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Museums of Lisle Station Park to play host long list of authors
By Joan Broz | Daily Herald Columnist

Kermit Eby, a teacher at Naperville North High School, is one of many authors who will be appearing over the next several months at the Museums of Lisle Station Park.


Daily Herald file photo

North Central College history professor Ann Durkin Keating will discuss her book "Chicagoland: City and Suburbs in the Railroad Age," during an appearance in Lisle.


Daily Herald file photo

Author James Ballowe is scheduled to discuss his latest work, "Christmas in Illinois," during an appearance this fall at the Museums of Lisle Station Park.


Courtesy James Ballowe

Author Rick Kogan and photographer Charles Osgood will discuss two of their books during a scheduled appearance in Lisle.


Daily Herald file photo

Joni Hirsch Blackman will talk this fall about her book on downtown Naperville.


Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/6/2010 12:01 AM

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A historic lineup of authors is coming to the Museums of Lisle Station Park during the next four months. Clip and save this column so you won't miss your favorites.

The multifaceted Chicago History Author Series kicks off at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, with a presentation on Chicago's history led by Naperville North High School teacher Kermit Eby and series organizer Brian Failing.

"Chicago is a paradox: a city of broken dreams, unfulfilled ideas, tremendous neighborhoods, compassion, progress, filth, fight and beauty," Eby said. "From its inception, we've enjoyed ethnic diversity, economic power, creative energy, international significance and unbounded growth."

The two men share a fascination for Chicago even though they come from different generations. Eby, who traces his Chicago roots to 1890, has taught history for 30 years. Failing, a Lisle native and the museum curator, is a student at North Central College.

At noon Sept. 25, the program defines Chicago music with Dean Milano, who drew from his 42-year musical career to write "The Chicago Music Scene: The 1960s and 1970s."

At 4 p.m. Sept. 25, Perry Duis, a professor of urban history, will discuss his book "Challenging Chicago: Coping with Everyday Life: 1837-1920." Through real-life stories, Duis creates an account of coping with urban ills of a great industrial city.

Jo Fredell Higgins will talk about her book on "Naperville, Illinois" at noon Oct. 2. The 128-page book in the Images of America Series covers the 1800s to its publication in 2001.

Fiction writer and journalist Mark Quinn takes on politics in "The Chairman: A Novel of Big City Politics." The South Side boy grew into a popular speaker on politics and organized crime. As a manager and financial consultant, Quinn follows the money trail. His program is at 4 p.m. Oct. 2.

At noon Oct. 9, Dominic Pacyga will discuss his 462-page piece of scholarship titled "Chicago: A Biography." The history professor begins with Jean Baptista Point du Sable and captures the spirit of the city with portrayals of George Pullman, Jane Addams, Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley.

The presentation at 4 p.m. Oct. 9 is by Karen Kruse speaking on her book, "Chicago Firehouse: Stories of Wrigleyville's Engine 78." The 128-page book is a tribute to her father, who spent 14 years at the single-bay firehouse across Waveland Avenue from the home of the Chicago Cubs. Kruse uses firsthand accounts and vintage photos to tell the firefighters' stories.

At noon Oct. 16, author Ann Durkin Keating will discuss her book "Chicagoland: City and Suburbs in the Railroad Age." The North Central College history professor includes a look at Lisle Station within her book's 296-pages.

"Lisle Train Depot is one of the few museums in the region that focuses on the role of the railroad in area farming," Keating said. "Lisle is really doing the region a service by interpreting their station in this way.

"These stations were called 'milk stops' because farmers brought their dairy to the station to be brought into the city in large containers," Keating said.

At 4 p.m. Oct. 16, Carolyn Eastwood reports on Chicago neighborhoods with her book, "Near West Side Stories: Struggles for Community in the Maxwell Street Neighborhood." The regional history complements the author's other neighborhood books.

Journalist Liam Ford talks about his 350-page book, "Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City" at noon Oct. 23. Published in 2009, the book takes Grant Park Municipal Stadium on land reclaimed from Lake Michigan to its current modern renovation.

The history series continues with three eerie books timed to Halloween.

On Oct. 23 at 4 p.m., Ursula Bielski talks about her book "There's Something Under the Bed: Children's Experiences with the Paranormal." She is founder of Chicago Hauntings.

Ghost tales are included in author Bryan Alaspa's book "Chicago Disasters." He'll discuss the book at noon Oct. 30.

At 4 p.m. Nov. 13, "Chicago Murder and Mayhem" author Troy Taylor highlights his five-book series.

At 4 p.m. Oct. 30 professor Joseph Schwieterman and writer Alan Mammoser journey from the big plans Daniel Burnham had for Chicago to the urban sprawl of the 21st century in 192 pages. "Beyond Burnham: An Illustrated History of Planning for the Chicago Region" was published this year.

A distinct look at the Chicago police is the presentation at noon Nov. 6 with Daniel Smith's book "On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department." The journalist relates personal police stories that are far removed from any TV depiction.

At 4 p.m. Nov. 6, author Sean Parnell takes readers to visit 100 landmarks in his book "Historic Bars of Chicago."

At noon Nov. 13, author James Ballowe presents his newest book, "Christmas in Illinois." Lisle is included in the book with the annual Morton Arboretum celebration of the Yule Log, Ballowe said. He also includes material from the Sterling Morton Library at the arboretum such as Christmas cards from naturalist May Theilgaard Watts and another from Joy and Margaret Morton.

"The book also includes an original piece by Joel Greenberg, the well-known ornithologist from Westmont," Ballowe said. "It's an account of his notable Christmas bird counts and its participants."

The history series concludes on Dec. 11. Joni Hirsch Blackman will discuss her Images of America book "Downtown Naperville, Illinois" at noon. Then at 4 p.m., author Rick Kogan and photographer Charles Osgood will discuss their books "Sidewalks" and "Sidewalks 2."

All sessions are free and meet in the Baggage Room of the Depot at the Museums of Lisle Station Park, 921 School St.

• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. E-mail her at