Personal Observation

Claude Walker

Originally printed in Forest Park Review July 20, 1967, page 2

 This week I fully intend to describe the growing tourist contingent that is making Florida a year around place to go for a vacation, and also , tell my 59 readers about Lucaya-Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island.  Having devoted 2 weeks to relaxation and observation in these parts, I was looking forward to letting my friend in on how a summer vacation can be enjoyed in the South.

This will have to keep for more propitious occasion while I get embroiled in the great discussion relative to the evolution which has bested Forest Park.  I am speaking of the great building program that is fast making our village the mostly progressive in the West area.  Apartment units are being built a hundred at a time, and Condominiums and co-ops are going up rapidly, as some of the oldest and most dilapidated homes in Forest Park are succumbing to the onslaught of the Bulldozer.

From here on we get divided attitude by our citizens, especially those who have lived here a half century or so.  Many contend that we should not encourage the building of multi-story units, with swimming pools and all the accoutrements that go with modern living.  They contended that these are “monstrosities” that we can do without, and “Why can’t we just go on living a quiet peaceful existence without acquiescing to the excitement brought about by the youngsters who make up the population that seeks apartment type living near transportation and good trade.”

The Other school of thought, insists that it is inevitable that Forest Park must progress, unless the people here which it to become a “slum area”.  The village is over a hundred years old, and unless the old homes are razed, they will become very desirable to those who can only afford a cheap rent, which doesn’t make for the most desirable citizens.  Buying power is lessoned, and tax evaluations go down making it difficult for the village to continue efficient services and the merchant to continue in business.

Forest Park would be remiss in not offering prospective citizens the many advantage it has to offer those who seek to live away from the big city, yet be able to go to their places of employment on the excellent transpiration we offer, and the many thoroughfares that connect our town to every community in Cook County.

As a resident of this community for the past 34 years, I have seen how Forest Park had progressed, to a degree, then began to regress.  I have never gone along with the old-timer, that would have this community become a “sleepy-hollow”.  Either we progress of we die.  May folks do not understand tatas building become older the taxes decrease, and as I say some weeks ago, “you just can’t offer the village good services without receiving proper revenue.” 

When one considers that the old had a feed store at the corner of Randolph and Marengo, only paid less than $200.00 a year in taxes and it was not only an eyesore, but a fire and traffic hazard (it was build up to the sidewalk line on both sides) and was replaced by a 5 story condominium paying in excess of $12,000.00 a year in taxes, you can’t help but hope that we can get rid of all the eyesores and replace them with the so called “Monstrosities”.  These will bring people into our community with incomes that create buying power and provide landlords with the wherewithal to pay taxes that will provide excellent services by our village.

As for the complaint about parties, noise, and disturbances, it’s just a matter of age and attitude.  I can remember when I first came to Forest Park, we had parties with highly respected citizens of Forest Park.  I guess we made a little noise too, and I am certain that the oldsters of that day also complained.  The “Progressive parties”, with Al and Bess Roos and the Ed Trages, Lloyd Lehmans, Joe Bales, The “Dutchman” and Martha, the Art Dobbecks, Carl Castrups and may other of the youthful leading citizens of that day, all of whom we were very proud to associate with, and from what I can see at this date, all turned out to be good citizens of the community.  May I say that those who might be annoyed with the youthful apartment dwellers harken back to their youthful days, think of that biblical saying about “He who has never sinned etc.”.


Who wanted to put me out to pasture, let me suggest that if we were all as “Progressive” as he, would still be living in caves and wearing loin cloths, and also “Sentiment and dime will get you a Forest Park Review at the newsstand.”

Personal Observation

Claude Walker

July 16, 1969

Woe is me, since I started harping on the effect of large apartment and condominium buildings here, and the influx of residents, in our community of folks from the more congested areas of our Country and other community papers are experiencing the same conditions and there are many facets to be discussed regarding the impact of the new residents.

               Some editions ago I wrote on the urbanizing of the communities rather the suburbanizing of the residents, who are coming here to live.  More and more of this is materializing.  People come here from Chicago and live here just as they did in that big town.  There is certainly nothing wrong about living like his, in fact I think maybe it’s better.  Gone are the ‘over the fence’ conversations, the “koffee klatches’ and the cocktail hour.  The newcomers, especially from Chicago, mind their own business, come and go, and rarely become interested in the social life of the community.

Newspapers in the various communities where such housing projects are prevalent are concerned, and meetings are being held to see how more circulation can be obtained from this particular group.

Recently at a meeting of Cook County Suburban Publishers, 103 papers in Cook Count outside of Chicago were represented.  It was generally agreed that it was most difficult to interest the people in the local paper.  There were no ties to the community that would interest these folks in reading such a paper, and unless you were fortunate enough to have some news that actually concerned them, you just couldn’t sell your paper.  I believe that the conclusions of the National Newspaper Association after a meeting of the Suburban newspapers from the whole country just about hits it on the head:


‘How do you reach those high-rise dwellers?  This is a question that still plagues may publisher of suburban newspaper.

Robert Goodman of the Cherry Hill (N.J.) Suburban Newspaper Group, said they had tried to reach the high-rise dwellers by having a correspondent in each apartment.  This was a failure, he told member of the Suburban Newspaper Section (N.J.)

The correspondents found that people rarely were home and those that were, were not interested in getting their names in the newspaper.

Willliam Litvany, Bloomfield (N.J.) Independent Pres, said they have “worked like mad’ to build circulation in apartments with no success.

It seems apartments are the bedroom communities within the bedroom communities.  Litvany said they have come to the conclusion that people are just living in apartments until they save enough money to buy a house.

However, Louis Lerner, of Lerner Newspaper in Chicago, said they solve the problem by starting a newspaper especially for apartment dwellers.’

And so it goes, I’m happy to have these folks in our town.  The more the merrier, they are good people striving to better themselves, an asset to our community, carrying out the trend of urban people moving to suburban areas who wish to maintain their urban status.