The author of a new book chronicling Des Plaines history spoke about the work in a video published by the Des Plaines Public Library. David Whittingham, readers’ advisor at the Des Plaines library, in cooperation with the Des Plaines History Center authored Images of America: Des Plaines, released in November 2012, and celebrated at a release party in December.
Whittingham, speaking at the historical Kinder House, said many people in Northern Illinois think of Des Plaines as being very similar to other suburbs, blending in.
“But there’s a lot of very distinctive, special things to Des Plaines, and that’s one of the things I tried to point out in the book is some of those special things,” Whittingham said.
Two aspects of the city that have characterized Des Plaines over many decades, Whittingham said, were the river and railroads.
Images of America: Des Plaines features approximately 200 historical photographs, most from the Des Plaines History Center, and was part of a series of community-specific books by Arcadia Publishing, which included other Chicago suburbs. Whittingham said the book is also brings to the forefront the wealth of information and artifacts available to the community at the history center.
“There’s so much in the archives at the history center, so there’s an opportunity for education as well as entertainment, and also a way of connecting with the roots that have been here all along; I think it’s really interesting,” Whittingham said.
One of the images in the book depicts a water slide on the Des Plaines River, something today’s Des Plaines residents may not know about.
“There’s always been a capacity for surprise,” Whittingham said.