Full year of coverage marks 150th anniversary

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 1

Happy 150th anniversary, Hinsdale!

Of course, it’s a little early to extend a happy anniversary wish, seeing as the village’s incorporation date is April 1, 1873.

But this is the start of the sesquicentennial (a fancy word for 150th) year, and we’re excited to celebrate the occasion by sharing more about the village’s history with readers.

The question is, where to begin?

Hugh Dugan spends the first 92 pages of his 1949 book, “Village on the County Line,” writing about Hinsdale’s history prior to its incorporation. He begins with a description of the area when the land was submerged in a shallow sea.

Twenty-seven years later, Timothy Bakken gets to the point much earlier — on Page 26 of his book simply called “Hinsdale.” He dispenses with 40 years of history, starting in 1833, in a six-page timeline and begins with the arrival of William Robbins in Hinsdale in 1862.

Bakken also provides a colorful detail about what transpired after residents voted 62-2 in favor of incorporating.

“The ballots were carried over to Wheaton on April Fool’s Day — tradition has it that Judge Dudley was found nursing a beer in a Naperville bar — and Judge Dudley certified the results and declared that ‘said proposed village ... shall from henceforth be deemed an organized village.’ ”

In addition to these two books, information about the village’s early days can be found in a 344-page special section The Doings published Oct. 5, 1995, marking the newspaper’s Centennial, which contained a thorough history of the village as well. Three years later, another Doings special section commemorated the village’s 125th anniversary. (Two members of our staff worked on both of those publications.)

Many of the stories, from those on new public improvements like paved streets and electric lights to the affect of the first World War, could be found in the history of almost any town in the area.

Others, especially those about some of the village’s most significant or colorful residents, are quite unique.

And those are the stories we are most excited to share over the next year. A piece on Robbins, considered the village’s founding father, kicks off the 52-week series on Page 7 of this issue.

We’ll approach the village’s history in a variety of ways, with articles, photos and “Did you know?” pieces. Page 7 also will be the place to find out about special events that various groups are hosting to mark the anniversary.

Then, later this year, The Hinsdalean will publish a special section filled with stories and photos to provide a more comprehensive look at village history.

Between Dugan’s and Bakken’s books, The Doings’ Centennial and 125th special sections, our own 16-plus years of coverage and the archives at the Hinsdale Historical Society, we have access to more information than we could ever include.

We’ll do our best to include the most relevant and interesting bits of history. If there’s something you would like to learn about, send an email to [email protected].

So get ready, both to learn more about this village we all love — and to celebrate!