This week’s column was submitted by Steven Giese of the Des Plaines Public Library.
The Des Plaines Public Library and the Des Plaines History Center have launched a new local history website, Des Plaines Memory. The site combines photographs, letters, postcards, newspapers and old telephone directories in an ever growing chronicle of Des Plaines and the surrounding area.
Des Plaines Memory utilizes social media to create a shared, collaborative local history. Visitors can post items to their Facebook accounts, or follow new posts on the Des Plaines Memory Twitter and Tumblr feeds.
Visitors are encouraged to contribute to Des Plaines Memory by posting their personal knowledge and memories of Des Plaines on the site.
Sandra & Carol Schallawitz found a picture of their mother, Ruth, working at the Douglas Aircraft day care center during World War II and left a thank you.
Des Plaines resident and business owner Lane Hudson, who has bought and restored many area homes, added comments on several photographs of homes dating back to the 1920s. He identifies one house previously owned by State Representative Harry Kinser and his wife Kitty, an actress and originator of the Footlighters Theatre Company.
Des Plaines Memory is “The essential way to connect the public with their local history in a way that is personal and meaningful,” says Shari Caine, Executive Director of the Des Plaines History Center.
Steven Giese, Digital Projects Manager at the Des Plaines Public Library, hopes that visitors to Des Plaines Memory will feel that their community history is a part of their family history. “There are practical applications to Des Plaines Memory, like doing genealogical research. But we’re really telling stories here. I think people will be delighted, intrigued, and even inspired by what they find.”
The Library and History Center will continue to add new content to Des Plaines Memory on an ongoing basis. “We are extremely pleased and fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with the Library in this project,” says Caine. “It’s a natural fit for the library and history center to work together,” says Giese.