Nowadays, we keep in touch with family, friends, and business associates, make medical appointments, do our shopping, and arrange our social calendars through cell phones, tablets, and computers, all known as our “devices,” on an almost minute-by-minute basis.
How quickly have we forgotten our more thoughtful and leisurely ways of communication amongst ourselves? Many older people resist turning everything over to the online wizards, but their children and especially their grandchildren hardly know how to address and mail a letter.
In this light, it is eye-opening to realize that 100 years ago and more, the daily lives of residents were recorded in local newspapers, especially those of small towns like Barrington. The earliest known issue of the Barrington Review from 1889, online at the Barrington Area Library, had a section called “Local Gleanings.” The activities of village residents, numbering then about 800, their social and church events, their illnesses, the births and marriages, appeared in short paragraphs, recording even those who boarded the Chicago and Northwestern Railway into Chicago or northwestward towards Crystal Lake. Deaths mostly received longer reports.
The Review was founded by Miles Lamey. His office, on the second floor of his brother Dan’s lumber business on North Cook Street, where the Commons entrance is now, had a clear view of the station platform, then on the Park Avenue side of the tracks. Did he note when Mrs. X boarded the train to visit her sister in Chicago?
These snippets appeared under different headings, well into the 20th century. As the population increased, and communities grew beyond the village limits, neighborhood columns covered the surrounding areas. Columns were later written by local residents. While the content might now mirror your latest text message, back then, an event only appeared in the newspaper, several days later.
But for all our technology, there has never been a substitute for person-to-person communication over the garden wall!
Barbara L. Benson grew up in Kent, England, and later moved to New York. She settled in Barrington and has walked with our history ever since she first arrived here in 1980.
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