Forty Years Ago

To sleep, perchance to dream. To dream of those years of affordable houses. Like the one advertised for sale on p.19 of the July 29, 1965 Review: “SELDOM IN FOREST PARK is there such a nice bungalow available as the one at 842 Thomas. Two bedrooms down, one up”large living and dining rooms, modern kitchen and bath, full basement with new wiring, new heating plant, air conditioning, 2-car garage”all on an airy 36′ lot. Close to the Park, Field Stevenson and St. Bernardine school and the CTA. A fair deal at $22,000.” To sleep, perchance to dream. Then to wake to harsh reality.

There was a potpourri of short-shot events in the same issue. These were happenings ten years before 1965, (as in 1955). The Ordnance Lounge at 7427 Roosevelt, was raided for gambling activities. Mayor Vernon Reich revoked their license. The tennis courts were flooded for ice skating (in July?). The Forest Theater was giving away free passes. Calcagno’s opened their modern food market at 439 DesPlaines. Forest Park was the first suburban public school system to give polio shots in the schools. Ed O’Shea was appointed village attorney at age 28. All streets became one-way except Circle, Harrison, DesPlaines and Harvard. Voters approved construction of the Proviso West High School.

From the August 1965 issues of the Forest Park Review.


Thirty Years Ago

And the walls came tumbling down…the accompanying photo conveys a lot of history and lore. In July of ’75, over a period of one day, came the razing of our old village hall. Shown witnessing the demolition was Mayor Howard Mohr. A lot of memories were recalled by Mohr and other residents. His grandfather had served as mayor of Forest Park when the structure went up in 1915.

Maybe in compensation, a cache of historical treasures was taken from the building’s cornerstone. Among other contents, the time capsule contained membership lists of such village organizations as the Businessmen’s’ Association, the Knights and Ladies of Honor, the Eagles, the Knights of Pythias and the Harlem Maennercour. Plus a great photo of the 1915 police force.

Editor Larry Kaercher remarked that, “The village’s record books will show the names of elected or appointed city servants and much of the recorded business done over the years.” “However,” said Kasercher, “it can never recapture the conversations, held in the building’s hallways. Some of the ‘in-talking’ had to have been humorous, some sad and a lot downright incredible.”

From the August 1985 issues of the Forest Park Review.


Twenty Years Ago

A quick list of local movies showing in the area may or may not ring a bell. In the order given, they are: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off … The Manhattan Project … Back to School Again … Top Gun … and last as well as least … Legal Eagles.

It was flame, not the wrecking ball, that claimed a vacant home at 315 S. Harlem as firefighters from five area departments poured water on the fire from all sides. The home was one of five structures, including Parky’s Hot Dogs, awaiting demolition for the strip mall now occupying the site. The blaze was judged by Chief Robert Hodges to be of suspicious origin. The story hinted that there might be more than just suspicion because several smaller blazes had recently been set at the location. By the time firefights arrived at 4 a.m. the fire was out of control. Before 8 a.m., the fire was out.

From the July/Aug. issues of the Forest Park Review.


Ten Years Ago

Heat, hotness, humidity, Hades, Hell”and any other H-word”would hardly describe it. The sizzling summer of ’95 was hot, hotter, and hottest! Community Center Director Cindy Lyons said the village was still under emergency heat relief after a power surge knocked out electricity on a Sunday afternoon, making it a regular William Faulkner fryer. This was a killer summer here, in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Rather than search for adjectives, illustrations and metaphors, I’ll turn it over to a world class writer, the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, who described another hellish spell of torrid heat on the island of Elba.

“Oh, oh, oh, the heat! It comes round corners at you like an animal with windmill arms. As I enter my bedroom, it stuns, thuds, throttles, spins me round by my soaking hair, lays me flat as a mat on my boiled and steaming bed. Cold beer is bottled God.”

That’s heat! That’s a writer! (From Dylan Thomas, The Collected Letters.)

From the August 1995 issues of the Forest Park Review.