Mundelein's centennial year is nearly over, but a local author has detailed the village's history in words and photographs in a new book hitting bookstores this week.
Shawn Killackey wrote the new book "Mundelein," which is part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. The book was slated to be released on Monday and Killackey will have a book signing at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Westfield Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20.
Killackey, who served on Mundelein's Centennial Committee, contacted Arcadia earlier this year to see if they would be interested in a book on Mundelein as part of its local history series on towns across the country.
"Being on the Centennial Committee, I noticed when I went to their Web site that they didn't have a Mundelein book," he said. "I told them I'm an author and if they'd like me to do a book on Mundelein I would."
Arcadia agreed but asked him if he could have the book completed by the end of June so it would come out in time for the village's 100th anniversary this year.
"I approached them at the beginning of May and they wanted to get it out for the centennial year and before the holidays so I had to have it done by the end of June," said Killackey. "I'd actually tried to get it released by Oct. 17 for the unveiling of the (village's restored 1925) fire truck but they couldn't get it out that early."
Killackey gathered information from his book from a variety of local sources, including the village of Mundelein, Lake County Discovery Museum, Historical Society of the Fort Hill Country, and local residents. The book contains about 200 historical photos dating back to before the turn of the 20th century.
During his research, Killackey found many interesting facts about the town's history, including the fact that it had four names before finally settling on Mundelein in 1924. He also learned about the first Eucharistic Congress that was held at the St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein seminary in 1926, which is estimated to have drawn 500,000 people to the then tiny rural town.
"I'm still amazed about how many people came to that. That's the most people that have ever been in Mundelein at one time," he said.
The book also includes a number of historical photos of the corner of Seymour Avenue and Park Street in downtown Mundelein, pictures of old Mundelein phone books and postcards, and a full chapter on the history of the Mundelein fire and police departments.
"I've always just loved history. Being an author and having a love of history combined well to do this book. I enjoy going through old pictures to see how things have changed over the years. I just love that kind of stuff," he said.
Mundelein's Assistant Village Administrator Mike Flynn said the village supplied many of the historical photos for the book and he praised Killackey for taking the initiative to write a book documenting Mundelein's past for the village's centennial anniversary.
'Time and effort'
"I think from the village's point of view we're really pleased to be included in the Images of America series," he said. "I applaud Shawn for putting in all the time and effort to put this together."
Killackey, a stay-at-home dad who takes care of his three-year-old daughter, wrote one previous published book in the 1990s, a fictional story entitled "You are the Magnate," and is writing a children's book which he hopes to get published. He was originally born in Massachusetts and he and his wife, Kim, have lived in Mundelein for about the past five years.
He said his book on Mundelein will be available for purchase at most local bookstores, the Lake County Discovery Museum, and on-line at www.arcadiapublishing.com. The price of the book is $21.99.