The nomadic ways of the Historical Society of Forest Park are coming to a close. Last week, the membership of the organization voted enthusiastically to approve a pact with First United Church of Christ. As part of that deal, over the next decade the congregation will transfer ownership of the Elgin Avenue church campus to the society while allowing the dwindling church congregation to continue use of the sanctuary.
The proverbial win-win.
Jerry Lordan, the unifying president of the society, told those gathered at the church last week that “this is a foundational moment,” for both the society and for a community that values its history.
Now in most burgs the historical society is not nearly as interesting as the community history it records and preserves. This being Forest Park, though, you’d be hard pressed to find a more odd and compelling yarn to preserve than the history of the 40-year-old society itself.
Founded in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial, the society owes its creation to Dr. Frank Orland, one of the loveliest, crankiest, most idiosyncratic individuals we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Did we mention he was the only Forest Parker to ever invest in Wednesday Journal Inc., the parent company of the Review? “If you are going to own our paper, somebody in Forest Park ought to own a little of your company,” he said.
For some 25 years, the society and Dr. Frank were mirror images. Not surprisingly, after losing its founder the society has swerved and dodged for a number of years among a series of leaders who shared Orland’s oddities but few of his charms.
Now the society is moving onto steadier ground with more congenial leadership and a new home to house its artifacts, display its collection and welcome its community wholeheartedly.
Boykin’s wise choice
District 1 voters suffered through the dismal, endless years of Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins’ somnambulant performance. Invisible. Silent. Bereft of a notion within a district desperate for help in the two areas — health and justice — most particularly under the jurisdiction of county government. With her multiple government pensions fully vested, Collins finally, thankfully, chose retirement.
After a lively campaign to replace her, West Side and near west suburban voters chose Richard Boykin as commissioner. And, lo and behold, after a fascinating and rambunctious nine months in office, Boykin, who has his office in Forest Park, announced his hard look at a run for the U.S. Senate. When he departed on his requisite “listening tour” of the state in August, we saw it as a given that by mid-September he would announce his gift to the world in the form of his candidacy.
So we are surprised, and we are pleased, that instead Boykin announced last week that what he heard as he circled the state was that he needed to spend more time building his credentials as a county commissioner.
We agree. And so long as Boykin does not look at more time here as penance, we continue to believe he has a great deal to offer. He is articulate, energetic and fully focused on the issues that matter most: justice reform, gun violence, mental health, jobs.
Glad to have you back Commissioner Boykin.