Forty Years Ago

Snow. Twenty-six inches of it in 1967, kept coming down on Chicago and environs-the most in 35 years. It paralyzed traffic and shut down business, industry and schools. Cars couldn’t be dug out, trains were sidetracked and O’Hare was a quiet, eerie blanket of white. One of the environs, Forest Park, proved to be just about best at digging out and cleaning up. This is a fact, not a boast. Since the Big One, our Department of Streets has been the best in emergency snow removal throughout Chicagoland.

This filler found its way into the same issue: “The largest recorded snowflakes fell on Montana in 1887. They were 15 inches in diameter.”

From the Feb. 2, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

In a motion that surprised no one and was deemed appropriate by everyone, the village council voted unanimously to rename the community center the Howard R. Mohr Community Center. Village Clerk William McKenzie made the motion. He and Mohr had remained close friends since boyhood. The late mayor was the key figure in the center’s creation, which had been in operation since November 1974.

One good thing about winter weather-it tends to reduce crime. Low temps and heavy snow keep people at home, hence fewer break-ins. So, an almost clear docket resulted in a four-inch police report describing a “routine” burglary in which the door of an apartment at 208 Lathrop Ave. was kicked in and the interior ransacked. Exact amount of loss hadn’t been determined.

From the Feb. 2, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

More Laws from a guy named Murphy via a guy named Haeger: First, there’s Meskimen’s Law to remind us that “There is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.” In the matter of personal relationships there are ample pearls of wisdom to guide us. Canada Bill Jones’ motto points out that “It is morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.”

The same Canada Bill tells us, “Friends may come and friends may go, but enemies tend to accumulate.” Then there is Vonnegut’s Corollary: “Beauty may be only skin deep, but ugliness cuts to the core.” Not a law, exactly, but more of a misdirected slogan: “We’ve got to improve the quality of our mistakes.” Then there’s “A stranger is an enemy you haven’t made yet.” Finally, Damon Runyon’s realistic dictum: “In all of life, the odds are about 6-5 against.”

The oldest extent business in Forest Park? If you can call it a business, it’s the Altenheim Home. According to our village historian, Rich Vitton, it went up in 1868. Before that, the oldest business was the S. Berliner Monument Co. at 1126 S. Desplaines Ave. Begun in 1884, it was bulldozed and backhoe-loaded in the 1990s in favor of the row of town homes that now stand there.

The oldest house still standing is on the northeast corner of Dixon and Elgin streets, and was built in 1869 (same source).

From the Dec. 17, 1986, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

There was no one better to serve as library board president than Orrin Thorson. Period. (With a bow to Charles Brod, who did so much to give us our new library.)

From 1947 to 1986 Thorson gave all he had to our old library-and he had plenty to give. I had the pleasure of serving on the board with him for a few years early in the ’70s, and was continually impressed by the man’s dedication, knowledge and love for that institution.

Under his hand came two badly needed building additions as the old structure-formerly a private residence-strained to serve the community with an ever-expanding inventory.

This native of Norway, Ill., served nine years as superintendent of all four secondary schools here, and then moved to the private sector as personnel director at Sunbeam Corp. before his 39-year run as head of the library board. He died Dec. 30, 1996, age 96, at the Pleasant View Luther Home in Ottawa, Ill., his wife Nora surviving.

From the Jan. 8, 1997, Forest Park Review