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  • Megann Horstead

History Crawl teaches about Lockport’s past


The White Oak Library Lockport Branch hosted a second round for residents looking to partake in its History Crawl, originally launched with two events last year.

The Thursday, June 1, program allowed patrons to enjoy alcoholic beverages and explore four sites with opportunities to learn about new historical interpretations at each stop.

The tour consisted of trips to the Gladys Fox Museum, Lockport Area Genealogical and Historical Society, Will County Historical Museum and Research Center, The Gaylord Building and the White Oak Library.

White Oak Library Adult Services Specialist Sarah Konzen said the goal is to invite visitors to the White Oak Library and Lockport, but also to make them aware of the rich history there in Lockport and see how close in proximity everything is.

“Not only can people go to the Will County Historical Museum, but they can also go to the Illinois State Museum, which is located in the Norton Building, go to The Gaylord Building and learn that history, or maybe they never knew that there was a Lockport Historical Society that lives at Central Square,” Konzen said. “There’s a lot of great resources available, so that’s what I pretty much hope to teach people.

Konzen said it is clear that people enjoy partaking in the History Crawl.

“We’ve gotten really great feedback, and like I said, too, we even had great feedback with our partners,” Konzen said of the community’s liking for the History Crawl. “Everything is so close, and I really feel strongly of having partnerships.”

The first two events took place toward the end of 2016 and saw a nice turnout, Konzen said.

“We thought again this year, let’s do a part two to this, so let’s get more interest but then also... [get] those who went to the last crawl to come back,” Konzen said.

This time around, the tour’s stop at the library featured a presentation on the history of brewing, instead of highlighting the library and the genealogy resources offered. It provided an opportunity to present new material that first time and returning patrons could enjoy.

Those in attendance for the History Crawl were allowed up to four alcoholic beverages while taking part in the tour.

Library Director Scott Pointon said his presentation on the history of craft breweries in the Joliet area serves as a nice tie-in that pulls the event together.

“We’re going to sample two beers, and of course, these are produced by modern craft breweries, but they’re styles that might’ve been enjoyed in the late 1800s by the Irish and the German immigrants that would’ve been in the [Lockport] area,” he said. “These breweries that were in the area popped up because people emigrated from Europe to here. Some of those people who emigrated were brewers in their old country, and they brought their craft with them.”

Other sites featured different aspects of Lockport history not previously presented at a History Crawl.

Nicole Boyett and Kristina Gargano, of Lockport, were enjoying their time spent surveying artifacts on display at the Will County Historical Museum and Research Center.

“I wish it was longer,” Gargano said of the event.

Attending the History Crawl was a first for the two friends.

Boyett and Gargano agreed they are “big history buffs” and said they often go on tours together.

Gargano noted that she is still new to Lockport and said it’s interesting to learn more about the city in which she lives.

Boyett said she could see herself going on another History Crawl.

“If I know about it and we’re free, we will definitely go,” she said.

Plans are in the works to hold another History Crawl on June 29, at which point residents will be provided an opportunity to go to the Illinois State Museum, which is a new partnership formed this year.

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