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He's written the book on Mundelein history
By Russell Lissau   - 11/02/2009

Daily Herald

More Info on This Book: Mundelein

Mundelein's yearlong centennial celebration is drawing to a close, but a local author's book about the village's history is about to hit shelves.

Shawn Killackey's "Mundelein," due out Nov. 9 in paperback, tells the town's story using dozens of photographs dating back to the 19th century. That's actually long before the community was incorporated - then under the name Rockefeller - in 1909.

The 127-page book is part of Arcadia Publishing's popular "Images of America" series. The books, all of which have similar sepia-toned covers and logos, generally focus on the histories of small towns and cities across the country.

Vernon Hills' Cuneo Museum and Gardens, Libertyville, Grayslake, Gurnee and Fort Sheridan are among the other local subjects of the series.

Killackey, who became interested in the village's history while volunteering on Mundelein's centennial committee, was surprised his town wasn't yet included in the series.

"Now I get to be a part of that history," said Killackey, 44.

"Mundelein" features photos of key historical figures such as Cardinal George Mundelein, the town's namesake; original fire chief John Dietz; A.C. Kracklauer, a business owner who donated land for a fire station and a park that bears his name; and John Holcomb, a 19th century settler for whom the town briefly was named.

Old snapshots of Hawley Street, the former Central Hotel, Lincoln School, the St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Diamond Lake and other landmarks are featured, too.

Killackey's favorite photo spans pages 64 and 65. It features the town's original 1925 fire truck at Chicago's Navy Pier, where it received regular pump testing.

The truck, long out of service, recently was reacquired by the village and restored.

"I'm from a firefighting family," he said. "That's why I have a whole chapter on the fire department, too."

The photographs Killackey included in the book came from a variety of sources, including village hall, the Fort Hill Historical Society and the Lake County Discovery Museum.

He was amused to learn the northwest corner of Seymour Avenue and Park Street in downtown Mundelein - once primarily occupied by Abernathy's department store - hasn't changed much through the decades.

"It's the same building sitting there," he said.

"Mundelein" is the Massachusetts native's second book. His first is a 2005 work of fiction titled "You Are the Magnet."

Mundelein Trustee Ray Semple was excited about the new book's impending release. He expects to buy several copies for holiday gifts.

"It's always nice to reminisce and read that stuff in print," he said. "It's a nice closure for our centennial celebration."

"Mundelein" will retail for $21.99 and will be available online and at suburban bookstores.

Killackey is set to promote the book with a pair of signings at the Vernon Hills Barnes & Noble store, 720 Hawthorn Center. They're scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20 and Friday, Dec. 11.

For more about the "Images of America" series, visit arcadiapublishing.com.

Buy It Now: Mundelein $21.99

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