Anna man’s unique creations bring history to life
Jerry Meyer of Anna has donated two models of former depots in Anna to the Jonesboro Library.
Anna has had two depots. The first one was built in the 1800s and was on East Vienna Street facing Davie Street. The second was built in 1923 on West Vienna Street.
Both depots were called the Illinois Central Railroad Station.
The second Anna depot was named in honor of John J. Pelley, an Anna native who became president of the National Railroad Association.
The Jonesboro Library will be auctioning the models separately in a silent auction planned Oct. 13-14 at the Jonesboro ColorFest celebration.
The event is from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The silent auction will close at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14. The models will be on display at the library until ColorFest.
Meyer began making models in 2006, when his help was requested by his granddaughter to construct a doll house. Then, another granddaughter asked the same favor.
Meyer and his wife, Mary Ellen, attend Harvest Church in Anna. A woman at their church requested a model of a barn.
As of today, Meyer has made 108 barn models, and 90 percent of them have been donated to support charitable causes, including Bethany Village, PAWS and the Illinois Veterans Home in Anna.
“That is a heart-warmer for me,” Meyer said about the barn he created and donated to the veterans home.
Veterans who live there sit beside it, often for hours, and talk about it and their childhoods, Meyer shared.
He said the models “are conversation pieces to bring back memories.”
Meyer uses donated scrap material for the majority of his projects.
He said he always places a note on his models that they are not a toy and they do not belong outdoors.
Without pictures, Meyer would not be able to recreate the models of historic buildings.
“All of my resources come from the community, and I thank them for their resources,” Meyer said.
Between the two models he’s donated to the library, he has put in 80 man hours.
Several pieces are handmade, including the windows and doors. Because there are flowers seen in one of the photos, Meyer painted flowers in some of the windows.
Meyer has also created a model of the Jonesboro Library and that is currently on display.