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Local author shares history
By Amber Krosel   - 03/09/2009

Northwest Herald

When Nancy S. Bacheller wrote her last column for the Northwest Herald, she was surprised to get a phone call from a local publishing editor.

Her 128-page book, titled “Images of America – Huntley” through Arcadia Publishing Co., is set for release today.

“They saw I had written my columns with the Northwest Herald for 18 years,” Bacheller said. “The local editor for Arcadia lives in Crystal Lake. He knew I was interested in local history and contacted me and asked if I would like to do a book about Huntley.

“Since I wasn’t going to be writing my column anymore, I figured I’d have some time,” she said.

Based on the widespread series of “Images of America” books, the new edition took Bacheller eight months to research and complete. She also got help from friend and fellow historian Mary Beth Manning; they both work as local history coordinators for Huntley Area Public Library.

The Huntley book features more than 200 historical photographs, many not seen in the village in 100 years. Photographs include some of the earliest pictures of the town, as well as images of village founders and prominent businesspeople.

Bacheller said she selected the published images from hundreds of photos shared by residents, as well as from the library’s collection.

“Mary Beth and I knew a lot of people in Huntley who’d been here a long time,” she said. “People were just so enthusiastic; it was great.”

From March through October 2008, Bacheller gathered photos and wrote captions detailing the farm and milk industry that once dominated the area, as well as schools, churches and other businesses.

“I just worked all day every day like a full-time job,” Bacheller said. “Every picture really captured my attention. [Arcadia] needed 200 pictures, but actually I scanned far more than that. I spent a lot of time saying, ‘This one, or this one.’ “

Bacheller said that in tough choices, she opted for either the oldest photo or the one with the most story to tell. Her favorite chapters of the book include a section on businesses and another on life in Huntley.

“So many people are so excited; I just hope they’ll be happy with it,” Bacheller said. “Everybody wants to see if they’re in the book, but I can pretty much tell you, if you’re alive right now, you probably aren’t in it.”

Bacheller has a journalism degree from Northern Illinois University and has been a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist. She also worked in public relations and was a trade magazine editor.

She served on Huntley’s Sesquicentennial Committee in 2001, helping to produce the book “At Home in Huntley – 1851 to 2001.”




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