Book to look at history of Morton Grove
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:46AM
Mark Matz compares the process of putting together a book on the history of Morton Grove to a 1966 episode of the Andy Griffith Show.
Opie writes an essay about the Battle of Mayberry, revealing that rather than some glorious, heroic fight to save the town, it was a misunderstanding caused by too much liquor.
While the folks of Mayberry argued about the incident, in the end everybody comes together, what Matz sees as the real parallel to Morton Grove.
There were some disagreements in the process of assembling “Images of America: Morton Grove,” scheduled to come out in April.
“It was a very generous, cooperative effort,” said Matz, a member of the Morton Grove Historical Society who worked on the project. “It’s going to be great.”
The book is a joint effort between the historical society and the Morton Grove Park District.
A committee of society members guided the work of choosing what to put in the book over a period of several months. The park district contributed the time of Morton Grove Historical Museum Curator Mary Busch and her assistant Tim. Mayse-Lillig, who both work for the park district.
Donna Hedrick, who led the effort for the historical society, said the group had discussed the idea for a couple of years after seeing the books other towns, including Skokie, had put out through Arcadia Publishing.
“I thought it would be a great benefit for the community,” Hedrick said.
Matz said he too was familiar with the series of books, having seen one about a town in Florida about 10 years ago.
“It’s been on my mind for a while,” Matz said “We thought it would be a great opportunity for the historical society.”
The society formed a committee that included Matz, Hedrick, Milton Langer and Lorraine Strybel to guide the project. Busch and Mayse-Lillig did the grunt work of actually going though the museum’s vast collection of photographs to come up with the ones to include in the 128-page book.
In addition, Mayse-Lillig said members of the community were generous in offering their family photos.
“We got a lot of help,” he said.
Everyone involved said one of the hardest parts was culling the photos to use from the thousands available at the museum.
“Mary and I worked on it all last summer,” Mayse-Lillig said. Mayse-Lillig was also in charge of the technical aspects of the project such as resizing photos to meet the requirements of Arcadia Publishing.
Much of the actual labor of finding the material was done last summer. Over the course of the past several months, Hedrick said the committee reviewed the material and worked toward meeting deadlines set by the publisher.
“We had certain deadlines,” she said. “When the deadlines were close, Mary and Tim would make presentations to us.”
Busch said the book starts before the area was settled, though much of it involves the period after that and when the area was called Miller’s Mill and known for its vast greenhouses. It also includes photos from the Civil War as well as more contemporary photos.
Bush said the book is slated to come out April 22 and the museum is planning an exhibit beginning April 28 that will tie into the book.
It will include some of the physical objects related to photos in the book such as memorabilia from the Dells Roadhouse.
“We have a nice exhibit planned,” Busch said.
The book will be a fundraiser for the historical society, which will split the profits with the publisher.
Hedrick said the book is already available for pre-order at web sites like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
It also will be available at several locations such as the Chicago Cultural Center and Art Institute.
“We’re very, very excited about this,” Hedrick said. “We’re so small — it was a lot of hard work.”