One hundred years ago this week the very first issue of the Forest Park Review was published. Think about that. From the waning years of World War I to, if you believe Sen. Bob Corker, the precipice of World War III, Forest Park has had its very own community newspaper. Every week. That’s 5,200 weeks of continuous publication.
And by our reckoning, those 100 years have been split fairly evenly among just four owners. Albert Hall, Claude Walker, Bob Haeger, and for the past 30 years, Wednesday Journal Inc., the little newspaper company from next door.
You would be extremely hard pressed to find another suburban Chicago town that has this history. Across our community news industry, small-town papers have been purchased, merged, closed, chewed up and spit out far more often than they have celebrated a century of independent ownership and progressive, editorial independence.
Hometown newspapers don’t survive and prosper without a good and welcoming hometown to cover. The Review works because Forest Park is an interesting and vital town to write about, to editorialize about, to celebrate and to nudge.
Forest Park is wonderful and it is imperfect. And it has a local newspaper that matches up exactly.
Too many people for the Review to thank, but here are a select few:
Thanks to the late Bob Haeger, our predecessor as owner and publisher, who saw something in the still-young Wednesday Journal that gave him the confidence to sell his precious Review to us. As we turned the paper toward more traditional newsgathering, added a local editorial page, and canned the psychic’s column, we know Bob took some heat. Not that he ever told us about it. And to Laurie Kokenes, Bob’s daughter and partner and our colleague in those first years, well, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Thanks to the legion of Forest Park favorites who stuck with us in those first years. Jackie Schulz, Jim Murray, and Sam Zussman truly made the Review, “The Paper with the Personal Touch.” And in more recent years as the Review has had some great editors and some spectacular flameouts, the constant local connection has been provided by John Rice, Tom Holmes, Ken Trainor and Jill Wagner.
A new century beckons. More change for certain (hopefully not World War III) but always the need for connected, verifiable news of the town where you choose to live your life.
Our thanks to our readers and to our advertisers who make this work.