40 years ago

Maybe you do have to be a rocket scientist to be recognized by certain groups. Editor Claude Walker met a man of note at the Germania Club of Chicago shortly after two Americans had gone to the moon – first time visits for all four.

This ethnic-political organization played host to rocket propulsion expert Wernher von Braun. Time and circumstance found him heading Hitler’s V-2 rocket program that rained destruction on London in the early 1940s. After the war his expertise in rocketry helped this country develop its own space program, setting the stage for Armstrong and Aldrin.

Walker admitted some awe of the scientist who was the featured speaker at the SRO gathering that included mayor Richard J. Daley. Describing Von Braun as extremely affable, “terrifically good looking” and very outgoing, ye olde editor showed how events, times, language and technology could shape and bend over a short period. When he told his audience, that “in the not too distant future we will have stations in the stratosphere [sic] to which we will fly and spend a day or so, then transfer to another ‘plane’ and fly to whatever planet we desire.”

From the Nov. 5, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

At 11:15 p.m. Officer Joe Byrnes is cruising past 228 Desplaines Ave. He notes a couple of figures scuffling outside the apartment house, pulls over and tries to break it up. One of the figures “steps it up” and Byrnes finds himself the target in a flurry of arms, legs, feet and judo chops that could only be delivered by a karate student. The policeman was thrown to the sidewalk and pummeled repeatedly. His injuries included multiple fractures of the foot and ankle.

Backup Officer George Webber came to Brynes’ aid with gun drawn. Seeing no weapons other than the offender’s hands and feet, Webber holstered his revolver only to be similarly assaulted by the “self-defense” wild man. Not until three or four other officers arrived was the attacker subdued and transported to the holding cell – where yet one more skirmish took place in which Officer Webber sustained a dislocated thumb.

Net result: Officer Byrnes was in considerable pain till the swelling went down enough for surgery … Charley Black Belt was transferred to Cook County Jail under $20,000 bail for aggravated battery … and the Cubs were winding up yet another futile season. (The doctor warned Byrnes not to watch them; it would only increase his pain.)

From the Nov. 21, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

In years to come when the excavated remains of Forest Park are uncovered, full disclosure might be made of the area immediately west of Circle Avenue between 14th and 15th streets – the former site of Acme Resin Corp. Specifically, what was spilled there from about 1970 to 2000. Formaldehyde and other friendly fluids were spilled there. Repeatedly. If space allowed, much could be reported here that had area residents nervous, including one six-hour evacuation of the south side of town in 1988.

From the Sept. 27, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

The 38-year-old man from Maywood didn’t have a good week. He got busted twice. At Portillo’s hot dog emporium he headed for the rest room and raised a little hell there banging things, shouting, bending back the toilet paper holder and insulting the patrons. Net gain – a couple of days in the tank. Disorderly conduct, property damage. Two days later, the same fellow scattered trash thither and yon over the Blue Line CTA platform. Littering. This time it’s three days – after picking up the trash.

Meanwhile, a 43-year-old man from Oak Park had made a general pest of himself all night at Mugsy’s Tavern on Madison. He was assigned to the same tank as “Maywood.” The two seemed to get along pretty well for malcontents with a strong streak of persona non grata.

From the Sept. 29, 1999, Forest Park Review