The Forest Park Review is celebrates its centennial in 2017. The first issue appeared on October 20, 1917. The cost was $1 per year (now that’s a bargain). The front page news of that first issue included the village council passing a “vegetable law” requiring merchants to weigh their produce when selling it. There was an appeal to citizens to “Buy a bond and help win the war,” as the U.S. had just entered World War I. 

The front page also bore a brief “Announcement” by publisher Albert L. Hall: “The Forest Park Review will be a local paper in every sense of the word. It will endeavor to publish the things that are of real interest to the people of Forest Park and to be a factor in the upbuilding of the community.” Not much has changed on that front.

The second issue of the paper changed the purchase price slightly: “Terms, $1.00 per year in advance.” The paper’s headline urged readers to, “Vote Yes on the Road Bond Issue.” The referendum called for building a road to “traverse Proviso Township north to south” (and presumably in the opposite direction, too). There was also an article urging the women of Forest Park to register to vote. 

This kind of local focus was important to the quality of life in the community but the Review wasn’t Forest Park’s first newspaper. That would be the “Harlem Post” a German weekly founded by Frank Lehman in 1895. Lehman sold the paper in 1905 and it became the “Beobachter and Post.” 

In 1914, Lina Paschal and Albert Hall started publishing the “Proviso Weekly.” They later joined forces with Edith and Henry Heileman to publish the successor to the “Proviso Weekly.” They called it the “Forest Park Review.” Before starting the Review, the Heilemans had operated the Community Press at 200 Elgin. Edith became the associate editor of the Review, while Henry concentrated on the printing operation.

In 1917, the Paschal-Hall-Heileman Co. opened the Forest Park Review office and printing plant at 7444 Madison. The building occupied 75 feet of valuable frontage on Madison. After Lina Paschal withdrew from the Review in 1921, the Hall-Heileman Co. built its new headquarters at 7233 Madison. By September 1926, the Review had outgrown the 2,500-square-foot building.

The newspaper then purchased the buildings at 7236-40 Madison. The facility had 75 feet of frontage and went 150 feet deep. It was three times the size of the newspaper’s former home. The company had 25 full-time employees and published three newspapers, besides the Review. They were the “Oak Park Masonic News,” the “River Forest Leaves,” and “The High Nooner of Chicago,” which was the city’s leading Masonic newspaper. Hall-Heileman now had $75,000 in capital and 20 stockholders.

In 1917, the hit song was “For Me and My Gal.” The top-grossing film was the silent epic Cleopatra, starring Theda Bara. It cost 23 cents to see it. A Model T Ford cost between $405 and $980. Motorists paid 4 cents a gallon to fill it up. A new home cost about $5,000. 

All seemed well in Forest Park but a terrible thing happened in 1917. Congress proposed the 18th Amendment, which would bring Prohibition to the beer-loving community. 

Meanwhile, the Review prospered. The business community supported it with advertising and its circulation increased. It stuck to its mission of providing local news and continues to do so a hundred years later.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.

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