Library and museum to host tribute to Elgin historian, former mayor Alft

  • Mike Alft portrays a late 19th-century Elgin mayor at the 2004 Historic Elgin Cemetery Walk at Bluff City Cemetery. The Elgin History Museum and Gail Borden Public Library are celebrating Alft's contributions to the community with a tribute on Saturday.

    Mike Alft portrays a late 19th-century Elgin mayor at the 2004 Historic Elgin Cemetery Walk at Bluff City Cemetery. The Elgin History Museum and Gail Borden Public Library are celebrating Alft's contributions to the community with a tribute on Saturday. Daily Herald file photo

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 6/16/2022 2:34 PM

When longtime Elgin historian E. C. "Mike" Alft died in November at age 96, he left an impressive legacy of historical research that continues to be the basis for most of the Elgin History Museum's exhibits and publications.

The museum and Gail Borden Public Library are hosting a celebration of his life from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the library, 270 N. Grove Ave. in downtown Elgin.

 

Hear folk singer and songwriter Chris Vallillo perform "Abraham Lincoln in Song," a Mike Alft favorite, at 2 p.m. in the Meadows Community Rooms. This performance requires preregistration at gailborden.info.

The Elgin area community and the library benefited immeasurably from Alft's contributions. He served on the library board from 1995 to 2007 and on the library's foundation from 2001-2010.

As a library trustee, Alft was a participant in the planning for the present building and its branch. A staunch supporter of the Freedom to Read and the Library Bill of Rights, he led board discussions when community members questioned particular materials. He also portrayed Gail Borden at numerous library events.

Alft was named an Illinois Library Luminary in recognition of his outstanding voice in the library community.

For four decades, Alft taught economics and civics at Elgin High School until 1994. He also served on the Elgin City Council from 1963 to 1967, then mayor from 1967-71.

A meet-and-greet with Alft's family will be held between 3 and 4 p.m. in the Alft River Room.

A tribute also will be livestreamed at 3:30 p.m. on the library's Facebook Live page.

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