Lake County History Symposium

  • Symposium poster

Immigrant Stories

Adlai E. Stevenson II Home, Mettawa
9 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 30
$10 adults, $5 ages 16 – 17, ($10 box lunch available purchased in-advance)

Open to the public, this annual symposium focuses on Lake County history. Join us for a fascinating series of presentations on this year’s theme, "Immigrant Stories."

WHO: Adults, youth ages 16 and up.

ADMISSION: $5 to $10 (Registration required)

INFORMATION FOR THE DAY: Presentations, opening, and closing remarks will take place in the Service Building.

 Self-guided tour and poster sessions will take place in the Adlai E.
Stevenson Historic Home.

There are public restrooms available in the Service Building and in the Stevenson Home during the tour.


 9:00 – 9:15 Opening Remarks

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. - Frederick Grabbe and Abana Spring Water
 by Jenny Barry, Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.
 Frederick Grabbe emigrated in 1845 from the Kingdom of Hanover at the age of three. Frederick would go on to serve in the Civil War, pioneer the floating apiary, and bring acclaim to Libertyville through his Abana Spring Water bottling company.

10:15 – 11 a.m. -  Polish Pioneers
 by James Lodesky, author.
 While researching his Polish ancestry, James Lodesky discovered that his great-great grandfather, Franciszek Wlodecki, was one of 234 Polish soldiers exiled to America in 1834. A number of the Polish exiles settled in Illinois and Lake County in the 1830s and 1840s. This is the story of their exile and settlement in a new world, and the presenter’s journey to uncover his family’s history.

11:15 – Noon  - The Irish Experience by 
Diana Dretske, Curator, Lake County Discovery Museum.
 The experiences of a select group of families from the “Irish Hills” of Newport Township will be the focus of this presentation on Irish immigration in the 1840s and 1850s. The origins of the Lake County’s numerous Irish place names will be included.

Noon – 1 p.m. -  Lunch 
on your own, or pre-registered boxed lunch.

1 to 2 p.m. - Guided Tour of Stevenson Home and Exhibits
Tour the Adlai E. Stevenson Historic Home, designed by Chicago architects Perkins, Wheeler and Will. The house was built in 1938 for prominent 20th century statesman Adlai E. Stevenson II. Currently on display in the house is the “Around the World in 180 Days: Adlai E. Stevenson II 1953 World Tour” photographic exhibit. Museum Educator Nicole Stocker will be on-site to answer questions.

Poster Sessions
 - This year’s posters will be formally presented from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Stevenson Home. They will also be viewable between presentations in the Service Building.

2:15 to 3 p.m.. - Boots on the Ground in Lake County by 
Ray Syverson & Julie Vollbrect, Ela Historical Society.
 The William Boot family came to Lake County from England in 1841, hoping to live out their American dream. But their experiences also included hardship and tradgedy: the loss of children, husbands, and a brutal murder.

3:15 to 4 p.m. - The Scots of Lake Forest
 by David Forlow, board member with the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff
 Historical Society.
 Lake Forest often brings to mind big houses with expansive lawns, but not many know the role that Scottish people played in the very founding of the town. Almost 1,000 native-born Scots lived or worked in Lake Forest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They helped build Lake Forest Hospital, Lake Forest High School, and were influential in companies such as Carson Pirie & Scott and Quaker Oats.

4 to 4:15 p.m. - Closing Remarks

Poster displays will be viewable between presentations in the Service Building and formally presented from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Stevenson Home.

Highwood – A Changing Community
 by Teta Minuzzo, president of the Highwood Historical Society. 
During its early founding in the mid-1800s, Highwood included residents from Ireland, Scandinavia and Germany. Later, in the 1920s, an influx of immigrants arrived from Italy. Major change occurred again in the mid-1900s with residents arriving from Mexico and other Hispanic countries.

Oliver Croydon, Stained Glass Artist with Cindy Graff & Dan Smith, Wauconda Township Historical Society.
 Oliver Croydon and his family came from London, England. He was
 a renowned stained glass artist and painter during the 1920s and
1930s. Many of his works can be seen in local places today in Lake

Destination Deerfield!
Donna-Marie Stupple, Deerfield Area Historical Society.
Our first settlers came from Ireland, Alsace (Germany), and New England by covered wagon and sailing ships, meeting challenges and adventures on the way. Here are some of their stories. For additonal details click HERE.

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