MARENGO – A nine-month project undertaken by the Marengo Society for Historic Preservation has yielded a pictorial account of city’s early days.
“Marengo: The First 100 Years,” published by Arcadia Publishing, recounts the city’s first settlers, businesses and homes through more than 200 pictures and captions.
Dorothy Otis, chairperson of the Marengo Society for Historic Preservation, worked on the book with several other society members.
“We had a lot of fun putting it together,” she said. “The response has been just overwhelming.”
A 128-page book, “Marengo: The First 100 Years” covers the spectrum of life in Marengo during the 1800s and early 1900s.
Pictures in the book show a thriving city, home to McHenry County’s first bank and opera house.
Words describe what it was like to settle in a place where many people became successful.
Carl Lundgren, a pitcher with the Chicago Cubs from 1902 to 1909, grew up in Marengo and won the World Series championships in 1907 and 1908.
Other notable residents included Vice President Charles Dawes, composer Egbert VanAlstyne and Marion Moon, mother of astronaut Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin.
“We had some progressive men and women,” Otis said. “It’s always been a great community.”
Fellow society member Karen Lee agreed that the history of Marengo was amazing.
She said she learned a lot about the city while putting the book together.
“It was fun doing the research,” she said. “We went after people to get pictures of the past. I really enjoyed it.”
Both Lee and Otis said a second book about Marengo was a possibility.
Otis said she hoped that those people who bought “Marengo: The First 100 Years” would realize that the city was once fantastic.
“Our town center was gorgeous,” she said. “This will show them there is a dress, but it has been discarded for the fake facades downtown.
“People need to know [Marengo] can be great.”
Want to buy it?
“Marengo: The First 100 Years” is available for $19.99 at www.arcadiapublishing.com. It also is available at the following Marengo locations: Edward Jones Investment, 104 S. State St.; Brandt’s Pharmacy & Treasure Nook Gift Shop, 101 S. State St.; and Flatlander Market, 125 S. State St.