MOUNT VERNON — Before there was the Ariel-Foundation Park, before there was PPG, there was Jacob Coxey’s Steel and Silica Sand Company that graced the property that has become a beautiful recreation and entertainment area for the community.

Coxey built his plant with girders salvaged from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Those same girders today dot the landscape around the ruins. Several walls remain from a 1902 brick building constructed as a steel casting plant by Jacob Coxey. Some may remember that Jacob made it into the history books by leading a group of unemployed workers in one of the first protest marches on Washington, D.C., becoming famous as “Coxey’s Army.”

Today, the Chautauqua Series welcomes Perry Brokaw, who will portray Coxey in a first-person living history format at The Grand Hotel, 12 Public Square in downtown Mount Vernon. The series is organized by Elixir Presents on a donation basis for the education, entertainment and benefit of the community and is now in its 12th season as the only year round monthly Chautauqua series in the United States.

The Grand Hotel is accessible to people with special needs. The doors open to the room at 6 p.m., with opening performer Noah Shull performing music from Coxey’s era starting at 7 p.m. Perry Brokaw as Jacob Coxey will start at approximately 7:45 and will take questions immediately after his presentation.

For more information about this program and upcoming presentations, visit



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