Arlington Heights celebrated the 125th anniversary of its incorporation Wednesday with the ringing of church bells and a reception for village officials, members of the Quasquicentennial Committee and sponsors who have donated to support the yearlong celebration.
Thanks to the sponsors, including those who bought "trains" that will be decorated and spotted around the village and banners that are being hung, no funds are coming from taxpayers, Village President Arlene Mulder said.
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An antiqued facsimile of the incorporation papers, complete with a small map showing the tiny village and signatures that include William Dunton, the village's founder, were displayed. Michael Mulholland, genealogist and local historian at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and Mike Driskell, the library's IT manager, traveled to the Cook County archives in Chicago and scanned the document for printing on paper that looks like parchment.
And residents attending the reception signed a "rededication" scroll that will join the incorporation papers on display at Village Hall.
"We are rededicating ourselves again to what this community is," said Lauree Harp, chairman of the anniversary committee. "We've gotten bigger; we've gotten newer, but we haven't really changed. We're still a community that cares about people, that cares about our library, that cares about our parks, that cares about our hospital."
The village had 1,200 "souls" in 1887, and the vote to incorporate was 126-34, Mulder said.
Harp said so far 30 trains have been sold, and they will go on display June 15 in a program similar to the 2000 Ponies on Parade. Half of the 75 custom banners have been hung, she said, and people can still purchase trains and banners.