#SmallTownSaturday – Long Grove, IL

Mill Pond Shoppes, located in the historic downtown district of Long Grove.

*Originally posted on July 29, 2017*

Long Grove, Illinois (population 8,166), this week’s #SmallTownSaturday feature, stands out as the site of the state’s first historic district. Established in the 1840’s, Long Grove has evolved from a small settlement of German pioneers into a charming historic village less than 40 miles northwest of Chicago.

Virginia L. Park celebrates the village and its legacy in Long Grove Lore and Legend (1978) through a compilation of historical records, personal accounts, and photographs. In her book, Park records the history of one of Long Grove’s oldest establishments, the present-day Village Tavern, established by the Zimmer family in 1847 and lauded in its early days for “the high class of refreshments served and the good order at all times maintained,” as well as its “fine pool table…kept in the best possible condition.”Read More

#SmallTownSaturday – Sullivan, IL

Little Theater on the Square, located in Sullivan, Illinois

*Originally posted on July 15, 2017*

Happy #SmallTownSaturday!

Sullivan, IL (population 4,440) has welcomed some big names in theater over the years thanks to its Little Theatre on the Square. Since its debut in 1957, the theater has brought Broadway-quality performances, along with actors including Mickey Rooney and Vivian Vance, to the heart of the Prairie State. Check out our copy of Beth Conway Shervey’s The Little Theatre on the Square: Four Decades of a Small-Town Equity Theatre to explore how the stage has shaped Sullivan, this weekend’s #SmallTownSaturday feature.

Photo credit: benjamin sTone. https://www.flickr.com/photos/benchilada/4778035614Read More

#SmallTownSaturday – Cherry, IL

Crowd at the mouth of the Cherry mine shaft

This week we’ll be visiting Cherry, IL (pop. 461) for #SmallTownSaturday!

The village of Cherry was named after James Cherry, the superintendent of St. Paul Mining Company, and began primarily as a mining site. The mine attracted workers from around the world, and by 1909 more than 80% of Cherry’s mine workers were first generation immigrants.

On November 13, 1909 at around approximately 1:30 p.m., the Cherry mine became the site of the nation’s third most deadly mining disaster. The mine had three levels, or veins, although the first was inoperable. The second and third veins were only accessible to each other via wooden ladders.Read More

#SmallTownSaturday – Bishop Hill, IL

Colony Church in Bishop Hill, IL

*Originally posted on July 1, 2017*

Today is our first #SmallTownSaturday feature! Bishop Hill, IL.

In 1846, spiritual leader Erik Jansson guided a group of Swedish settlers in pursuit of religious freedom to Illinois, where they established a small communitarian society that came to be known as Bishop Hill. Although the colony disbanded fifteen years later in 1861, the cultural and historical legacy of the Janssonist community endures.

Bishop Hill (population 128), a National Landmark Village, celebrates its Swedish heritage with events like its annual Julmarknad (Christmas Market) and Midsommar Music Festival. Learn more about this #SmallTownSaturday feature from our collection of Bishop Hill Colony correspondence, or enjoy a piece of Bishop Hill’s cultural heritage by flipping through the pages of our copy of The Art of Olof Krans: A Prairie Vision.Read More