The Lemont Area Historical Society has generously offered to share photos and accompanying information with Patch readers each week, depicting people, places and things from the village’s storied past.
This week, the historical society shares the first official photo (published in The Optimist-News) of the beginning of mail routes in Lemont on Feb. 1, 1931. According to the newspaper, the scene marks “an important stage in the progress of our village development.”
“Ten years ago we were a provincial village, deep in the mud of our streets, and without much hope of ever getting out,” The Optimist-News wrote. “Today, we have the largest mileage of paved streets of any village in this section of the country; we have modern sewage, good water, a high school building that ranks among the best examples of its class, and other improvements of like kind and quality.”
The newspaper reported that in his inaugural address, delivered Dec. 30, 1929, Mayor Roy E. McCarthy had predicted the village would “soon procure the benefit of the mail delivery to which we are so fully entitled.”
But according to the newspaper, although the village had been clamoring for mail delivery for years and authorities from Chicago had given the official seal of approval for a post office in the village, the residents of Lemont were still not quite prepared to accept letters and packages at their homes.
“The people, so often fooled by previous effort in the same direction, refused to believe it and install their mail boxes and house numbers,” the newspaper reported.
The Optimist-News gave itself a pat on the back for helping the village obtain a post office, writing, “As always, The Optimist-News rose to the occasion and gave the post office many dollars worth of space in its columns for several weeks. At last the plea was heard, and the people complied in sufficient numbers to make it proper for the postmaster to say that we were ready for action.”
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Discover more about Lemont history at the historical society museum in the Old Stone Church at 306 Lemont St. The museum is open to the public and welcomes visitors. For more information, visit the LAHS web site at http://www.lemonthistorical.org/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lemont Area Historical Society also invites readers to share their photos of Lemont’s past, to be added to the LAHS archives.
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There are plenty of ways to keep up on Lemont news: