Libertyville's Rich History
Favorite thing: The village of Libertyville is located in Lake County, Illinois north of Chicago. Lake County and Libertyville have rich pasts. Old mission records as early as 1650 confirm that French traders were already in the region doing a lucrative fur business with the Indians. There were tribal legends about the health-giving qualities of the many springs that can be found along the Des Plaines River, which then attracted the French explorer SIEUR DE LASALLE to the lovely groves which lie west of the river. In 1836 federal treaties said that the Indian tribes possessed the Northwest Territory of which Libertyville was a part. As early as 1834, pioneers came to the area because of the good soil, the wooded groves, the abundant water supply, and the friendly Indians. These pioneers migrated along the Indian trail (which followed the Des Plaines River) north of the fast-growing Chicago.
The Englishman, George Vardin, was the first white man to build his log cabin in the oasis of trees (soon to be called Vardin's Grove). He remained for one year, but he did leave a new community that later would become LIBERTYVILLE. In 1836, during the Independence Day celebration, area residents voted to call their town Independence Grove. Once a post office was granted, they called it Libertyville because Independence Grove post office already existed. When Libertyville was made into the county seat, its name was changed to Burlington, which lasted until the county seat was moved to what is now Waukegan. At that time, the Village reclaimed the name Libertyville.
Then, discovery of large gravel beds along the river in Libertyville Township led to the building of "all weather" gravel roads. In 1880, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad (now the Milwaukee Road) came to Libertyville which became a "boon" to the farmers for shipping and trade.
Fondest memory: Today in Libertyville, the names of early settlers grace parks, streets, lakes, schools, and public buildings. It's the Libertyville Historical Society that keeps the rich history of this great village safe for future generations
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
A Landmark in Libertyville
Favorite thing: A variety of cultural opportunities are available for the Village of Libertyville residents. A landmark museum in the downtown village area is the Ansel B. Cook Victorian Home Museum. This Victorian treasure was built in 1878 ( at first it was used only as a summer home by Ansel Cook and his wife, but later it became their primary, year-round residence) and is still full of period furniture. It is one of the most complete Victorian museums in Lake County and is open:
Sunday from June 4 to August 27 or by appointment.
Admission is $2.00 for Adults and $1.00 for
Students and Seniors.
All summer you can visit the grounds of the Museum; it is a Rose Garden for the Community.
Fondest memory: The Victorian home has quite a history. At one time Dr. Foster, the first doctor to practice in Libertyville, had his office here. The first post office was also located here. In the 1920's the house was altered and used as a library with classical Colonial Portico.
If you love the Victorian period as I do, then you will adore the Ansel B. Cook Victorian Home Museum. It is in superb condition and a joy to behold.
I look forward to the summer months so that on Sundays this lovely museum can be visited. Its authentic Victorian furnishings (many of them gifts from Libertyville area families) add to the beauty of this marvelous home. Before it was made into a library, it originally had a large, one story porch. It still has high ceilings downstairs with original medallions. It also has original chandeliers (a few are reproductions). It is interesting to note that at the time it was built, chandeliers indicated a wealthy owner!
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits