McHenry History ... around the Corner Museum Exhibits Travel, Explore Weddings and Firefighting

By Harmon, Elizabeth | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 4, 2006 | Go to article overview

McHenry History ... around the Corner Museum Exhibits Travel, Explore Weddings and Firefighting


Harmon, Elizabeth, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Elizabeth Harmon Daily Herald Correspondent

In August, when the new Northern Illinois Fire Museum displayed a 1928 W.S. Nott firetruck at the McHenry County Fair, a collection of historical photos showing fires and firefighting in the county added extra sizzle to the exhibit.

"The two exhibits complemented each other," said Roger Dreher, president of the Northern Illinois Fire Museum, which is currently housed in temporary quarters near Marengo.

"People really liked those photos and seeing the pictures of early fires back in the 1920s."

The photos comprise one of two traveling exhibits developed by the McHenry County Historical Museum in Union, and possibly soon coming to a location near you soon.

"Up In Smoke" and "Just Married," which contains photos of McHenry County brides and grooms, were created to bring history into the community, said McHenry County Historical Museum Exhibits Curator Grace Moline.

"A lot of people don't get out to the museum and this is a way to bring history alive for them. We also hope it motivates them to come out here and see what else we have," Moline explained.

"We also hope it motivates them to come out here and see what else we have."

Previous traveling exhibits have showcased McHenry County's barns and bridges. Typically, exhibits remain in circulation for about a year.

Moline developed the two current exhibits and jots down ideas for new exhibits as they come to her.

She chose a wedding theme for one because many of the museum's visitors are interested in seeing historical clothing.

"When people come out here, they love to look at the beautiful dresses, and what's more glorious than a wedding gown? It lets you see the full dress of the period," she explained.

The couples in "Just Married," include 1880s brides in elegant Victorian-era gowns, playful Jazz Age styles and World War II grooms wearing military uniforms standing beside brides clad in practical skirted suits.

But the exhibit isn't just about clothing. The stories of two turn-of-the-century brides illustrates the differences in the lives of poor and wealthy families.

Bride Hope Everts was a triplet born to a widowed laundress with seven other children in 1886 and knew hardship throughout her young life.

Her mother named the triplets Hope, Faith and Charity, because someone paid her to do so. Faith and Charity died as infants.

In her teens, Hope left her home in Capron and went to work at a dairy in Chemung.

In 1908, she married Earl Burton and moved with him to Texas where the couple attempted to ranch.

Earl's health forced them to return to McHenry County two years later, where they farmed and raised a family. …

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