This week (after nearly four years in Lombard), I found a great,
low (no) cost relaxation and entertainment option for taking a
break from studying, school and classes. I found the Lombard
Historical Society by accident this past weekend while driving back
from the grocery store.
I saw two riders on horses galloping along a side street in
American Civil War garb! Now, I thought to myself, "Self, I know we
are in the 21st century and folks just don't ride
horses through a Chicago suburb and I'm pretty sure these guys
aren't ghosts on some long lost patrol." After driving a bit more,
I saw a sign that announced a Civil War Reenactment encampment for
the weekend. Woo Hoo! I'm a history nut, so I decided to take a
Once I parked and walked up to the encampment, I could see that
these folks were serious about their history! No modern
conveniences were present (except for porta potties--hygiene over
historical accuracy when it comes to communicable disease), and all
clothing was accurate for the Civil War era. Everyone was sleeping
in canvas tents and cooking over open campfires. That's just about
as 'organic' as one can get, speaking as a ND student, of
The encampment included a Civil War surgeon with all of his
tools who gave short presentations from time to time to let
visitors know how the wounded were cared for during the Civil War.
He seemed to be fond of his bone saw and opium tincture...hmmmm. An
embalmer was also present that gave a short talk on how soldiers'
remains were preserved so they could be sent home if they fell in
battle. The camp included a gunsmith, seamstress, blacksmith, and
other necessary skilled trades of the time to keep an army "on the
Well, as I was walking through camp, folks started getting up
from their chairs, gathering their gear and moving to a small field
nearby. This was where the battle reenactment would take place.
NOTE: No battles were fought in Lombard, or in Illinois during the
Civil War. The Union troops were staged on one side of a pond and
the Confederate troops were in defensive positions on the other
side along with the "high ground," a good thing in military
The battle commenced with infantry charges, cannons firing huge
rings of smoke, and cavalry darting about the battlefield. Both
sides mounting charges, retreats and attempting to capture the
other's flag, to no avail. The battle ended in a stalemate with
former "enemies" shaking hands and having a good laugh.
The Lombard Historical Society, by presenting a "living history"
encampment, has helped today's generations get a glimpse of life in
19th century Illinois. With their sponsorship of
the Civil War Encampment, Sheldon Peck Homestead (first settlement
in Lombard), Lombard Victorian Cottage, and Lilacia Park, the
Historical Society has kept alive the skillset, mindset and
tenacity of the people who lived here during that time.
The Lombard Historical Society's mission is to "collect,
preserve, interpret, and promote the history of Lombard and to
advocate for our community's heritage." They have performed a
wonderful job and continue to expand their offerings, check their
website at LombardHistory.org to view sites,
schedules and activities that are educational, fun and most of all
free (for the most part)!