Nowadays, old photographs can be worth more than 1,000 words.
Computers have became household tools to change photographs and render them illustrations, so books of old photographs are to be treasured as unaltered messages about reality sent from the past.
Gurnee and Warren Township now have a collection of these messages that has just been published, courtesy of Arcadia Publishing, of Charleston, S.C. The publishing company has issued Warren Township Historical Society's "Gurnee and Warren Township," a book filled with more than 200 photographs and detailed captions about people and places from several decades. Many of the images have never been seen publicly.
Editor Jill Martin, vice-president of the Warren Township Historical Society, said the book is the product of much help from the board, members of the society and residents who have provided pictures and information to the Historical Society.
"We tried to use the best," Martin said.
The book, at 128 pages, contains photographs from: the early years of the township; farms, homes and estates; churches, schools and cemeteries; business and government agencies; area resorts; transportation and flooding; and, The Order of Vikings and the American Legion. Pictures from 1841, virtually the start of settlement in Lake County, are included as well as those which touch upon the Underground Railroad and illuminate the late decades of the 1900s.
Martin said, "I had so much help from so many people. I wrote the captions."
She prepared captions based on information in society files, Edward Lawson's "History of Warren Township," Gilbert Clem's "Fifty Years of Change in Warren Township's Agriculture," interviews with residents and help from society members, including Michael Weiland who scanned all the images into the computer.
Of all the pictures, some are favorites of hers. She said the last picture in the book, taken in 1949, was one of Gages Lake provided by Charlotte Renehan of the Grayslake Historical Society.
"It shows what was there as (developers) were digging up the ground for Wildwood, the housing development," Martin said.
Another picture from 1927 shows the Mother Rudd House, the Historical Society's Museum in Gurnee. A young woman is posed in front of the home and behind her is a picture of a post-like stump that is the remainder of a flagpole.
"That's a great picture," Martin said. "That white post from 1927 is all that is left of a flagstaff that was erected in 1864 to commemorate Lincoln's second nomination. It's gone today."
A flag was given to Warren Township to commemorate the strong support township residents gave Lincoln. The flag flew from that pole. The picture serves as documentation of the known history related to the flag, a fact also recorded in a 1918 school history.
Two of her favorite pictures show a school building and its students.
One is the picture of Vose School with all the children in front of it," Martin said. "That school was moved and became a farm out-building by 1910. So, that picture was before then."
She is drawn to school pictures since she herself is writing a history, "One Room Schools of Lake County."
"If I live long enough," she said, "it will be done."
Martin recently found a 1918 school history filled with information. She urges people who find one to donate it to the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, where she also serves as a volunteer. Finding that book was just part of her never-ending search for information, one which allowed her to include pictures of every Warren Township school from 1850 to 1950 in this book, about a dozen buildings.
"New stuff is coming in every year," she said.
Preparation of the book started in July, 2005, and ended Oct. 18. Martin said it was a long series of nights and weekends to pull it all together.
"Gurnee and Warren Township" is available from Arcadia Publishing, for $19.99, the Warren Township Historical Society and the Lake County Discovery Museum.
"Of course, we do lots of business with the big chains, Barnes & Nobel, Borders, Walden and others," she said.
It is also available from Amazon.com and independent bookstores.