120 pages not enough for 150 years of history


When we sent the 120-page special section commemorating the village's 150th anniversary to our printer Tuesday morning, I felt a sigh of relief.

The section has consumed a lot of time and energy since early this summer, not just for me, but for everyone who worked on it. We wanted, as we state in the introduction on Page 5, to create a truly special section that would celebrate the village's sesquicentennial. And we created, I think it's fair to say, a pretty ambitious story list.

"This is where I really think AI could come in handy," associate editor Ken Knutson quipped while working on a story one particularly busy Friday 11 days before we went to press.

Our biggest challenge really was not what to put in, but what to leave out. Even in this quiet little village, a lot has happened in the past 15 decades - too much to fit within our defined space.

As I was doing research for the section, I came across so many interesting little tidbits I would have loved to include.

For example, did you know that ..

• Charlton Heston appeared in a Hinsdale Summer Theatre production in the summer of 1956?

• A 16-year-old from Hinsdale crashed the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1960 to meet Richard Nixon?

• Aviator Hugh Dugan, author of "Village on the County Line," was shot down by Germans during World War I after a British Royal Flying Corp. Mission and taken prisoner before being released in January 1919?

• Dr. Billy Graham once lived at 214 S. Clay St.?

And while we tried to include as many photos as possible, my favorite from the Hinsdale Historical Society of a Dorstewitz family picnic along Salt Creek did not make the cut. There's just something about the sisters and their guest in their white hats and dresses that makes me smile every time I see the picture.

I first saw the photo in 1995 while working on The Doings' centennial edition. I've also worked on a Doings special section marking the village's 125th anniversary and a special section here at The Hinsdalean celebrating the library's 125th anniversary. It's a good thing I like history! I never imagined when I went into this field how fortuitous that would be.

Also on the list of omissions I regret are all the quaint little stores that lined the streets of downtown Hinsdale when I first came to work here 35 years ago, like the Little Book Shop and Schoen's and Schweidler and Mewherter (which took me years to learn to spell without looking it up).

I also have memories of covering the Hinsdale Antiques Show, which used to be a major fundraiser for The Community House, and the Hinsdale Youth Center and the invasion of cicadas in my early days as a reporter.

Jim Slonoff remembers even more things, seeing as he started working in town almost a decade before I did.

But, alas, we were not writing a memoir of our experiences covering the Village of Hinsdale, and so these items were relegated to this column.

The good news is we still have 13 weeks left of devoting Page 7 of our weekly edition to something related to the village's history. We've already assigned some topics we discussed this summer to those pages.

If I'm lucky, I'll think of a reason to publish that picnic photo there.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean