In the early 1900s, Lombard philanthropist William R. Plum and his wife Helen toured Europe and fell in love with lilacs. They purchased two lilac bushes in France and brought them back to their home at Park and Maple in Lombard.
Over the following twenty years, the Plums traveled the world and increased their lilac collection to over 200 varieties. Upon his death in 1927, Plum gave his property to the Village to be used as the first public park - Lilacia Park - and his home to be used as the first public library. This generous act of philanthropy permanently established the Lombard Park District, the Helen M. Plum Memorial Library, and Lombard as “The Lilac Village”.
Renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen designed Lilacia Park. He moved Colonel Plum's hundreds of lilac bushes from their original rigid rows into a more natural placement around the park. Jensen added green space for gatherings, flagstone paths and benches, and thousands of tulips to create a beautiful park for the community.
Lilac Time celebrations began in 1930 to officially open Lilacia Park. Early festivities included grand pageants/plays with several hundred participants.
To learn more about Colonel Plum's legacy and Lilac Time, take a Heritage Tour of Lilacia Park during Lombard's Lilac Time in May.
Purchase souvenirs at the Carriage House. Available year-round.
- 1930s posters by Lombard artist Charles Medin
- Lombard's Lilac Time books
- Purple scarves and socks
- Parade blankets with lilac photo
- Wooden ornaments
Lombard Historical Society collects, preserves, interprets and promotes the history of Lombard.
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