Old Postcards of Naperville

Today, the fastest way to get in touch with someone is through a text, email, or even a phone call. At the turn of the 20th century, the fastest way was sending a postcard.

“It was an integral way of communicating with folks,” said postcard collector Steve Hyett of Naperville. “We didn’t have photos and we didn’t have the technology today that is electronic.”

Hyett started collecting postcards when he worked for the city of Naperville as a community officer. Since then, he has collected more than 1,000 postcards that show the growth and history of Naperville.

“I found that there was so much history in this town,” said Hyett. “It wasn’t just the old buildings, but it was the people and stories. I love the stories.”

Postcards of Naperville and its landmarks soon became a popular subject when North Central College moved to Naperville from Plainfield in 1870. Then called North Western College, students from throughout the country wanted to send home postcards of their college town.

“It was a great trip down memory lane,” said Naperville resident Jack Stenger. “I graduated from there and my dad graduated from there back when it was North Western College.”

With the energy and interaction of a one-man show, Hyett turned back the clock for one night and gave audience members a trip through time.

“You just feel like you are there as he goes through these postcards,” said Naperville resident Sheila Clark. “The way he presents it all is so informative and so fun.”

Naperville has come from a small rural community to a bustling city and the postcards presented by Steve Hyett helped tell that story.


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