Added: Jermaine Jetton - Date: 19.04.2022 01:26 - Views: 11409 - Clicks: 7987
Waukegan, situated just miles south of Sheboygan in Lake County, Illinois, was for decades a place where eloping was big business — there was no waiting, little cost and no questions were asked. The word "elope" dates back to , when it was defined as the act of a wife leaving her husband to run off with a new paramour. For centuries, prior to marrying, custom demanded that on the three Sundays prior to a marriage ceremony, the names of every couple be read aloud by the parish priest in order to give the public fair warning.
This was known as the reading of the banns. The intent here was to prevent bigamy or other illegal marriage. Perhaps the most famous marriage haven in the western world was Gretna Green, Scotland. Just two miles inside the Scottish border with England, it had extraordinarily liberal marriage laws. Almost anyone could legally conduct a marriage ceremony.
The town became famous for its blacksmiths or anvil priests who would marry couples for a dram of whiskey. One blacksmith wrote to the London Times in , boasting that he alone had performed around 3, marriages over 25 years. Marrying was indeed big business. Couples ventured south as early as the first decade of the s. The Sheboygan Press printed a recurring piece called Waukegan s because so many couples married in Illinois. Miss Selma Marohn of Sheboygan and Mr. Ira Kruizinga of Gibbsville married there in June An article in the Waukegan Daily Sun, dated Dec. Scores of Chicago couples who once went to Michigan to get wedded now choose between Crown Point, Indiana and Waukegan.
Marriage s doled out in averaged 17 a day with about eight marriages a day from Wisconsin. A record was set in June of with marriages. Why Waukegan? Waukegan, like Gretna Green, was the first town across the Illinois border from Wisconsin. No five-day waiting period was needed. It was a town that catered to young couples, making it easier for them to find love.
And why elope? Perhaps a couple was older, a second marriage, or it was a May-December couple wanting to avoid traditional clergy. Perhaps they wanted something small and inexpensive. They may have been a couple of mixed background, either racial or religious, or divorce may have been part of the formula.
No parental consent was needed. Justice of the Peace, Emil W. Lindvahl, seemed to be the star of Waukegan. His convenient marriage parlor was situated right between a photo studio and a tavern. The parlor, described as gloomy at best, with its walls a combination of dark red and battleship gray, did nothing to dampen the spirit of couples.
In the days before penicillin, syphilis was a major cause of blindness in newborns. A blood test was required in order to detect syphilis prior to marriage. Conveniently, Lindvahl had his own technician to alleviate waiting. The whole thing, from to blood tests to ceremony complete with pictures, could be done in three to four hours. Business was so competitive that justices, photographers and jewelers in the city vied for the attention of couples by bribing taxi drivers to steer couples their way.
In , Waukegan clergy publicly complained that men like Lindvahl were stealing their business, reducing the sacrament of marriage to mere business transactions. Marriage rules and regulations changed over time, and for a short period from to , Waukegan lost its status as the Gretna Green for Wisconsin.
Illinois, wanting to stem the tide of border crossing love, passed a law requiring three days wait before the issuance of a . In the years since, Las Vegas has surpassed Waukegan as a quick wedding destination. But, for thousands of Wisconsin couples, it remains the place where their lives together began, for better or worse. Facebook Twitter . Waukegan once go-to for Wisconsin eloping couples.Waukegan illinois wife.
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