Just before Christmas, I found myself in Libertyville for Dickens of a Holiday, an annual event.
Of course, it was cloudy, but I thought it might be a nice time to visit an historic site that I hadn’t been to in a very long time, the Cook Memorial Library.
In fact, it’d been so long, it was no longer a library, but had been restored back to a home!
The Ansel B. Cook House, to be exact, and was also home to the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.
Outside, it had been decked out for Christmas, and inside? Gorgeous!
Ansel B. Cook had the house built when Libertyville was out in the country, in 1878. He had made his fortune by supplying building stones to Chicago, including the Water Tower, and after the Great Fire in 1871, helped rebuild the city.
After the death of his widowed third wife, the house was converted into a library. I had been there when we lived in Mundelein years ago, but I don’t really remember going into the house part, only the addition (the brick building in the right side of the feature picture).
It has since be re-reconverted back to an historical landmark. The interior has all its original woodwork, but all the original furnishings had been sold off years ago. The society has been collecting period items through the years, and they are shown off to great effect!
The dresses spread around are all wedding dresses from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. What struck me is how small they were! I’m short, 5’2 and a bit, and heavier for my height than is probably healthy, but there was no way I would have fit any of them after junior high!
And the one stand-out, unbelievable item? These boots! They couldn’t have been more than 2.5″ wide. That’s narrower than my fist! I can’t even comprehend having feet small enough to go into these, much less walking in them!
All in all, well worth a visit, not just for the restoration, but for the historic museum-like displays of local memorabilia.
Check out this website for more information!