Prairie Trails to Strange Tales Beer Glass

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Prairie Trails to Strange Tales "McHenry County Earliest Years" Commerative Beer Glass


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Hop aboard the wagon and join the McHenry County Historical Society for a craft beer tasting and to view its latest exhibit, "Prairie Trails to Strange Tales: McHenry County's Earliest Years."

McHenry County was a challenging and often dangerous place in the early 19th century. A rugged landscape, wild animals and Native Americans -- many of whom already had been forced off their ancestral lands to the east -- awaited these "greenhorns" unaccustomed to carving out a livelihood on the prairie.

Several small pioneer communities were established in McHenry County during the 1840s and 1850s. Pioneers were enticed by creek sites, which could be dammed to provide power for sawmills. Not only was oak timber abundant, but fertile prairie suitable for crops spanned McHenry County. Pioneer communities such as Barreville, Brookdale, and Ostend seemed to have bright futures in the 1860s and 1870s. However, when the railroad chose to locate elsewhere, the hope of economic growth and prosperity went with it.

Learn about these McHenry County "ghost towns" in their heyday and what remains of them today. Discover stories about several pioneer families, many who are buried in McHenry County's earliest cemeteries. The early history of McHenry County also chronicles many types of foul play including the first murder in the county.