Next Tuesday, WTTW Channel 11 will feature the debut of a new documentary, “Chicago’s western suburbs: From prairie soil to prairie style.”
The broadcast, which will air at 7:30 p.m. on March 7, is described as “a journey through the historic western suburbs. It is the latest in a series of similar “TV Tours” by host Geoffrey Baer.
According to Rich Vitton of the Forest Park Historical Society, who was interviewed by the show’s producers, the program will include information on Forest Park during the temperance era when Forest Park, then known as Harlem, refused efforts to join neighboring Oak Park and River Forest in becoming a “dry” town.
The program will feature historical photographs of several Madison Street saloons, said Vitton.
The documentary, Vitton said, will also feature shots of Forest Park’s numerous cemeteries, including the monument to Chicago’s Haymarket martyrs at Forest Home Cemetery. Famed women’s rights and labor rights pioneer Emma Goldman is buried at the cemetery alongside the monument.
The show also features shots of several elephant statues at Woodlawn Cemetery which mark a mass grave for over 50 circus employees who were killed in a 1918 train wreck near Hammond, Ind.
The program highlights nearly 40 other villages in the western suburbs in addition to Forest Park, with a “tour route” designed to follow the tracks of some of the Chicago area’s oldest rail lines.
According to a press release from the show’s producers, “the tour begins in Cicero and proceeds westward along the Burlington Line, Chicago’s second oldest railroad. At Naperville we leave the train and head north along the DuPage River to West Chicago. There we board Chicago’s oldest railroad, popularly remembered as the Chicago and Northwestern for our return journey eastward. The tour ends in Oak Park.”
For those who miss next week’s broadcast, the program will air again on March 12 and also March 20 at 7 p.m.