The 7 Wonders

 History Resources

Structural Memorials

Lost and Found

Tours of
Mount Prospect

Essays on
Mount Prospect

Other Sources
On People
On Buildings
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The Central School 


Mount Prospect: La Historia De Tu Comunidad



History Projects For Anyone

Most of the projects below are simple activities that require only imagination and a basic understanding of the the history of Mount Prospect. If you would like a refresher on the history Mount Prospect, you can go to our History page and review a short history of the community. Most of the project below will work best if they are printed out.

Picture History

Letter From the Frontier

My Family's History

Fill in the Blanks

Make a Flag

Santa Claus

















Picture History of Me in Mount Prospect                       Top


Pictures can help people understand what life was like in the past. If you make drawings for these questions you will be making history for the future. Save these drawings and then you can look at them many years from now and see your history in Mount Prospect. 






Drawing of me






Drawing of my family








Drawing of my house








Drawing of my favorite place in Mount Prospect









Drawing of something I like to do in Mount Prospect




















Letter From the Frontier                                                 TOP

 Pretend you wake up but are no longer living in the 21st century. Instead, you are living in 1840. Your family just moved to Mount Prospect and the log cabin that you are living in is almost completed.    

You wake up when the sun rises. As you get off of the straw mattress you were sleeping on, you realize it is very cold. You get dressed and slip on a pair of shoes that have holes in the soles. You have walked a lot in them, and you wish you had a new pair; however, there is no shoemaker in the area. You will have to order them from a catalog and it will be weeks before they are delivered. As you unlatch the front door and look out, you see a wide-open area. You can see your closest neighbor's house, but other than his house all you can see is open spaces. You notice that a lot of the leaves have changed colors and have fallen off the trees. The leaves are being blown around in the wind. Since it is very cold, you walk back into the cabin. Your father bursts through the door with a bundle of wood. After the fire is lit, you begin to get warm and sit down at the table. On the table is a letter you wrote to a friend a few days ago that you have not mailed yet. But it rained yesterday and some of the rain came through the roof and washed away some of the ink on your letter. Since you have a little time before you have to do your chores, you pick up your pen, dip it into the ink, and begin to fill in the areas that have been washed out. 

Use your imagination to think of how life was in this area in 1840, and fill in the letter below. Go back to the history page if you have to and read it again to review. 


September 24, 1840


Dear _______________

I have not seen you in quite a long time.  Our journey to Illinois was _____________
__________. My family and I traveled here by taking a boat all the way from____________ to _____________________. We then decided to come here on the _____________.  It took _______ weeks to get to Illinois. I was so exhausted from all of that traveling, I slept for a whole day when we finally arrived in the growing city of _____________. My parents decided to continue to go a little farther west, because my father met a man who told him that __________________________. Turns out he was right. When we saw the land here, we could not believe our luck.

Living here was very hard at first; I was used to the comforts of _____________________.  Now, my nearest neighbor is _______________. Two weeks ago we ran out of ________________ and had to go to _______________to get more of it. Life here in Illinois is different from where we grew up because ___________________ ___________________________________________________. You will have to excuse me, I have to go now and finish _________________. I hope to hear from you soon. Tell me how your plans _________________ are going. Please give my regards to your family and if you happen to see _____________, tell him _____________________

__________________________________ .

Your Friend



















MY FAMILY'S HISTORY                                            Top

History exists everywhere. There is history in you house, in your school and all around in your village. Answering the questions below will help you to write the history of your family. It may be a good idea to talk to your parents about this because you may not know all the answers.




My Name


I was born on _______(month/day/year) in______________________(city/state/country)


My family moved to Mount Prospect in ____________. My family has lived in this area


for _________years.


My Brother(s)                                                                                            My Sisters

__________________                                                                               ______________

__________________                                                                               ______________

__________________                                                                               ______________




My Mother                                                                                    My Father

            ________________                                                                    ________________


She was born in ______________                                            He was born in ________________


Grandfather    Grandmother                                                       Grandmother    Grandfather 

__________  _____________                                                  ____________   __________


They lived in ___________________                                       They lived in __________________


My favorite place in Mount Prospect is _______________________________________.


My favorite thing to do is __________________________________________________.


I go to ____________________ School and am in _____ grade.


















Fill in the Blanks                                                                                        Top

Fill in the spaces in the sentences with words from the list below. After you use a word, cross it off. After you have filled in all the blanks, use the remaining words to make your own sentence. 


Long before the first s _ t_ _ _r came to this area all the land was covered by

g _ _ c _ _ _ s. The movement of these gave the land its shape and the richness of the soil.


The first people to live in the area are now called N_ _ _v_  _m_ _ i _ _ _ s. They raised food and hunted large animals like the bu_ _ _l_.


When the first Yankees came to this area it was known as the f _ _ _ t _ _ r.


Soon after the Yankees built homes here a second group of residents moved to Mount Prospect. Most of them came from _ _ r _ a _ y.


When the railroad was first built in Mount Prospect a person had to signal the

_ r _ _ n for it to stop. This was called a _ l _ g stop.


What is now Mount Prospect was once a part of  _ _ k Grove Township.


The man who named Mount _ _ o _ p _ _ t was named Ezra _ _ g _ _ s _ _ n.


Mount Prospect was incorporated as a _ _ l l _ g_ in 1917.


Many people who came to this area wanted _ a _ d that they could own.


Most of the _ a _ms in the area raised mushrooms, o _ _ o _ s and dairy goods.


After World War II Mount Prospect developed as a s _ b _ _ b of Chicago.


Lutheran                         Elk                                           Germany

railroad                           Native American                       Busse

train                                friendliness                               flag

deer                                  buffalo                                   Prospect

settler                              prairie                                     onions

cabbage                          farms                                       land  

suburb                            frontier                                     village

glaciers                           Eggleston                                 prospect






















Make a Flag                                                              Top

        Now that you know a little about the history of Mount Prospect, you will design a flag that you think represents this community. You can design and color the flag however you want, but keep in mind your drawing must show something about what took place here in Mount Prospect. For example, a train or a train station would make sense, while a castle would not. Think of things to draw that can symbolize or represent Mount Prospect. Keep the entire history of Mt. Prospect in mind as you work on it. You can start with the box below, or ask your teacher for extra paper.






















How Santa Claus Became American              Top

 Directions: Santa Claus and many parts of the traditional American holidays did not originate in America.  Every immigrant group that came to America brought with them their own holiday celebrations, slowly over time various parts of those celebrations were joined together to create what we know has the traditional American holiday.  You will be given holiday traditions from those various immigrant groups and you will have to figure out which of those traditions are still practiced today.


Santa Claus

Legend has it that the real Saint Nicholas threw gold coins into the window of a poor family to provide them with money they needed for a dowry to have their daughters married. If they were unable to provide money for the marriage, their daughters faced the possibility of slavery.  Saint Nicholasí charity apparently happened many more times. Saint Nicholas would sometimes throw the coins down the chimneys of houses where he could find no open window.  This often resulted in the coins he threw falling into stockings that were hung by the fire to dry.  Saint Nicholas would usually wear a red and white bishops robe and arrive on a donkey on December 6th, his religious feast day.  Saint Nicholas usually had gifts of fruit, nuts, hard candy, and wood and clay figurines.  In Austria Saint Nicholas would travel with an assistant known as Krampus.  He would bring a rod for parents to punish bad children with. 

 What parts of Saint Nicholas were used to create the American version of Santa Claus? 





Decorating Trees

The oldest report of an evergreen tree being decorated for the holidays dates back from 1419.  The tree was decorated by a bakery that used apples, wafers, nuts, gingerbread, cheese, and sausage for village children to take from the tree.  Decorating the tree inside of the home began around 1600.  One of the first types of ornament used was a pickle, which was a symbol of good luck.  The first child to find the pickle in the morning got a special present.  Glass ornaments made their first appearance in a German village around 1840.  These glass ornaments began just as simple balls but as glass blowers became more skilled they began to use molds to make ornaments in such shapes as pinecones.  German mercenaries are said to have brought the idea of decorating evergreen trees to the U.S during the Revolutionary War, with Franklin Pierce being the first president to set up a tree inside the White House.

What parts of the tree decorating traditions do we still use today?




Holiday Food

If the weather were cold enough before the holiday season then families would butcher a hog for holiday dinner.  This was a joyous and social occasion for families.  Staple foods such as potatoes, dumplings, kraut, and soup would be served along with the fresh pork.  December 24th used to be a day of fasting in Catholic areas so fish was served on that day.  In the middle of the 19th century Wiener Schnitzel, red or white cabbage, and Sauerkraut slowly became part of the holiday tradition.  Beer and cider were favorite holiday drinks.  When the weather wasnít cold enough for pork families would have goose for the holidays.  The goose could be used for a variety of purposes, meat, stuffing for pillows and beds, quills for writing, and their feathers were sometimes even used to make fake Tannenbaums.  The German Stollen, a fruitcake shaped with tapered ends and a center ridge, is a traditional holiday dessert. The shape is meant to be symbolic of Baby Jesus.  Gingerbread was first cooked in monasteries throughout Germany. Nuremberg, a major international trade center, became the first place where it was made outside of monasteries. With all the trade flowing through the town the taste for gingerbread spread across Europe and beyond. This traditional food came across the Atlantic with German immigrants and first appeared in the Midwest around 1814.

What type of food is still served today during the holidays?