Welcome to an alternate Lockport in the year 1895. Here starts a fantastical story told through 41 collector cards. By using the story map, you will begin to unveil a dark tale that mixes a dash of history, a few historical Lockportians, and a very large dose of imagination. The cards are dispersed throughout the city at participating businesses and can be picked up during their posted business hours. The cards don’t have to be collected in order, but the story line begins with card #1 and ends with card #40. Card #41 is a bonus card only available at the Pop-up Shopping tent July 31 -Aug 2 in Downtown during the Summer Art Series Celebration Weekend.
Some characters are purely fictional, and ALL of the stories on each card are fantasy, but if you look at the bottom of the cards that have real people from Lockport on them, you will see that you can go to www.lockport.org/truestory to find their actual biographies.
The Scavenger Hunt begins June 19th and continues until September 25. FREE printed maps that include Card locations are available at the White Oak Library.
So the Story begins…
In the early 1830’s, dreamy eyed settlers from the east had arrived on the unbroken prairie of what would soon be known as Lockport. Because of a forty foot drop in elevation along the Des Plaines River, men with vision saw that they could harness nature and supply hydro-electric power for all their needs. Terrain thus fated Lockport to be the headquarters of the great I&M Canal – an inland waterway linking New York to New Orleans. The great engineers and self-made men of the day came to Lockport to transform the prairie into farms and the hillsides into a spectacular metropolis, a place where honest folk could make a living and enjoy the fruits of labor and invention.
But by 1895, the once promising and hopeful city of Lockport had fallen into darkness. It seemed the more men tried to force Lockport’s utopian aspirations, the more clouded the dream became. Altruistic beginnings had turned into selfish ambition and in the midst of the Gilded Age, Lockport became a city run by a reclusive tyrant and a ruthless plutocracy. The divide between those with and those without was ever widening and contention began to tear the fabric of the city.
However, this futility didn’t begin at the close of the 19th century.
The evil that undermines men’s desires to build towers to heaven by their own hand had beginnings much further back.
Many millennia earlier, there was another people known to history as the Mound Builders, who learned to do great things. Like the men and woman of today, they learned how to control the elements and bend materials to their will. The Mound Builders built spectacular cities filled with magnificent inventions, but in their pursuit of an elusive perfection, they were never satisfied. When their sciences advanced to the point where they could control time, the great inventors saw opportunities to cycle endlessly back in time to correct mistakes in the hopes of building a world through their own hand that had no faults. Every mistake could be corrected and life could be perfected. However, the more the time travelers worked to right wrongs, the more their arrogance grew. Eventually, there was no need, in their minds, to connect with that which created them and the evil of arrogance was born.
Evil became tangible. Real. It began to undermine the spiritual and physical world of the Mound Builders. Over time, people began to accept this evil without question, and eventually, it destroyed the Mound Builders till only one remained: The Sentinel.
As the world around the Sentinel began to crumble, this lone figure had an understanding of the evil that was overwhelming his people. He discovered a way to contain it, though not destroy it. It involved sacrifice of oneself; a desire to serve others for no other reason than to help. Alas, by the time the Sentinel fully understood, all was lost. As he lay over the lifeless body of his wife, he vowed to contain the evil. Submitting to the power of love, the evil coalesced into a living crystal. Though it would destroy him to handle it, the Sentinel took the Crystal and buried it, less it infect other peoples who still might roam the earth.