Village Museum Hosts Chicago History Presentation at Hostert Log Cabins

Village Museum Hosts Chicago History Presentation at Hostert Log Cabins
Posted on 08/16/2018

Chicago Actor and Historian Joseph Geringer returns to Orland Park on Saturday, August 18 to present "Fort Dearborn: the Beginning of Chicago." Hosted by the Village of Orland Park History Museum, the presentation is an endorsed Illinois Bicentennial event.

"Historians know about the important role that Fort Dearborn played in Chicago's history," said Village Trustee Kathy Fenton, village board liaison to the museum. "It will be interesting to hear the many inside stories that Mr. Geringer shares about the era and its significance in the development of the region."

Weather permitting, Geringer's 1 p.m. presentation will be held at the Hostert Brothers Log Cabins at 14671 West Avenue, in Orland Park. If it rains, the presentation will be held at the history museum at 14415 South Beacon Avenue.

"I talk about the daily life of pioneers in early 'Checagou', the settlement across the river from Fort Dearborn that eventually becomes Chicago," Geringer explained. "I cover everything from what the populace ate, how they dressed, what they did for fun and how well they got along with the local Potawatomi Indian Tribe. I spotlight the main players and the roles they played."

Tickets may be puirchased online and are currently available at the museum, 14415 South Beacon Avenue, and at Recreation Administration, 14600 South Ravinia Avenue. The cost is $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members.

A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The program will be moved to the museum in the event of inclement weather. Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs.

The Hostert Log Cabins will be open for viewing after the presentation. Built by early Orland Park settlers, the Hostert Log Cabins are among the few such structures still standing in Cook County, according to the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency.

After emigrating from Luxembourg in the 1850s, Bernard and Jacob Hostert built the 10 by 12 foot cabins a mile west of Wolf Road and south of 143rd Street. The cabins were home to three generations of Jacob Hoster's family for about 100 years, according to a 1994 news story.

The cabins serve as a replica of life in those early years, showcasing Orland Park in its infancy.

"Orland Park is very proud of its rich history and for the museum to bring in a well-respected historian to bring these stories to life is exciting," Fenton said. "We will enjoy living history at Orland Park's Hostert Log Cabins."

"Life on the frontier was tough but fraternal," Geringer explained. "The races got along very well at first. Trying to paint a vivid picture for the audience, I focus on their daily lives, injecting little known interesting tidbits."

Geringer is an author, actor and historian who has spent more than 30 years researching. Born in St. Sabina Parish on Chicago's South Side, Geringer grew up in St. Bernadette Parish in Evergreen Park. He is a graduate of Leo High School and Saint Xavier University.

"I grew up with an Irish mother who drummed in my head the value and color of history," Geringer said. "When other kids were watching Huckleberry Hound or Yogi Bear, I was learning about the Roaring 20s or the Civil War from my mom."

"I also describe what happened where, comparing the location to the city we now know," Geringer said of his Fort Dearborn presentation. "For example, the Potawatomi village stood precisely where the Merchandise Mart stands today or the Burns farm spread was right where we now have the intersection of Halsted and Archer. That helps the viewer better relate and feel the story."

Geringer has presented for organizations throughout the Chicago area with one attendee calling his story "fascinating." Another person wrote, "I never knew all that went on right here in my hometown. Makes me look at our history in an all new light."

He last spoke in Orland Park in February when he presented "Capone vs Ness: The Real Story of the Untouchables" to a full house at the Beacon Avenue museum.

Further information about the August 18 presentation is available by calling the Village of Orland Park History Museum at 708/873-1622.

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