Lombard Historical Society

Hi Everyone!

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 look!

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 course!

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 go."

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 strategy.

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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)!