, Illinois.  My home town.  I had visited this ‘museum’ in June McLuckie’s garage when I was in 5th grade.  Coal City is an old mining town near Morris, Illinois.  Stip mining was the most common type of mining there, and also where John McLuckie worked as a drag line operator.  He started to notice these large roundish rocks that would tumble from his machine’s bucket.  Some would break open, and he discovered that there was fossils inside.  He started by carrying the fossils home in his lunch pail but he soon began to make specific trips to the ‘pits’ and spoil piles (or ‘dumps’) to collect fossils.  No one in this part of the country was finding or collecting fossils at this time (1930’s and on).  After a few years of collecting John and Lucy began to look for help in identifying some the the more elusive fossils.  This led them to the Field Museum in Chicago.  Work quickly spread and researchers, curators and professors were traveling from all over the world to see their collection.  A few of the fern fossils that they found were donated to the Smithsonian were they are still on display.  Other fossils are so rare that they still today get requests to study them.  The amount and depth of information about this collection and John and Lucy’s life is too large to be fully explained here.  The images here are only about half of what I had taken.  June McLuckie is the current caretaker of this collection.  She often displays them at local schools, libraries and museums; with plans for designing a proper museum in her garage or donating them in whole to an institution.

Adam Farcus

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