Greetings From Kankakee: A Picture Postcard View Of Old Kankakee

 
9780982408032: Greetings From Kankakee: A Picture Postcard View Of Old Kankakee
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Greetings From Kankakee is a book of full-color views from picture postcards of the first half of the twentieth century, an era when picture postcards were a common form of communication. The pictures are reproduced on high quality stock and are enlarged from the originals. The book is a beautiful look at Kankakee, Illinois, in a bygone era.

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About the Author:

Jim Ridings graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in journalism. He worked on daily newspapers in Ottawa and Aurora, Illinois, and won awards for investigative reporting at both newspapers. He has authored more than a dozen books of local history, which have won awards from the Illinois State Historical Society and the Illinois Humanities Council. He lives in Herscher, Illinois.

Review:

We have said before that this is the golden age of Kankakee County history. More good work, more local history has been published in the last five years than in the 50 before it. Jim Ridings' latest book deals with postcards. Hardbound and 256 pages, Kankakee Makes Good is his second in the postcard series. There are lots of great cards detailing the InterState Fair, boating on the river, the courthouse, city hall, the post office and many of the standards you would expect. Strictly speaking, though, Ridings' book is not just a book of postcards. There's a two-page panoramic view of the laying of the cornerstone at the Kankakee County Courthouse in 1909. That's rare but has been seen before. What hasn't been seen are four pages of color photos of Richard Nixon campaigning. The pictures were shot on slide film by Russell Mau of Herscher and are seen publicly for the first time anywhere. Some other highlights: You get to see what the first floor of the current Kankakee County administration building looked like before they slabbed it up with sterile stone sheets. Although I've heard about the Pere Marquette Tree, Ridings provides the first color-tinted photo of it that I've seen. There's a good explanation of the unused rock piers in the river. A postcard shows three German churches in Kankakee. All later lost their German name in the frenzy of World War I propaganda. On page 35 a photo clearly shows tracks six lanes wide at the Illinois Central depot; I had always heard five but photos are a great historical resource. Although there have been photos of the Electric Park rollercoaster before, Ridings has the best view of the scene. There's a tinted photo of the Gelino Brothers Dept. Store, where the lions that guard today's library once stood. The book is full of little nuggest like that. Ridings does a good job not only explaining what is in the photograph but explaining what happened to the building and what might be on the site today. ---- Phil Angelo, Kankakee Daily Journal, Nov. 17, 2007

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