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Last updated 10:51PM ET
June 22, 2018
WIUM Local
WIUM Local
Open House at Vishnu Springs on Sunday
Marla Vizdal and Roger Viadero at last year's Vishnu Springs open house
(wium) - Last year's open house at the Vishnu Springs site proved to be so popular that organizers will do it again this year.

The open house will take place Sunday, October 17, 10:00am - 4:00pm. If it is raining, the open house will be postponed until the following Sunday, October 24.

There is no cost to attend. The group Friends of Vishnu will accept donations.

Vishnu Springs is located in western McDonough County. It was developed as a health resort in the late 1800s. The name Vishnu comes from the third God of the Hindu Trinity. Vishnu stands for preservation and longevity.

Folklore persists about Vishnu Springs and its founder, Darius Hicks. Organizers of the open house believe those stories are largely responsible for the high level of interest in the site. It's believed as many as 1,500 people attended the first open house last fall.

All that remains of the Vishnu Springs community today is a single building, which was the Capitol Hotel. The building is now surrounded by land that has reverted to its natural form. Water still flows from the spring.

Roger Viadero, Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Western Illinois University, said the land's evolution makes it interesting to researchers.

"The location was developed a little over 100 years ago, it was occupied for a finite period of time, and pretty much went dormant for quite a number of years," Viadero said.

"What we're able to do at this site that we can't do at other sites is actually see how some of the recovery and restoration has occured when nature is left to its own devices. That's definitely a rare set of circumstances."

The site is owned by WIU. It's officially called the Ira and Reatha T. Post Wildlife Sanctuary in honor of the family that once lived there and donated the land to Western.

Viadero called the open house a "tremendous community outreach" by WIU.

The basement of the hotel will be open Sunday. The upper floors are in poor condition and will be closed to the public.

At 1:30pm, Marla Vizdal, co-chair of Friends of Vishnu, will give a brief historical overview and explain the group's activities. Viadero said he will follow that by describing the research being done at the site by WIU.

In addition, displays will be set up in and around the hotel. They will provide information about Vishnu Spring's history and the research being done by WIU.

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