CELEBRATING HINSDALE’S SESQUICENTENNIAL
By Michelle Crowe
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN MCLEOD
By Michelle Crowe
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IAN MCLEOD
In 1901, a mere 28 years after Hinsdale was founded, Reverend Dr. David S. Johnson, pastor of the Presbyterian church, asked for a release from his post. In his statement, he bemoaned the village as solely, a “pleasure-loving, club-going and golf-playing community.”
It’s amusing to think how long that reputation has plagued residents. In reality, people who call Hinsdale home are hardworking, civic-minded, and quick to volunteer.
The Village of Hinsdale is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year. After 150 years, it is more vibrant than ever and filled with people who care about keeping it a special place. Even the good reverend would likely be proud of this jewel of a community, though residents remain fond of lively fundraisers and rounds of golf.
Hinsdale was incorporated on April 1, 1873, with Judge Joel Tiffany serving as the first President. Today President Thomas K. Cauley Jr. and a dynamic Board of Trustees; Scott Banke, Neale Byrnes, Laurel Haarlow, Michelle Fisher, Matthew Posthuma, and Luke Stifflear keep the village strong.
“What an incredible time to contribute to the legacy of this wonderful place we call home,” says Cauley, who has devoted more than a decade of service to his role.
“We believe in guiding the Village well now, so it remains a place where the next generation wants to return to when they have families of their own,” says Fisher.
Haarlow adds, “We are dedicated to preserving and enhancing this unique and special village.”
The camaraderie of the Board of Trustees is obvious as they interact, greeting one another warmly before a recent meeting. Their shared commitment to stewardship of the village can serve as an example for all residents.
“Thankfully, we are a pretty amicable group,” Posthuma concurs about the Board of Trustees.
Between the leadership of the Board, in particular Trustees Fisher and Burns, and the vision of the Village Manager’s office, Memorial Hall is buzzing as officials plan several special events to celebrate 150 years.
Signs of the anniversary are popping up all over town. The official proclamation event will happen on May 2, 2023, when local and state dignitaries will gather to mark the momentous moment.
Independence Day is one of the best days of the year every year in Hinsdale. During this extra special year, it’s going to be over-the-top amazing.
“We want people to celebrate their own history. Whether that’s through an organization or simply within their own family, we hope to see more groups than ever march in the parade. Think about your own history, the history of a business, individuals. How has that helped shape the village? So many groups have made positive impacts on the community, and we hope each will celebrate the stamp they have placed on the village and have made Hinsdale such a desirable place to live and visit,” says Andrianna Peterson, Assistant Village Manager.
Peterson encourages Hinsdale Central High School student groups and alumni, local merchants and restauranteurs, youth sports organizations, scouts, clubs and auxiliaries, families, and neighbors to plan a float, don costumes, and otherwise celebrate their contributions. For those who would like to have a float, the village will work to match groups with resources to create the best parade ever.
The second summer event is planned to be a light show projected onto Memorial Hall, likely in August. Inspired by the fun of Walt Disney World and the cool artistic vibes of The Merchandise Mart, this multi-generational experience is a perfect example of honoring the past while not being stuck in it. “We will capture the joy of summer and the excitement and anticipation of the start of school,” says Peterson.
Like Hinsdale’s Independence Day celebration, the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Walk and the Tree Lighting, which is a Village event, are beloved traditions that draw current residents, past residents, and visitors who love wholesome celebrations.
On December 1, 2023, the Tree Lighting will be even more dazzling than usual as village officials reveal a new courtyard area on the south side of Memorial Hall, complete with bricks that can be purchased and engraved with names and dates.
The bricks are another way for people with connections to Hinsdale to add their own history. The courtyard renovation will carry the legacy of the sesquicentennial forward for the next few decades.
In addition to these big events, villagers and visitors will have opportunities to mark the milestone in smaller ways. Restaurants might offer dishes that recall the past or drinks with special twists. The Hinsdale Police and Hinsdale Fire Department are wearing vintage badges this year.
Whether residents have been in Hinsdale for five generations or five months, this Sesquicentennial is everyone’s celebration. Staff and leaders at the Village of Hinsdale hope it is memorable and meaningful for every single person.