Historians Stress Importance of Keeping Link to Past

By O'Brien, Bill | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 25, 1999 | Go to article overview

Historians Stress Importance of Keeping Link to Past


O'Brien, Bill, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Bill O'Brien Daily Herald Staff Writer

Maintaining the character of a community seems to be one of the ingredients keeping local historians motivated to preserve their local history, whether it be a relatively new Northwest suburb or one that is more than a century old.

"One of the things we have so often is a lack of community spirit, a feeling for the town you live in," said Marilyn Lind, chairman of the Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission.

People like Lind have a lot of work to do in convincing at least some citizens that local history is important - especially in a community that was only incorporated in 1959.

Go to a town such as Barrington, which was incorporated in 1865 and is one of the oldest villages in the area, and officials with the historical society there are working hard to preserve old memories to ensure they don't fade.

And these organizations are not always successful, such as in Barrington where the historic village hall, which was built before the turn of the century and stood in the heart of the community, was demolished earlier in the year.

"The more of these buildings we lose, the harder it is to preserve the character of the community," said Dean Maiben, president of the Barrington Area Historical Society.

In Arlington Heights, a town whose historical society is looking to expand its museum to display more historical artifacts now hidden in storage, historians there feel it is vitally important that they don't lose their links with the past.

"We're trying to collect anything and everything we can in the way of memories, photographs and artifacts - anything imaginable that will add to our general knowledge of the town and its people and its development," said Margot Stimely, one of Arlington Heights' most recognized historians.

But maintaining the character of the community is not as much about buildings as it is about people, even back in Barrington, which prides itself on its historic district, Maiben said.

As in Arlington Heights, Barrington also is collecting information on not just well-known figures in the community but on everyday residents, through records, other documents and photographs. …

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