“Darien,” which features more than 200 vintage images from Darien Historical Society’s collection and contributions of longtime residents, was written and compiled by DHS directors Dean Rodkin, Deborah Coulman and Debra Kieras, and member Mary Krekelberg.
The 128-page soft-cover book will be available for purchase Aug. 27.
“Darien” was a labor of love on the part of the authors, who strongly believe that an awareness of the past fosters a sense of community pride and belonging – and generates civic pride in both long-time residents and those recently arrived. In awakening the community to its past, the authors hope to foster a desire to support efforts to preserve Darien’s history and pass it on to future generations.
A glimpse into Darien’s history …
After the Black Hawk War of 1832, two small villages took root on the prairie southwest of Chicago. Settled in the 1830s and 1840s, Lace and Cass grew into the city of Darien, which was incorporated in 1969.
The rich soil and timberland attracted hardy pioneers from the East and immigrants from Germany. They plowed, planted crops and raised their families. Wood was cut for homes and barns and cattle grazed in open fields. At “The Point” stood a general store, a blacksmith shop, a creamery, and Lace Hall.
On his wife’s family property in 1903, Congressman Martin Madden built a summer home called Castle Eden, a scaled-down version of the White House. Shortly after World War II, suburbia arrived. Picking flowers along the creek while walking through open fields of corn, hay and wild daisies became a thing of the past as the foundations of homes and businesses began to dot the landscape. “Life at the Point” slowly changed giving way to Darien, “A Nice Place to Live.”
About the authors
A graduate of Northwestern University, Dean Rodkin taught seventh- and eighth-grade social studies at Eisenhower Junior High School in Darien for more than 30 years. Since retiring, she continues her love of history by volunteering at the Chicago History Museum and at the Graue Mill in Oak Brook.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, Deborah Coulman is a descendant of the Andermann and Buschmann families, two of Lace's (now Darien’s) first families. A desire to tell the story of her family's vital role in establishing the Lace community prompted her investment in the book.
Debra Kieras grew up in the Marion Hills area of Lace, attended its schools, and was witness to the birth of Darien. She served as president of Marion Hills School's PTA and was the registrar at Hinsdale South High School. For years she was an avid volunteer for the Darien Youth Club and Girl Scout troops. A collector of antiques, she values what was and appreciates the importance of making others aware of it.
Mary Krekelberg received an M.L.S. from the University of Iowa and works as a reference librarian at the Indian Prairie Public Library. She maintains the library’s print and digital local history collections. She enjoys using her research skills to bring the past to light and share it with others.
Upon publication Aug. 27,“Darien” will be available for $21.99 at area bookstores, independent retailers and online retailers or through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665 or online. arcadiapublishing.com.
All author proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Darien Historical Society.
Editor’s note: The information above is from a press release by Arcadia Publishing.