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States - Illinois
 

Arlington Heights, Illinois: A Brief History

 

For all its progress and feats of rebirth, Arlington Heights is still a small town in the fabric of the nation.  But in that smallness lies its greatest strength.  The village of Arlington Heights--beginning with the diligence and fortitude of William Dunton--is replete with stories of bitter hardship and exalting triumph.  Originally named Dunton after its founder, the village's success was sealed by canny deal-making that brought a railroad through the middle of town.  As the state of Illinois boomed, the village on the tracks flourished with agriculture, industry, transportation and an expanding population.  From the influx of immigrants and industry to the resurrection of Arlington Park Racetrack, this is the compelling history of a small agricultural village's transformation into a thriving commercial district in which small-town charm and an industrious spirit coexist.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 154 pgs.

Price:  $19.95                                                                                                 

 

Around Shabbona, by Nancy Fleming Pardridge 

 

Nestled on the southern edge of the timber, the town that Shabbona would become grew rapidly but then slowed by not having a railroad. John Ray, John Palm, and Charles Stevens made an agreement with F.E. Hinckley, president of the Chicago & Iowa Railroad, for the purpose of locating the depot and suitable sidetracks in exchange for eight acres of land. John Palm generously gave the undivided one-half interest in 40 acres of land for a village plat besides giving the right-of-way through 160 acres to the railroad company. His gift to the railroad was double that of any other individual and was the means of inducing others to give. He also gave away a number of lots to encourage the growth and settlement of the village. 

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 

Price:  $21.00

 

 

Berwyn,  by Douglas Deuchler

 

Eight miles west of downtown Chicago sits a suburb with a rich, vibrant history.  Berwyn began in the 19th century as two separate communities with vast stretches of marshland and farmland between.  By the early 1900s, this booming municipality successfully kept industry at bay while remaining a strictly residential development.  As thousands of bungalows were constructed in the 1920s, the “City of Homes,” as it was known, became the fastest-growing community in the United States.  For many generations, the suburb has attracted hard-working people who take pride in their homes and exemplify the fulfillment of the American Dream.  Explore Berwyn’s unique blend of big city appeal and small town charm with journalist/historian Douglas Deuchler. Over 230 photographs reflect the strength and energy that have been Berwyn’s hallmark from the beginning. The majority of these historic images have never before been published.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price:  $19.95 

 

Cicero Revisited,  by Douglas Deuchler

 

Strategically located seven miles west of Chicago’s Loop, multifaceted Cicero is one of the oldest and largest municipalities in Illinois.  In the late 19th century, this unique industrial suburb developed as an ethnic patchwork of self-sufficient immigrant neighborhoods.  Since the Roaring Twenties, when mobster kingpin Al Capone set up shop there, the town has often been characterized by corruption and controversy.  Yet the Cicero story continues to be full of promise and adventure, vision and accomplishment.  As its population has shifted from heavily eastern European to predominantly Hispanic, Cicero remains a vibrant community where residents maintain strong civic pride, work ethic, and family values.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     

Price:  $19.95

 

Des Plaines,  by David Whittingham 

 

In the 1830s, settlers established a community of farms along the Des Plaines River, initially naming the town Rand for the influential pioneer Socrates Rand.  In the 1850s, the Chicago and North Western Railway ran tracks from Chicago to Cary, Illinois, building a station at the Des Plaines River to provide water for steam engines.  The station was named Des Plaines, and the community incorporated as Des Plaines in 1869.  The railroad brought prosperity, as visitors from Chicago flocked to Des Plaines to fish and swim in the river.  Businesses sprang up to serve tourists and new residents, campers congregated at the Methodist campgrounds, and bands played at Northwestern Park.  Farms supplied Chicago with produce and flowers.  After World War II, houses sprouted in place of farms as the population burgeoned, turning Des Plaines into the modern suburb it is today.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.   

Price:  $21.00

 

Downtown Naperville,  by Joni Hirsch Blackman

 

Downtown Naperville is a place unlike many others because of its long, wonderful history and contemporary success.  More than just a central business district, downtown Naperville is a beloved asset to many residents and gives Illinois' fourth-largest city a small-town feel. What began in the mid-1800s as a service center for an agrarian community 30 miles from Chicago has become a shopping and social hot spot of Chicago's western suburbs and a potent draw for new residents.  Many of the same buildings settlers built remain, but downtown Naperville has changed in many ways.  Businesses have come and gone.  The community's dedication to building the Riverwalk in 1981 sparked a resurgence of Naperville's quaint and celebrated downtown.  At about the eve of the new millennium, a new era began for the town.  Through photographs of each stage of downtown Naperville's vibrant history, see the area change from 1831 through the 20th century to today.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.

Price:  $21.00 

 

Elk Grove Village,  by Nancy Colby and Kelly Behnke

 
Prior to 1956, the area now known as Elk Grove Village was a massive cornfield a few miles northwest of Chicago.  On July 17, 1956, Elk Grove Village was incorporated as a village, with a population totaling all of 116.  Since that time, the growth of the village can only be described as phenomenal.  Over 50 years, the village has dramatically changed since those early days of cornfields.  The name Elk Grove Village was adopted from the great number of elk that roamed through the fenced-in portion of Busse Woods, along Arlington Heights Road, south of the Northwest Tollway.  The authors, both long-time residents, present a vivid history of the birth and growth of a region that American Indians in the area once called Wapiti, meaning “elk.”  
 
Softcover, 6 x  9, 128 pgs.     
Price:  $19.95
 

Franklin Park,  by Daniel B. Pritchett and Amanda Helen Schmitt

 
The Treaty of Prairie du Chein, which relocated the Potawatomi Indians and other local tribes west of the Mississippi River, created opportunities for settlement along the Des Plaines River.  Several families began to farm on land purchased from Claude La Framboise, Alexander Robinson, and the State of Illinois.  The totality of this land extended from Irving Park Road to Grand Avenue and west to Mannheim Road.  The confluence of the first two railroads constructed in this area after the Civil War attracted a developer named Lesser Franklin.  The German immigrant purchased and subdivided four farms and subsequently began the configuration of a village.  Franklin Park was incorporated in 1892.  The succeeding 50 years, showcased by two world wars and the Great Depression, shaped this town into the fourth-largest industrial community in Illinois, a title it still holds today.
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price:  $19.95
 

Freeport,  compiled by The Journal-Standard

 

A bold and daring folk flocked into the Freeport region about 180 years ago, itching to establish themselves.  A mixed ethnicity hauled in with it a diversity of skills and burning ambition.  The broad influence of the settlers’ European ethics—hard work, frugality, and faith—ha s persisted through Freeport’s maturity.  The vast number of innovative industries, coupled with a passion for education and the finer things of life—not to mention a zest for plain old fun—all testify to the city’s colorful past.  Freeport industries have infiltrated world markets with name brands in windmills, engines, automobiles, tires, batteries, switches, beers, toys, patent medicines, household furnishings, and animal feeds, to name a few. Something is always going on in Freeport.  Fueling this are a community college, vibrant public and parochial school systems, churches, service organizations, and a network for artistic tastes with museums, community theater, and concert series.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price:  $21.00
 

 

Giant City State Park,  by Karen Sisulak Binder

 

Anyone wanting to understand how Giant City State Park in rural Makanda earned its name need only hike on the Giant City Nature Trail.  Here they walk through the park's namesake rock formations, carved 20,000 years ago by the melting waters of a Pleistocene glacier that stopped a mere 1.5 miles from the park.  Yet it wasn't until 1933 to 1941, when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) operated its three work camps, that man blazed his most notable trail in the park's history.  The CCC's work since then has been enjoyed by millions of park visitors to its stone picnic shelters, trails throughout the park, and the massive Giant City Lodge.  A newspaper journalist and a sixth-generation direct descendent of one of Makanda's founding families, author Karen Sisulak Binder has tapped local, state, and national sources to amass this unique historical collection. 

 

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    

Price:  $21.00

 

The Village of Hoffman Estates 

 

Established in 1955 by home builder and entrepreneur Jack Hoffman and incorporated in 1959, the village of Hoffman Estates has flourished into one of the largest suburbs in Northeast Illinois.  In this commemorative history celebrating fifty years of the village, Cheryl Lemus uncovers the un ique character and spirit that emerged as Hoffman Estates grew from an isolated farmland where residents woke to the sounds of cows mooing into a modern vibrant suburb with a strong business and residential community.  What started out as a typical neighborhood development has today blossomed into an atypical suburb, defying stereotypical expectations and conventions.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 156 pgs.

Price:  $21.00                                                                                                    

 
Lake Bluff,  by Lyndon Jensen and Kathleen O'Hara
 
The shores of Lake Michigan, with towering bluffs and heavily wooded ravines, have attracted many to Lake Bluff during the past two centuries.  The Potawatomis were the first to come, using the ravines for their tribal council meetings.  The German and Irish came in the 1830s, drawn by the cheap land prices.  The 1870s brought the Methodists.  Seeing the beauty of the lake and the ravines, they purchased 200 acres and formed the Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association.  The summer chautauqua brought thousands of visitors every year to its quaint cottages and hotels. It was in Lake Bluff that Frances Willard, president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, brought together other temperance leaders to form the National Prohibition Party, which led to the ill-fated 18th Amendment.  Over the years, Lake Bluff has retained its charming cottages and tree-lined village streets.  It remains today a picturesque and historic northern suburb of Chicago, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan. 
 
Softcover, 6 x  9, 128 pgs.     
Price:  $19.95
 

Lombard's Lilac Time,  pepared by Lombard Historical Society

 

Lombard has been called the "Lilac Village" since the late 1920s when William R. Plum, affectionately known as the "Colonel," bestowed his world-renowned lilac collection to the village for use as its first public park.  Colonel Plum's 2.5-acre estate was known as Lilacia and began in 1911 after a trip to the Lemoine Lilac Gardens in France.  By the time Plum passed away in 1927, he had amassed over 200 varieties of lilacs and had the largest collection of French hybrids in the world.  Jens Jensen, the famous landscape architect, designed a public space out of Plum's lilac collection with winding paths of native limestone, tulips by the thousands, and a lily pond in the park.  The first community-wide Lilac Festival was held in May of 1930, unveiling Jensen's Lilacia, and including a Lilac Queen and Court, a pageant, parade, and a wide variety of events and festivities celebrating the village's new park.  From its collection of photographs and memorabilia from the annual Lilac Time events, the Lombard Historical Society has selected images from the first 50 years of Lilac Time for all to enjoy.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.       

Price:  $21.00

 

Lost Mount Prospect,  by Gavin W. Kleespies  

 

Mount Prospect dates back to the 1840s.  Few of today’s residents are aware of the village’s fascinating legacy as an immigrant community, an ambitious small town, an early progressive suburb, and a classic postwar community.  Much of Mount Prospect’s past has been overshadowed by the incredibly rapid development of the past half century.  The population of Mount Prospect in 1950 was around 4,000.  By 1960 it was almost 19,000, and today it approaches 60,000.  This amazingly rapid development fundamentally changed how Mount Prospect saw itself and redefined the community’s landscape.  Many of the older buildings were demolished to make way for new developments or were modernized and are now hard to identify.  The farms and early industries were replaced with houses and shopping areas.  By the time this rapid development was over, it was hard to see what had been here before.  Lost Mount Prospect is an examination of this history, a look at the village through the lens of what no longer exists.   

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     

Price:  $19.95

 

Maywood,  by Douglas Deuchler 

 

Ten Miles west of Chicago on the west bank of the Des Plaines River sits Maywood, a village that was founded in 1869 by seven New England businessmen who established the Maywood Land Company.  This prairie community, carefully laid out along the railroad, experienced a population boom after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  Soon industry arrived, followed by a variety of ethnic groups.  Maywood was one of the few early suburban communities with an African-American neighborhood.  Explore the fascinating history of Maywood, Illinois, with author Douglas Deuchler, a journalist, playwright, and historian who taught in the community for 34 years.  Maywood transports readers back in time to meet the people and visit the places that provide the town with its unique heritage.  

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    

Price:  $21.00 

 

 

Melrose Park,  by Fidencio Marbella & Margaret Flanagan

 

Originally founded by German immigrants, followed by successive waves of Lithuanians, Italians, and Hispanics, Melrose Park has undergone a series of transformations since its incorporation in 1882.  Its proximity to Chicago and the coming of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad ensured that Melrose Park became a center for manufacturing and heavy industry.  Major companies including Benjamin Moore, International Harvester, and the National Malleable Castings Company built plants here, and the town was also known as the headquarters for Polk Brothers.  Entertainment and leisure activities have been an important part of life in Melrose Park too.  Kiddieland Amusement Park was built in 1929, quickly becoming a popular destination for Chicago area families, and the town was also home to classic movie theaters, the North Avenue Rollerway, and the Come Back Inn, a popular local restaurant.  The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a cherished Melrose Park event that has been celebrated annually since 1894.  With over 200 vintage images—including scenes from the devastating 1920 Palm Sunday twister—this book provides a vivid illustration of the evolution of Melrose Park over the past century plus. 

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price:  $21.00

 

Morton Grove,  by Mary Busch & Tim Mayse-Lillig

 

This visual journey documents people, places, and events that shaped Morton Grove before and after its incorporation in 1895.  The town’s history holds stories of American Indian villages, European settlement, and diverse ethnic groups.  Following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, early settlers generated energy by damming the nearby river to power Miller's Mill and harvested timber from the rich woodlands.  Fertile prairie soils attracted truck farmers in the 1840s, and the floral industry boomed once tracks were laid for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company in 1872.  This whistle stop, named for Levi Parsons Morton, an official of the railroad and vice president of the United States from 1889 to 1893 under Benjamin Harrison, became known for its pickle companies, prize-winning roses, airfields, and roadhouses.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.

Price:  $21.00                                                      

 
 
Oak Park, Illinois: Continuity and Change,  by David M. Sokol
 
Immediately west of Chicago, where the Eisenhower Expressway narrows, sits Oak Park, a village proud of its rich tradition of cultural and social diversity.  This birthplace of Ernest Hemingway and Doris Humphrey, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and Edgar Rice Burroughs, is a cultural Mecca in the Midwest, with an internationally recognized reputation for its impressive array of architecture.  From Victorian mansions and Neo-classical structures to Prairie School buildings and exciting contemporary architecture, Oak Park is more than just a successful residential suburb of Chicago.  While the faces of its most famous citizens are recognizable, it is the creativity of its people and the beauty of its built environment that make this community  unique.  Here author David Sokol explores the way the Village has continuously adapted to a changing world, while maintaining the principles and drive that have always made Oak Park an exciting place to live and visit.

 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price:  $21.00
 
Park Ridge,  by David Barnes 
 
In 1835, immigrants began to arrive from New York and New England to the area first called Pennyville, later renamed Brickton to reflect its leading industry, then finally incorporated as the Village of Park Ridge in 1873.  The name originates from the village's park-like setting and an erroneous belief that the ridge at Johnston's Circle¾ today the three-way intersection of Touhy, Prospect, and Northwest Highway¾ was the highest point in Cook County.  Notable names associated with Park Ridge include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actor Harrison Ford, who both attended Maine East High School; Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo, who operated a popular pizzeria in town; and painter Grant Wood, whose American Gothic is one of the 20th century's great works of Americana.  Anchored by the landmark Pickwick Theater, a fine example of art deco architecture built in 1928, downtown Park Ridge has changed much over the years, a transformation captured so well in the pages of this book.
 
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.  
Price:  $21.00
 

It Didn't Play in Peoria: Missed Chances of a Middle American Town

 

“Will it play in Peoria?” was an old Vaudeville phrase meaning, “Will it appeal to the average person?”  The Illinois city has gained fame through the years, but more often as the butt of jokes or as an example of the typical Middle American town than through any recognition of its many accomplishments.  But it had greatness in its grasp, and more than once.  Peoria boasts a string of close brushes with prosperity, any one of which could have made it a Chicago or a St. Louis.  Charles Lindbergh, for example, first approached Peoria for backing for his historic flight, but the town’s moneymen refused him and his Spirit of Peoria, perhaps losing a chance at the airline industry as well.  Authors Greg Wahl and Charles Bobbitt, both long-time Peoria residents, explore the city’s history from this unique perspective of missed chances, lost causes, and plain bad luck—a cautionary tale of Middle America.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 160 pgs.    

Price:  $21.00

 

 

Springfield: A Reflection in Photography,  by Edward J. Russo, Curtis R. Mann, Melinda D. Garvert

 
Springfield: A Reflection in Photography is a photo album of Springfield scenes from the late 19th through the mid 20th centuries-a nostalgic look back at everyday life in the capital city.  Local people are seen at work, at play and socializing. Iron workers, construction crews and munitions makers show us the gritty, tiring work of a community and emphasize the man and animal power once common in industry.  There are social changes as well, like the coming of women to the workplace.  Shirtwaisted ladies at the Illinois Watch Company and "Rosie the Riveter" on the production line during the war make their appearance.  Aerial views of the downtown area present a century of change in Springfield.  The evolution of transportation in the community is chronicled, from horse and buggy to the railroad to the automobile.  Images of ladies cooking at Temple and crews preparing community garden plots showcase the city's volunteer service heritage. Commonplace images of life in Springfield, such as children at play, shopping, parades, and the first day of school, are all presented here.  But the less common events are included as well: fires, the race riot, even a baptism at Lake Springfield.  Together, these images tell the story of who we were, and perhaps more.
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.     
Price:  $19.95 
 
Winnetka,  by ArLynn Leiber Presser
 
In 1854, as the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad Company made plans to lay track through the Green Bay Trail north of Chicago, builder Charles Peck subdivided the surrounding woods.  His wife Sarah declared that they must name this land Winnetka, meaning “beautiful land” in Native American.  There is no proof that the word means “beautiful land” in any language—but all who visit Winnetka agree it is an apt description.  Bordered by Lake Michigan and the lagoons and woods of the Cook County forest preserve, Winnetka is a town of well-tended lawns with vibrant spring tulips and daffodils giving way to summer’s leafy hostas.  Its homes are found in historical registers, its shopping districts are charming and quaint, and its beaches and parks invite one to play hooky for an afternoon.  Winnetka’s residents are good neighbors, reaching out to one another in times of fun and times of tragedy, devoted to excellence in education and in their professional lives. 
 
Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.   
Price:  $21.00