These books are available for free download in various formats at Open Library .Org
The First Hundred Years by John Volp
The Blue Island Story published by the BI Publishing Co.
 
Or download the .PDF version here:
The First Hundred Years
The Blue Island Story ~ 1835 - 1962


The book History of Cook County Illinois published by Weston Goodspeed and Daniel Healy in 1909 is also available as a free download from Google Books.
You can download the PDF version here.
 
Excerpt from: History of Cook County Illinois - A general survey of Cook County history, including a condensed history of Chicago and special account of districts outside the city limits; from the earliest settlement to the present time. 
 
Calumet town was created in 1862 and the first election was held at the store of Gorris Van der Syde in Washington Heights. Of this meeting Benjamin Sanders served as moderator and O. G. Kyle as clerk. Thomas C. Morgan was first supervisor. Albert Krueger, clerk; T. F. McClintock, assessor; Charles Ellfieldt, collector; George Luctemeyer and A. B. Wheeler, justices. At first the town included Worth, but later the latter was set off and given an independent organization. In the original Calumet town were the villages of Blue Island, Washington Heights, Morgan Park and several others established at a later date. 
 
The settlement at Blue Island was one of the earliest in the county. As early as 1835 settlers located on what is at this date the town site of Blue Island. Peter Barton platted the village and he was soon followed by other residents. It is said that Peter Barton kept a store on Western avenue as early as 1837. Norman Rexford was another early resident of this locality. Jermanicus Cally was here as early as 1839. Horus Mann, Carlton Wadhams and others were early residents. Blue Island received its name from the fact that it was a high strip of land mostly covered with timber standing about five or six feet above the low prairie which surrounded it. It thus had the appearance from a distance of an island. Norman Rexford settled at the upper side of the island in 1835. He was really the first settler on the present site of Blue Island. Stephen Jones was another early settler of this vicinity. John Britton was here as early as 1837 and kept a blacksmith shop. Henry Robinson platted a part of Blue Island at an early date, as did also Carlton Wadhams. Mr. Rexford kept the Blue Island house, which was well known in early years. Even as late as 1850 deer could be killed within a few miles of Blue Island. Early in the '40s Richard Bingle settled not far from the place. Benjamin Sanders was a resident quite early. In 1838 Norman Rexford became postmaster there. He was succeeded by Henry Robinson and others. The village of Blue Island was not organized until after the Civil war. At that date the township of Calumet was reorganized. In 1872 the question was again revived of organizing the village. A petition was duly presented to the County Board for that purpose. The first election was held at the house of Gottlieb Klien. Christian Krueger, Henry Bertrand and Hart Massey were judges of this election. Ninety-nine voted for village organization and thirteen against the same. The first trustees were Richard McClaughry, Ludwig Krueger, Jacob Allpe, Walter Roche and Benjamin Sanders. Soon after this the trustees met and formed laws and regulations. George Luctemeyer was first president of the trustees; Charles Trap, clerk; Herman Schmidt, treasurer, and Marshall Arnold, justice of the peace. 
 
The first public school building was erected in Blue Island about 1848-49. It stood on Vermont street near Maple avenue. After ward it was used as a residence. Daniel Barnard, Mr. Hamilton and Miss Perkins were early teachers in the old building. The first Sunday school held in Blue Island assembled in this school building in 1849. The next school building was erected in 1855 and was a much larger and better house. The Normal school at Blue Island was established in 1867. with Professor Wentworth as principal. At this date Mr. Wentworth was one of the principal instructors in the county. He took part in the old teachers' institute held late in the '50s and early in the '60s. Many sessions of the old institute were held at Blue Island because this was considered one of the leading educational centers of the county. 
 
At a very early date religious societies began to hold services at Blue Island. Several of the earliest meetings were held in schoolhouses. The Methodist Episcopal people had an organization as early at least as 1865, and their first structure was erected about that date. The German Methodists of Blue Island organized a short time before with a membership of about thirty-seven. This society embraced the district included in what was then known as Blue Island, Sand Ridge and Oak Park. Rev. T. Koppe was the first pastor. The first building was erected in 1865. Another Methodist society was organized in 1873, most of the members previously having been attendants of the Congregational church. This organization began with about twenty-four members. The German Evangelical Lutherans had an organization early in the '60s. Rev. Mr. Ranniker was the first pastor. A Congregational society organized in 1861 with Rev. Henry Hammond as temporary supply. He was succeeded by Lemuel Foster. The .Catholics had organized as early as 1854 and St. Bernard's church was erected by them in 1861. Father Beda, a. Benedictine from Chicago, was assigned to this church at the start. A school was established about the time of the organization of the church. Universalists held meetings at the schoolhouse as early as 1849. The Rexfords were among the members. They first held meetings in Mass hall and later in the schoolhouse. Masonic and Odd Fellow societies were organized in the '60s and early in the 70s. Blue Island has had several newspapers. The Herald was established in 1873 and was succeeded by the Daily Press. A little later a paper called the Standard was established. The Blue Island edition of the Chicago Sun was another. The Standard Herald was conducted here for a short time. The water works of Blue Island was one of the important improvements made during the '70s. When completed it furnished the citizens with an abundance of pure water. Previous to this date water was secured from wells. 
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