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Noose removed from exhibit at Historic Jail Museum

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Charlie Birger Gallows

BENTON (WSIL) -- The Historic Jail Museum in Benton, has modified one of its prominent historical exhibits.

The noose, and wooden cross members above it, were removed from the gallows outside the museum.

The replica gallows commemorates the hanging of bootlegger Charlie Birger, the last public hanging in Illinois.

President of the Franklin County Historic Preservation Society Robert Rea says the group decided to remove the fixture prior to a Black Lives Matter rally near the museum. He says they wanted to avoid sending the wrong message to those who may be unfamiliar with the history behind the exhibit.

"The gallows was just put up, and used for a hanging. It was here for just a few days. Perhaps, go to a theme where it's under construction, have pieces of lumber, and perhaps not go back to the noose just because of the symbol that it is today," said Rea.

Rea says because the gallows were only built for the hanging of Charlie Birger, many of the remaining photos are of it under construction.

He says it may return to that state, so the museum can portray the event in a different way.

John Ross

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