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Princeton: Then and Now

Open house is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday

PRINCETON — Princeton’s historic homes and business buildings are being showcased in a new book that compares today’s buildings to how they looked 100 years ago.

The Bureau County Historical Society is spearheading the project as an update of a book first published in 1914, featuring dozens of Princeton’s homes, businesses and landmarks. At that time, the book was published by a group called the Princeton Commercial Club.

Bureau County Historical Society Director Pam Lange said the new book, “Princeton, the City of Homes: Then and Now,” features photographs from the original book alongside color versions of the same homes and businesses today. Also included in the new book are several rare photos of other Princeton locations as they were a century ago, she said.

The new book, approximately 150 pages, is printed and bound in the same style as the original volume, with a decorative cording and the same cover artwork with an updated title, Lange said. The limited print edition of only 200 books will be a collector’s item and will be introduced at a special open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bureau County Historical Society’s Newell Bryant Home — a stately Greek Revival house dating back to 1853, located at 634 S. Pleasant St. in Princeton. Refreshments will also be served.

Lange said she, Kathy O’Malley and Carolyn Workman worked on the new book for about a year. Books on Princeton and Bureau County history have always been popular with the public, and since the trio (O’Malley, Workman and Lange) all liked the original 1914 book, they decided to do a ‘then and now’ version of the book, she said.

On Thursday, O’Malley said it was a fun project which turned out well.

“Carolyn Workman, Pam Lange and I went out on a couple of photo safaris to photograph the homes in different light, at different times of day, and in different seasons, so we think we got the best of them,” O’Malley said. “The book itself is an exact reproduction of the original, right down to the hand-tied cord on the binding, and it’s so wonderful to see the love and care that so many of these homes have received in the last 100 years.”

People might be surprised to see that some of the original architectural details on some of the homes are no longer there, O’Malley said. Some rooflines have been changed, curiosities like a third floor window decoration are gone, and yet some of them look just the same, right down to the barn/garage behind the house, she said.

Lange agreed, saying she thinks people will be surprised at how Princeton has changed during the last 100 years, but also at how much remains the same. People who live currently in Princeton as well as former area residents will enjoy this book, she said.

Workman said, “I own one of the original books, and I just love it. I had always hoped we would do some kind of update on that book. I think the result is just great — fabulous.”

The public is invited to Sunday’s open house to get a first look at the new book. The books can also be ordered with a credit card through the museum’s website —, or by phone. As announced on the website, the cost is $25 per book plus $3.50 for shipping.

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