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Article updated: 6/18/2013 5:17 AM

'Through Another Lens' exhibit shows Libertyville of long ago

By Mick Zawislak

A neighborhood church this week will offer an old-school look at Libertyville, in hopes of connecting with visitors expected downtown for a trifecta of events.

After checking out classic fire trucks, selecting fresh produce, or listening to live music for lunch in Cook Park, visitors are invited to take a few more steps to St. Lawrence Episcopal Church at the west end of Church Street for "Through Another Lens," an exhibit depicting the life and times in Libertyville long ago.

Collections of postcards, some more than a century old, as well as black and white photos of student life from 1946 to 1950 at the former Libertyville Township High School, known as the Brainerd building, will be on display in the foyer of the church, 125 W. Church St., from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday; 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday; and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday.

Hours for "Through Another Lens" coincide with MainStreet Libertyville's Car Fun on 21, which is having its second display of the season, and the farmers market and Out to Lunch programs, which are debuting for 2013.

With so many community happenings just outside its front door, church leaders wanted to offer more than cocoa during the annual tree lighting ceremony or coffee during farmers market.

"It definitely came out of the congregation, a desire to integrate with the community," said Sue Montgomery, a parish administrator.

The church, which hosts theater groups and has incorporated jazz in some services, regards the slices of life depicted in the images as another part the local culture, she added.

"I think they'll be able to look back at the rich history this community has," she said.

Most of the postcards are a century or more old and are from the collection of Jim Moran, a village trustee and vice president of the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.

Moran began his collection about 12 years ago after seeing on eBay an early 1900s-era postcard of the Rockland Road bridge over the Des Plaines River, which he crossed often as a boy. He since has snared postcards with images of the downtown, churches, schools and other landscapes many with the original messages intact.

"Basically when you send a text message today, they sent a postcard," he said. "It's really neat."

Moran said most people aren't aware of the town's history and are "blown away" to learn details.

"It's a great opportunity to learn what Libertyville used to look like," he said.

The photos were taken at the high school by Richard Behan during his years as a student and yearbook photographer, but he moved away soon after. The Patricia Saam Cousins collection, named for Behan's high school sweetheart, was given to the Cook Memorial Public Library District after she died last year.

The images have been scanned and digitized and also are available on the Illinois Digital Archives.

"It gives you a picture of what it was like to live in Libertyville and be a student at the high school," said Arlene Lane, a retired reference librarian. "It just takes you back to a way of life."

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