Pearl Jamz set to raise funds to restore building in Pike community


PEARL — Eddie Vedder may not be on the bill, but Pearl Jamz 2022 organizers are hoping the event will draw an audience large enough to kick off a campaign to revitalize a historic building in this county community. Pike.

Pearl Jamz is scheduled for August 13 at Pearl Fuel Mart, 14090 Ilinois Route 100. Music will be provided by Whiskey Driven from 2-4 p.m. and Harmony GRITS from 5-7 p.m. Plus, there will be plenty of food and drink and a 50/50 draw.

Patricia Labby and Polly Bugg are the driving force behind Pearl Jamz, which they hope will become a regular occurrence. Initially, they want to use it to raise money to restore the historic Franklin Building and possibly promote Pearl’s business. With a population of less than 150, the village in Pike County takes its name from the pearl buttons drilled into the molds that once lived in the nearby Illinois River.

“We’d like to list the building on the National Register of Historic Places and put a music hall there, and maybe a restaurant down the road,” Bugg said. “Essentially, we’re just trying to make the city work.”

Labby owns Pearl Fuel Mart. She and her husband, Lynn, bought the business in 2021 and had planned to move to Pearl, which they believe is Pike County’s “hidden treasure”. However, Lynn Labby died in March.

“We were moving, but things are changing,” Labby said. “After Lynn’s passing, this project gave me a new direction. I just feel compelled to give something back.”

The new management is to restore the Franklin Building. It was associated with the Pike County Courthouse in Pittsfield because it was designed by the same architect. For many years it was a hardware store, but in recent years it has become a warehouse for the village.

Bugg said they wanted to secure grants and fundraise so the village could find a new place for storage and restoration work on the building could begin.

“It’s kind of run down, so we want to start over,” Labby said. “It will involve demolishing a lot of the interior, but the exterior of the building is something we want to save.”

The women envision a restored Franklin building as a concert hall. They would like it to include an Opry-style restaurant and entertainment, which features live country music.

Bugg and her husband, Everett, a Pearl native, live in Johnson Hollow in Calhoun County but plan to move to Pearl. The Buggs operate the Bugg Family Opry in Hillview.

Pearl Jamz, depending on the success of the former, could evolve into an outdoor concert series this year and beyond. Bugg said that when enough money is raised and the opry begins, they would like to see Pearl Jamz become an annual event.

“Right now we’re just trying to generate some interest,” Bugg said.


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