Our City Centennial year runs to April 19, the day on which residents of the Village of Park Ridge voted to adopt the City form of government in 1910. It is appropriate to continue with a program touching on local history, and especially in light of the advent of the Park Ridge Historical Preservation Commission. There is no admission charge for the following programs, and they are open to all residents.
‘Preservation Snapshot: the Legacy of Richard Nickel and
The Complete Architecture
of Adler and Sullivan’
Sunday, April 10, 2 pm
Park Ridge Non-Profit Center, 720 Garden Street
Ward Miller, our guest speaker, is the Executive Director of the Richard Nickel Committee and Archive. Nickel’s name has received considerable attention as an early proponent of historic preservation, and his work has been brought to light in the book ‘Richard Nickel’s Chicago,’ published after his untimely death in 1972. He lived in Park Ridge on Grove Avenue in the 1950s. His archives contain thousands of photographs of the images of the works of architect Louis Sullivan and Dankmardler, and are the basis of Mr. Miller ’s new work, ‘The Complete Architecture of Adler and Sullivan,’ published late in 2010. Miller’s talk will address the compilation of this long-awaited, comprehensive volume of the masterworks of this architectural collaboration, which would not have been possible without Nickel’s passion for photography.Signed copies of ‘The Complete Architecture of Adler and Sullivan’ will be available for purchase at this program.
‘Park Ridge Modern’
Sunday, May 1, 2 pm
Summit of Uptown, 10 North Summit
Lee Bey returns to provide a program for the Society. His presentation on the Pullman community in Chicago in May, 2007, is well-recalled by our Members. In the current program, Mr. Bey jumps forward in time to examine interesting post-war Modern Architecture in Park Ridge. Lee Bey is currently the Executive Director of the Chicago Central Area Committee. His blog ‘Lee Bey’s Chicago – Beyond the Boat Tour’ can be accessed at www.wbez.org , and provides an always-interesting perspective on Chicago history. Please join us before this program for light refreshments, courtesy of the Summit of Uptown
‘Those Were the Days Radio Players’
Thursday, May 26
Join us before the Memorial Day week end as the Society presents an evening performance by this much-in-demand acclaimed group.
The Radio Players will entertain us with one of their standard programs. This is an evening for the entire family. Please mark your calendar; we’ll provide more details on our website soon
Bill’s models of the Central Business District in 1920s Park Ridge continue on display at The Park Ridge Nonprofit Center, 720 Garden. We thank John Sasser for providing space for these models on behalf of the Society, while he continues the transformation of this historic site into a ‘pantry’ for local not-for-profit organizations.
We recently updated the signs for Bill’s models, prepared a map showing their location within the Central Business District along with appropriate narrative for each site, and included copies of Bill’s original signage for his models. The Center is becoming a busy place for meetings, and the
display cases are within two meeting rooms, so we suggest that if you’d like to revisit the models, check first with Madeline Nelson at 47.698.5526. She is the assistant to John Sasser, and manages and allocates meeting spaces and times within the Center.
As our City Centennial year draws to a close, it seems appropriate to take some time to look back and list some of the many extraordinary events that took place in celebration of this noteworthy event.
We kicked off the Centennial year with a proclamation by Mayor Dave Schmidt at the City Council meeting on April 19, 2010 – a date exactly one hundred years after Park Ridge voted to become a city. On May 24, 2010, the Society hosted Albert Buchheit Day at Hodges Park and City Hall in recognition of our first mayor, who had been elected exactly 100 years before. Working with other members of the City Centennial Steering Committee, walking tours of historic Hodges Park were provided for the public and students, and a display of historical maps and other documents was set up in the lobby of City Hall. Two days later, Peter Malone, grandson of William Malone, our second mayor, was our guest speaker at the Summit of Uptown, speaking about life in Park Ridge in 1910. This event was well-attended by both the community and Society members.
Many organizations in Park Ridge joined us in recognizing the City Centennial year. Park Ridge vehicle stickers for 2010-2011 displayed a likeness of the first City Hall building, and Park Ridge police officers wore a commemorative Centennial badge on their uniforms in recognition of the special year. The Park Ridge Library highlighted Park Ridge in their Summer Reading Program, and Uptown merchants displayed posters in their front windows showing which business establishments had previously occupied that space. In September, Steering Committee member and local librarian Amber Ensign decorated the display cases on the second floor of the Library with historical artifacts and documents. The October issue of our community newsletter,the Spokesman, contained a City Centennial insert highlighting Park Ridge history. The Society presented a special ‘Centennial’ edition of its tours of Town of Maine Cemetery in October, featuring Mayors Buchheit, Malone, Tharp, Cole and Butler as ‘Spirits of Old Park Ridge.’
Throughout this centennial year, “A Moment in History” talks were provided at the first City Council meeting of the month. These historical talking points are being written into the minutes of the Council meetings so that future generations can benefit from the information. With the City Centennial year wrapping up on April 19 , 2011, the Park Ridge Historical Society has prepared several special events to close out this special year. Please take note of the dates and times of these events (which are provided elsewhere in this issue of the Lamppost) and plan to join fellow Society members in celebrating the final weeks of our Park Ridge City Centennial.
OPTIONAL VEHICLE STICKER PROGRAM IN SUPPORT OF CULTURAL ARTS COLLABORATIVE
As you probably know, due to budget constraints, the City of Park Ridge was unable to provide funding this year to local cultural organizations, such as the Society. To replace this loss of funding, six of these organizations have formed the Cultural Arts Collaborative to seek out sources of alternate support. Beginning with the sale of official 2011 vehicle stickers, the City will offer an optional $10 vehicle sticker depicting support for these cultural organizations. Each organization will share in the proceeds proportional to the amounts originally intended during the City budgeting process.
Please consider purchase of a special sticker to support all cultural organizations in Park Ridge. More information on this program will appear in the April issue of the Park Ridge Spokesman, and on the Society’s website.
DENISE POMERANING: FOUNDER OF OUR SOCIETY AND EARLY LEADER FOR WOMEN IN LOCAL NEWS REPORTING
Denise Pomeraning, a founding member of the Park Ridge Historical Society, died peacefully at age 94 in Colorado Springs, Colorado on December 1, 2010.
The following recollections were provided by her daughter for the Society.Denise retained vivid memories of Park Ridge, where she lived on South Courtland Avenue from 1942 until 1977. The Courtland home, purchased for $6,000, was on a block populated with large families—ninety kids on the block! But the streets were empty as homeowners had but one car per family and that car (when dad came home from work) was parked in the garage. So the streets were clear for kids to play ball, and, when the rare car approached, shout “Car, Car, C-A-R! Can you spell it without an ‘R’?”
Halloween brought at least one hundred trick-or-treaters to the door, many of whom had stuffed leaves into the mail boxes situated every few blocks on the street. And the smell of smoldering autumn leaves filled the air! Those were the days when leaves were raked onto the street, piled next to the curb, and ignited. The unforgettable fragrance of burning leaves and a smoky haze engulfed the neighborhood. At that time, most of the families on Courtland Avenue had a working dad and a stay-at-home mom. Denise was the exception. She was the Woman’s Editor of the Park Ridge Advocate and Managing Editor of the Niles Spectator from 19
54 to 1972. Her series of articles from the “Our Town” section of the Advocate were a testament to her love of local history. After moving to Colorado Springs, Denise
continued her journalism career, published countless magazine articles, and authored two children’s books. Her warm, wonderful memories of Park Ridge were always with her.
PARK RIDGE POST OFFICE MURAL RESTORATION COMMITTEE
Our readers will remember that ownership of the Park Ridge Post Office mural was transferred to the Public Library two years ago. Despite the Library’s intention to raise funds for restoration of the mural, this effort has been curtailed due to City budget constraints. Restoration costs are estimated at $38,000.
Subsequently, the Society has enabled a ‘Mural Restoration Committee’ to raise funds to restore the mural, and return it to community viewing permanently at the Public Library. We will be working with several Library Trustees for this effort, and we thank them for suggesting this plan. All New Deal era Post Office murals in the State of Illinois (except for Cairo’s) have been accounted for and are on display in their respective communities. Many, like ours, have required extensive restoration work. It’s time to add this community treasure to the list of Illinois Post Office murals proudly on display in their ‘home towns.’ Many more details to follow on our website, and in the next issue of the Lamppost.
“DOWN MEMORY LANE” REID’S LADIES APPAREL, 29 SOUTH PROSPECT
Russell and Edna Reid operated Reid’s Ladies Apparel on Prospect Avenue for 45 years. They carried better women’s clothing lines and provided extra services such as free gift wrapping. For many years Parrish Sporting Goods was next door to the north and Fannie Mae next door to the south. But it didn’t start that way.
Russell Reid spent his early career learning from his brother-in-law who was a wool wholesaler. One of his accounts was Pendleton Woolen Mills. He tired of the traveling sales role and decided to open Reid’s Wool Shop in 1944, in the small store at 7 South Prospect, next to the Pickwick Theater. They sold woolen yard goods with patterns, blankets and knitting yarn , and to promote business Russell’s wife Edna taught knitting. Over time finished goods were introduced and when 29 South Prospect became available after Jewel Foods closed in 1955, they moved the store to that location and renamed it Reid’s Ladies Apparel. The woolen store at 7 South Prospect was taken over by relatives and named The Little Shop.
Russell and Edna were good friends with many of the merchants of the time and were active in the business community. Russell was a member of the Lion’s Club, was its president in 1953-54, and honored for long term service in 1994. Edna was a skilled craftsperson – her store windows and in-store decorations were always outstanding. (You may have seen a display of her decorated eggs at the Library). There was a sense of style and elegance in the windows and inside the store.
Russell Reid purchased the building at 25 South Prospect when the Singer Sewing Machine store closed. The Reids kept the business at 29 South Prospect location and leased the 25 South Prospect building to a series of ladies apparel stores; it is now used by Country Financial. Later,the opportunity arose to purchase the 27 – 29 South Prospect building. Reid’s continued to innovate to compete with ladies clothing stores in the major shopping malls. Edna ran style shows for women’s groups in the City. In the 1980s the Reid’s daughter Joyce Reid Schladweiler joined the family business. There were many changes in the market, and the store needed new energy to continue to thrive.
Reid’s Ladies Apparel, South Prospect Avenue
Shopping malls stayed open longer hours to serve working women, putting pressure on the store to extend its hours of operation. Not all stores in Uptown town wanted to stay open the longer hours, so there wasn’t the critical number of open stores to attract buyers. The big chains had access to lower prices, and began competing by putting Christmas merchandise on sale as early as Thanksgiving. Reid’s customer base was getting older. By the late 1980’s Russell and Edna were
ready to retire, and when Joyce decided she did not want to take over, they closed the store in 1989.
The locations since have been the home of different retailers, and remain in the Schladweiler family. The facades of all three properties, 25-29 South Prospect were recently remodeled and restored to their original styles.
The Society thanks John and Joyce Schladweiler for contributing this article and images for our readers’ enjoyment.
SALUTE TO LEO RIZZETTO AND JUDY MATZEN
We note the retirement of Society Board Members Leo Rizzetto and Judy Matzen, and thank them both for their long years of service to the Historical Society.
Leo has been active in the Society from the earliest days in the 1970s. He was responsible for important building improvements which allowed the Society to take up residence in the house owned by the Schiessle family at 41 South Prairie Avenue. Leo has served as President of the Society. Most recently, he has entertained
elementary school students with his traveling exhibit of old-time technology, toys and anecdotes about local history. Leo continues his work as an ambassador for the Society at our ‘Spirits of Old Park Ridge’ event and at the Park Ridge Senior Center.
Judy had been the Secretary of the Society in years past, and served many more years as a Trustee. She also supported our ‘Spirits of Old Park Ridge’ cemetery tours,
providing many costumes for cast members, our annual Flea Market, and her festive and much appreciated decorations for our Annual Meetings. Thank you, Leo and Judy, for your service to the Park Ridge Historical Society.
On October 19, the Historical Society was invited by second-grade teacher Debbie Graziano to make a presentation to the students in her second-grade classroom.
Leo Rizzetto, Jeff Caudill and Paul Adlaf represented the Society.
Leo presented his traveling exhibit of historic means of sound amplification and telephony, old-time mechanical toys, and indoor lighting through the ages, while Jeff and Paul provided some talking points regarding the Park Ridge City Centennial year. We enjoyed reading all of the thank-you letters from the class! Thank you, Mrs. Graziano; we enjoyed meeting your students and look forward to a return visit.
MAINE EAST TEACHERS HONORED BY THE AMERICAN
Social Science teachers Debra Spiegel and Chris Peters won the Beveridge Family Teaching Prize, which recognizes excellence and innovation in elementary, middle school, and secondary history teaching. They won the Prize this January for their efforts to promote reading in their United States History classes, using lessons and units in which students read short stories and novels that illuminated events of the American experience beyond the regular textbook.
The Prize included a cash award of $1,500 & a trip to the AHA Annual Conference in Boston, where they were honored.
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST
MARY ANN TANQUARY AND ELIZABETH RYLES AT THE SOCIETY BOOTH AT THE LIBRARY LAWN EVENT LAST JUNE
BETSY SKLENA PORTRAYS HARRIETT RAND, A ‘SPIRIT OF OLD PARK RIDGE’ AT TOWN OF MAINE CEMETERY
NORTHWESTERN TRAIN DEPOT AND PLATFORMS IN PARK RIDGE, 1940S
PICKWICK THEATRE, THE FIRST CITY OF PARK RIDGE HISTORIC LANDMARK
Don’t forget to check our website for the late st information on our programs, news and current events. Did you try our City Centennial Photo Quiz? A copy of the Quiz can be downloaded from the City Centennial website maintained by the Park Ridge Public Library, one of the members of the City Centennial Steering Committee: http://citycentennial.wordpress.com
. This is an advanced-level quiz, certain to test your knowledge of our community’s built environment.Answers were provided in the February Spokesman.
The last installment of Dr. Buchheit’s campaign brochure from our first mayoral election 100 years ago was just posted. As seen there, Angebauer’s Hall was the place to be for the stalwarts on the ‘Regular Ticket’ to assemble just two days before the election on May 24, 1910. Angebauer’s is one of the models in Bill Kobow’s collection, by the way.