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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
American Legion Post, with restored cupola
Dean Larson in front of the American Legion Post, December 1999. He was instrumental in having the cupola restored and replaced. Photo: Sarah Hoskins


First settled in the early 1830s and incorporated in 1882, the Village of Libertyville has preserved its past while developing its future. In 1834, early settlers found the George Vardin family occupying a one-room cabin on the site. The Vardins moved out of the area the following year, and the log cabin became Libertyville's first post office.

The Cook Mansion, a typical Victorian-era residence and the first permanent dwelling in Libertyville, is located in Cook Park, a gathering place and home to the Men's Garden Club Rose Garden. The mansion was built in 1878 by Ansel Cook, an Illinois state legislator and contractor by trade. Cook, before moving to Chicago to work as a contractor, had farmed 448 acres near Libertyville. When he returned to Lake County in 1869, he was elected to the state legislature from that area. Chairman of the Libertyville Building Committee, Cook worked with Illinois architect William W. Boyington to plan the Libertyville Town Hall, which is now the Libertyville American Legion Hall. In 1996, the cupola was restored to the historic old Town Hall. Today the Cook Mansion serves as headquarters of the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society. The ongoing rehabilitation of late 19th century buildings in the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods reflects the community's interest in maintaining its historic identity.

Modern-day Libertyville has a strong industrial base, and is home to a new Motorola facility which has created over 4,000 jobs within the Village. Downtown Libertyville is the site of over 50 days of public events and programs annually, including Libertyville Days; "Out to Lunch," Friday noontime cookouts in the park; a summer-long Farmers Market; a summer concert series; the Harvest Festival; and the month-long Dickens Holiday Festival. These events attract over 50,000 guests annually. Libertyville prides itself on its small-town, home-town feel. While the main streets of many towns of its size have dried up and died, Libertyville's Main Street, known as Milwaukee Avenue, is vibrant, a place where small businesses can flourish and thrive.

Project documentation includes sheets on Libertyville Facts and demographics, testimonials of local business owners and residents, a fund-raising brochure for the Old Town Hall Cupola Restoration project, brochures on the historical society and Cook Mansion, and 17 6 x 10" black-and-white photographs with descriptions.

Originally submitted by: Richard J. Durbin,Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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