100 years of 'the personal touch'

Opinion: Editorials

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By Jill Wagner

One hundred years ago this week, the first Forest Park Review was published. The Review office was located at 7444 Madison, now Scratch Kitchen and Deli. The new publisher, Albert L. Hall and associate editor Mrs. Edith Heilmann took over the Proviso Weekly and The Forest Park, the precursors to the Review. In those early days of Forest Park, there were other news sources available — The Forest Leaves plus German newspapers.

It was the friendliness of the community and the support of businesses that enabled Albert Hall to start here, and after 100 years, the Forest Park Review has been published weekly for 5,200 consecutive weeks. 

The four-page newspaper cost $1 for an annual subscription which, when adjusted to today's rates would be $20.24 a year. Within two years, the annual subscription rate went up to $1.50 for a short time, until the Depression forced the rates — and the paper size — down. 

The inaugural issue covered the village council meeting, which passed a Vegetable Law (vendors would have to weigh vegetables on a scale to price them). The paper mentioned the Forest Park Amusement Park, gave updates from the war in Germany, covered a request for illumination on the north side of Madison Street between Burkhardt Court and Circle, and noted three men, two from River Forest and one from Maywood who were arrested in Forest Park and indicted on a "serious charge." 

Over the next 100 years the Forest Park Review would have different publishers and editors, starting with Albert L. Hall, followed by Claude Walker, Larry Kaercher, Bob Haeger and Dan Haley. Community features have included Personal Observations, Meet Your Forest Park Policeman, New Neighbors Club, From the Pages (a decade by decade look back on the news) compiled by Nancy Purcell and later Bob Sullivan, Dr. James Murray's Your Writing Says, Sam Zussman's Sports Shots, reporting by Judy Baar Topinka, and for over 45 years, Jackie Schulz's Talk of the Town. 

News has featured stories on elections, the park district pool and ice skating rink, schools, new business, old business, hometown heroes, pinball machines, video gambling, churches, history, recreation, civic organizations, thank-you letters, upcoming events and obituaries

The Forest Park Review continues to be the paper with the personal touch, and brings Forest Parkers closer to their hometown and helps them engage in the community conversation. 

Join us at the Casket Races on Oct. 28 for a birthday party with games and treats. Our Casket Party will start just before the races, at 10 a.m. Beloit and Madison. 

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Jean Lotus from Denver  

Posted: October 22nd, 2017 7:26 PM

Happy Birthday FPR! What an achievement to cover the town for an entire century. Newspapers are the 'first draft of history,' but FPR is part of Forest Park's history too. Fifty-two hundred weeks! Amazing.

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