Forest Park has a plucky Historical Society. Thanks goodness. Because as the small group – underfunded and lightly peopled – prepares to make its fourth relocation in two years, it is going to need that pluck as well as a strong back.
As the society prepares for this latest move, we’d ask the park district to seriously consider including a permanent home for the group and its historical artifacts in the new facility on the Roos site.
High hopes that the society could eventually finagle ownership of the old St. Peter’s Church on Hannah Avenue were dashed when a new congregation bought the building and, reasonably, needed its space. Other ideas for a permanent home where the society could spread out and mount public displays, build its awareness and its membership have not proved out.
So now, with some reluctance, the society has accepted a repeated invitation by Mayor Anthony Calderone and the village to hunker down in a third floor, one-bedroom apartment in a village owned building on Adams. This will be an office and storage operation with no artifacts on display and no public hours. Together with the generous donation of warehouse space by Schauer’s Hardware to store some larger pieces, the society has a roof over its head.
The plucky part comes in the Historical Society’s plans to mount traveling exhibits at village hall and possibly the library and park district. The society, which has become inventive and compelling with its live history events, will also continue those outreach efforts.
In a town with a history so treasured and interesting, we hope that the park district will actively consider a request from the society for permanent and public space in the facility being planned for the former Roos site. This society is never going to have the big bucks necessary to purchase a notable site. Including it with the park expansion would provide both a secure home for our history but will also raise its visibility with Forest Parkers.