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updated: 8/5/2013 9:10 AM

Forest preserve district finds new way to share history online

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DuPage Forest Preserve District submission

The DuPage County Forest Preserve District has added a new resource to its educational offerings, a channel on the website Historypin that shares photos and stories of days gone by in the forest preserves.

History buffs are invited to explore images of numerous forest preserves from a computer at or through free applications for smartphones.

Chris Gingrich, an education outreach specialist with the district, leads the project. The effort began with a desire to share the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps' work in DuPage County's forest preserves in the 1930s and the radar school that operated at McDowell Grove during World War II, and soon came to encompass other locations.

The web-based resource allows visitors to explore local history whenever and wherever they wish.

"By using a mobile device with the Historypin app, visitors can even see an old photo superimposed over the current view of the location. That's a powerful tool for putting history into context and I know it will get visitors excited about discovering our past," Gingrich says.

In fact, the mobile experience will serve as a platform for free history-themed tours at McDowell Grove in Naperville on Sept. 7 and Pioneer Park in Naperville on Sept. 21.

Gingrich also looks forward to seeing images that members of the public and other community agencies add to the site.

"The forest preserve district has been in existence for nearly a century. As we approach our centennial year in 2015, I know this resource will become a repository for the community's snapshots that tell the story of the forest preserves," he says.