Dell’Era History

Dell’era was platted as a new town October 18, 1910 in the northwest quarter of section 4, Herrin Township, Louis Dell’Era and Paul D. Herrin developed sixteen acres of the land they bought from Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wilson along the right of way deeded to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad.

Freeman Spur Google ViewSeveral towns, Freeman, Dillard, and Franklin were started about the same time, all to house the miners who worked at Possum Ridge, or Taylor 5. An election was held April 12, 1913 and the name Freeman Spur decided on for this community of many towns.

Louis Dell’Era (1866-1914) was born near Milan, Italy. During this two year enlistment in the engineer corps of the Italian army he was the beginning of that first disastrous campaign in Abyssinia that ended in the bloody defeat at Adowa, never forgotten until the king of Italy could also sign himself emperor of Ethiopia. Before the Italians met the cannibals at Adowa,

Private Dell’Era completed his enlistment and several contracts as a railroad engineer in the Congo and In Salonika. His ambitions turned to the new world, and in 1896 he arrived in Murphysboro.

Two years later the new city of Herrin attracted him. First he opened a saloon, then dealt in real estate, and with Joseph Berra as partner built several business houses, including the European Hotel and the opera house.

Columbus day, the anniversary of the new world’s discovery by an Italian sailor, seemed to Mr. Dell’Era a fitting occasion for Americans of Italian ancestry to honor their two countries. As president of the Lombardo Society he organized an annual festival and pageant contrasting the colorful customs of Old Italy with the progress her sons made in a new America. 

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)