Think Plainfield's just your run-of-the-mill farm town turned Chicago suburb? Think again.
- One hundred and fifty years ago today, on April 14, 1861, members of the Plainfield's , stunned by the fall of Fort Sumter in the first battle of the Civil War, threw open their doors to help reorganize Plainfield native Capt. Edward McAllister’s Battery.
- The Bliss home, at the corner of Eastern and Lockport streets, held a secret room behind a kitchen cupboard where runaway slaves were housed as part of the Underground Railroad in the 1840s.
- The Plainfield House, 24038 W. Main St., was a militia headquarters during the Civil War. The second floor of the Smiley and Fraser building on Lockport Street has a large meeting room that was home to the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union Army veterans, until it disbanded in the late 1920s.
Next month, history buffs can see these sites for themselves and walk through the pages of local history during the first-ever Civil War bus tour sponsored by History Without Boundaries.
“With the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, we thought there was no better time than the present to study our past," said Tina Beaird, a Plainfield librarian, who helped the organize the tour with local historian Michael Lambert.
History Without Boundaries is a regional history group with members from several local historic preservation commissions, Beaird said. "Our goal is to promote the relevance of our historic buildings and the significance of our shared heritage to our modern lives," she said.
There have been lots of historical walking tours, but this is the area’s first all-day bus excursion, making stops in Oswego, Montgomery, Aurora and Plainfield.
Day-trippers will gather at 8:30 a.m. May 14 to check out the Little White School Museum, Crothers-Jolly-Denney house and the Oswego Township Cemetery in Oswego. Then it's on to Gray’s Mill, Campo Hammond and Riverside Cemetery in Montgomery and the G.A.R. Memorial Hall, the Tanner House, home of the Aurora Historical Museum, and Spring Lake Cemetery in Aurora.
Plainfield is the last stop on the tour; the bus returns to Oswego at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Civil War bus tour are $35 and include a box lunch. Seating is limited. Brochures and registration forms are available at the Plainfield Historical Society's Main Street Museum, the Plainfield Public Library or by contacting Tina Beaird at 630-554-3883 or Michael Bortel at 815-609-9927.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out the Facebook page for the event at http://www.facebook.com/pages/History-Without-Boundaries/178596842181491.