To our Members and Friends, Here is an update on our ‘History on the Move’ project. The Board of Trustees just received from JLA Architects the final plan for the Society’s vision of the renovated Hannah Solomon Cottage.
Beyond question, this plan guides us to a dramatic and inspiring new home base, as the Park Ridge History Center. Walker Johnson and Meg Kindelin, experts in the architecture of historic preservation, listened to our hopes and dreams, and returned to us with an exciting and bold vision for our headquarters.
A place for display of our historic artifacts, within a nationally recognized historic building, but also a contemporary space with movable partitions, to accommodate special displays, lectures, scout and student visits, receptions and Society gatherings. We are confident this renovation will reflect well on the entire Park Ridge community. Soon we begin our capital campaign to raise funds to make our vision into our new home. Renovation of the Cottage is the largest undertaking in the history of the Society.
You will receive a brochure with details of our plan, including a depiction of the interior of  the renovated Cottage. We will ask your generous financial support to help bring our ‘History on the Move’ program to a successful completion during the Park Ridge City Centennial Year, which begins next May. We will continue to keep you advised of our plans in the Lamppost and at our website. If you have any questions about our plans or fund-raising, please let me know by mail (721 North Prospect Avenue), telephone (847.696.1973) or email ( Thank you.
Jeff Caudill, President


Sunday, October 18, we came together for the 37th Annual Meeting of the Park Ridge Historical Society. On a day blessed with sunshine and blue skies, the 62 members and guests who gathered at the Park Ridge Country Club were treated to spectacular views of the golf course in full fall color outside the large windows of the Grand Ballroom. A delicious three-course meal was served, and judging by the animated conversation enjoyed around the tables, those gathered for the meal all share a fascination with history and a deep affection for Park Ridge.
Gus Zahareas, Pat Adlaf, guest Elena Adlaf, and Edith Kooyumijan at the 2009 Annual Meeting
After the meal, Lauren Maloney welcomed the group with some opening remarks. President Jeff Caudill spoke briefly about “History on the Move,” with specific details about closing up the Prairie Street home. Highlighting the afternoon was a slide presentation by Society member and former Maine South history teacher Milton Nelson on the history of Park Ridge and the surrounding area. Using a quick-paced delivery, a huge variety of photos, and his vast store of knowledge, Milton gave a presentation that was delightful, informative, and entertaining. Every person in attendance came away with new-found knowledge and a greater appreciation for the people and events that helped shape Park Ridge into the city of today – the place we love to call home.


The Society Board of Trustees announces the election of the following new Trustees at the Annual Meeting of the Society on October 18th, 2009. We welcome them to
our mission.
Barbara Christopher
Wes Cline
Suzanne Henn
John Hyslop
John Murphy
Sharon Porterfield


IRA Charitable Rollover Legislation Extended through December 31, 2009. The Charitable IRA Rollover permits taxpayers to make donations directly to charitable organizations from their IRAs without counting them as part of their adjusted gross income,and consequently without paying taxes on them.
The Park Ridge Historical Society is a qualified charitable organization, registered as a 501(c)3 organization under IRS statutes. To explore how you could use this tax
provision to benefit your intent to give to our capital campaign for renovation of our new home at 721 North Prospect Avenue, please call the Society.


Anyone who has ever had to move will understand to a certain extent the enormous job that was undertaken by the Society this summer in preparing to move out of our home of the past twenty-plus years. The Prairie Avenue House was not only chock full of material – furniture, books, clothing, photos, textiles, and file cabinets holding reams of paper – but nearly all of those treasures were old, fragile, and very valuable. As our evacuation deadline of October 14 loomed ever closer, the pressure intensified to get every last artifact packed carefully and stored safely in another location. We are happy to report that the task has been accomplished.
Sharon Porterfield and Barbara Christopher provided substantial help in getting the work started, working with Paul Adlaf in sorting out and packing portions of the Society collections which had accumulated in the basement, in the furniture, and in the closets for the past 25 years. The entire group of Trustees worked together during several packing sessions, putting display items from the kitchen, parlor, dining room, and bedrooms into cartons for storage. Society President Jeff Caudill arranged for most of the moving services, working with his son Jack and several other young men to transfer our boxed collections, furniture, and accessories into storage. Despite the constant threat of rain during the final days, this team worked long and hard to effect the relocation. All of us underestimated the sheer volume of material to be placed into storage, and the Society thanks the moving team for making it all happen before the 14th.


The sign from our former headquarters building was temporarily installed at the Solomon Cottage in October. Another milestone in our ‘History on the Move’ project.


During the ‘Spirits of Old Park Ridge’ event at the Town of Maine Cemetery on October 3rd, the Society was presented with an outstanding addition to its collection of historical artifacts. Pat Thoms of Evergreen, Colorado, visiting Park Ridge with her husband Bruce, can trace her family lineage to Evan Jones, pioneer in this area at the time that land was originally surveyed by the federal government. Evan Jones subscribed to a pew at the Brickton Episcopal Methodist Church in October, 1859, and Pat presented to the Society the formal deed for that pew. This is one of the earliest documents in our local history which we have added to our collection,
dating only three years after we took the name Brickton, and fourteen years before the name Park Ridge was introduced. One of the walls of that early union Church still stands within the Methodist Church located on Touhy Avenue.
Pat and Bruce Thomas (cen
ter, holding Pew Deed),
with Society Members Tom Zima
and Brian Lazzaro

John Sasser, Beverly Ellstrand and Jeff Caudill

In 1976, the Society received a lovely oil painting of the Pantry Restaurant, by local artist Beverly Ellstrand. It brightened the porches at the first Society home in the Gillick House, and then at 41 South Prairie for another 25 years. Society President Jeff  Caudill felt it would be very appropriate to transfer this treasure to our neighbor John Sasser, on the occasion of his acquisition of the former Pantry building as the site of his new Park Ridge Nonprofit Center. ‘The Pantry’ is now proudly on display in the large meeting room formerly the restaurant’s main dining room.

Kobow Models in Society Display Cases,
October 2009


It was a busy summer for the Society, despite the rigors of preparing for moving all of our collections and furniture into storage by mid-October.
  • Early in May, we met in Mary Wilson House to listen to Anne Lunde’s presentation on‘Digging into the Past,’ a guide to finding resources in both the conventional and unexpected places for those interested in researching local history. Her presentation was augmented with examples of her own research in the Norwood Park neighborhood.
  • Our Museum was open Saturday mornings June through July for ‘last call’ at 41 South Prairie Avenue. Many folks coming by to take one more look at our home, others just moved to Park Ridge. All wishing us well with our ‘History on the Move’ project. Be sure to visit for more information.
  • Jim Kingston’s presentation on ‘The Magic of Ships in Bottles,’ held at the Park Ridge Public Library in August, drew all ages interested in this time-honored artistry. Thanks to Jim for sharing his many years of experience in making ships in bottles, and for bringing so many of them to display for us.
  • In September, we presented our annual Antiques, Collectibles and Flea Market in Hodges Park. This is the Society’s longest-running program and once again brought together in Hodges Park a good group of vendors and residents interested in our Market. Thanks to Millie O’Brien and Paul Hansen for overseeing the Market again this year.
  • Captain Ralph Bishop presented a comprehensive history of the Park Ridge Fire Department in September. Ralph illuminated recollections of his personal and his family’s history of service in the Department through numerous projections slides and displays of Fire Department artifacts.
  • ‘Spirits’ of Old Park Ridge’ once again edified over 200 visitors to Town of Maine Cemetery in October. They heard our cast of ‘spirits’ speak of the life and times of many of the women and men interred there, who spent their lives in Park Ridge and enriched the heritage of our community. We salute Betsy Sklena and Mary Ellen Jones for producing the 2009 edition of this popular program.
Even with our moving plans in progress, the Society will continue to be a presence in Park Ridge in 2010 with its signature programs, and continuing special events aligned to reflect our ‘History on the Move’ theme.


Saturday, December
5th, 10 am – noon
147 Vine Avenue
Thanks to Lynn Rowe for allowing the Society to use his storefront in the
historic Rowe Building for display of Walker Johnson’s renovation plans
for the Solomon Cottage, 721 North Prospect Avenue. Please stop by for a cup of coffee and an opportunity to see and learn more about the breathtaking plans we will be using to guide our renovation work.
Correction: In the May, 2009 issue of the Lamppost, we included an image of Maine Township East High School with the caption stating that this was the first
high school in our Township. The first High School in Maine Township was actually located in Des Plaines on Thacker Street. We regret the oversight.
View 2009 November Lamppost PDF Newsletter