These are exciting times for the Park Ridge Historical Society. As you know, plans are currently underway to raise funds for the renovation of the historic Solomon Cottage, which resides on the grounds of the 101 year old ‘Park Ridge School for Girls’ campus at 721 North Prospect Avenue.

With the transition to our new History Center, there is renewed interest in locating, recording and obtaining important historical artifacts related to Park Ridge’s past. For example, the Thoms family recently contacted the Park Ridge Historical Society in order to donate an Episcopal Methodist church pew deed dating back to 1859. This church record is now one of our oldest documents. If you and your family think that you have a historical Park Ridge item, artifact, photograph, postcard, etc., please call us at 847.696.1973 or e-mail us at

As you sort through grandma’s dusty trunks in the attic, please remember that our community’s name was Brickton starting in 1858, and it was called Pennyville even before that! Please help us in our mission to share our rich history with the whole community now and for generations to come.

Mark Your Calendar!

The Historical Society presents a speaking program
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at the Park Ridge Inn (Summit of Uptown).

We welcome Peter Malone to our podium that evening. Pete is a Founding Member of the Society. He helped shape our Society through many years of volunteer work starting in 1971. He is the grandson of William H. Malone, Uptown building pioneer and second mayor of Park Ridge. Pete served as our first ward alderman for a number of years. He will be speaking on a topic relevant to the life and times of Park Ridge as it was 100 years ago, entering the age of City Government.

This program is open to all Society Members, guests, friends and all residents. There is no admission charge.


The Park Ridge Historical Society has engaged the highly-regarded firm of JL Architects of Chicago to oversee and complete the restoration and rehabilitation of the Solomon Cottage for our History on the Move project. JLA specializes in working with historic buildings, preserving the character, charm, and historic elements of the buildings, while at the same time bringing them into compliance with modern-day requirements for technology and handicap accessibility. With a team of seven architects, all of whom have training and experience in the historic aspects of architecture, the firm has special expertise in bringing together planning, engineering, and architectural disciplines for each project. JLA is well-versed in the techniques required to diagnose, stabilize, repair, and restore exterior building envelopes, and are extremely experienced in all facets of interior rehabilitation, reuse, and restoration.

JLA was co-founded in 1992 by Walker Johnson and Larry Lasky. Walker Johnson, FAIA, has more than 40 years of specialized experience in historic preservation. He served three terms on the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council to the State Historic Preservation Office, and he is former president of Landmark Illinois, after first being very active in its organization. Prior to founding JLA, Johnson was Director of Restoration/Rehabilitation at Holabird & Root, Architects in Chicago. Meg Kindelin is an associate architect and project manager at JL Architects. She has been working closely with Walker on the planning of our renovation project.

JL Architects has former clients all over the state of Illinois. The firm has helped preserve religious buildings, such as St. John’s Episcopal Church in Quincy and Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago. It has worked on famous homes in the area, including the Glessner House in Chicago and Fabyan Villa, which is located in the Kane County Forest Preserve district in Geneva, Illinois. The International House on the campus of University of Chicago was made wheelchair accessible compatible with its historic condition. The dome atop the Museum of Science and Industry, the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, and the 19th Century homes and historic museum and interpretive center at the Naper Settlement in Naperville have also been refurbished by JL Architects. The Park Ridge Historical Society is fortunate to have obtained the experienced services of this fine architectural firm as we move forward with the preservation and rehabilitation of our new home on the Youth Campus.



  • Jeff Caudill – President
  • Paul Adlaf — Vice President
  • Patricia Adlaf – Secretary
  • Patrick Mastrolonardo – Treasurer


  • Barbara Christopher
  • Wes Cline
  • Maureen Connelly
  • Suzanne Henn
  • John Hyslop
  • Mary Ellen Jones
  • Lauren Maloney
  • Judy Matzen
  • John Murphy
  • Millie O’Brien
  • Sharon Porterfield
  • Nancy Pytel
  • Leo Rizzetto


On May 24, 1910, Dr. Albert Buchheit was elected the first mayor of Park Ridge, as Park Ridge began operating with a city government. The Park Ridge Historical Society believes this is cause for celebration, and so it has created a City Centennial Steering Committee, made up of individuals from our own Society and four other organizations here in town that are committed to preserving our history: City Hall, the Library, the Heritage Committee, and the Kalo Foundation. The City Centennial Steering Committee has been meeting monthly since 2009, and plans are in the works for a year-long celebration.

The celebration will begin on May 24 with Albert Buchheit Day. Dr. Buchheit was a dentist here in Park Ridge for over 60 years. His home stood on the site that now holds City Hall, and he built the Buchheit Building, which still stands on South Vine Avenue, to house his dental practice. The Village of Park Ridge had 2009 residents when it voted 223-178 to incorporate as a city in a popular referendum held on April 19, 1910. It is surmised that the people of Park Ridge most likely acted to restructure their government to avoid becoming annexed to the City of Chicago, as was happening to other nearby towns, and to put the manner of governing into the hands of aldermen, who each represent a different geographical area of the city, rather than continuing with the village government, where trustees are elected at large. A bitterly contested mayoral campaign culminated in the May 24 election of Buchheit over William Malone, 272-246, perhaps due in part to the fact that Buchheit could campaign in both English and German, thus winning over many of the German-American residents in Park Ridge at that time. During his one-year term as mayor, Buchheit signed ordinances to erect our first public library, install fire boxes on street corners, establish a house numbering system of street addresses, and to build a sewer line to the Des Plaines River. Dr. Buchheit is buried in Town of Maine Cemetery.

May 24 will be just the beginning of our year-long celebration of Park Ridge history. The Park Ridge Historical Society plans to have a prominent presence in the Memorial Day Parade on May 31, driving an antique car in the procession. The Park Ridge Library plans to celebrate 1910 Park Ridge in their Summer Reading Club Program, and has given us use of the 2nd floor display case in September to showcase some historical artifacts from 1910. The 2010-2011 city vehicle sticker, which becomes available in June, will feature a photo of the first Park Ridge City Hall, which was located at the corner of Touhy Avenue and Northwest Highway. The Kalo Foundation has planned a two-week history of the arts festival for early May, 2010, which will lead right up to Albert Buchheit Day. The Park Ridge Fine Arts Society and the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra both plan to perform music written by Park Ridge native John Alden Carpenter, and the retail community is also working on plans to participate in the celebration of our City Centennial in some way.

Additional information about the City Centennial will be posted on the PRHS website as it becomes available. The year spanning May 24, 2010 to April 2011 promises to be an exciting time for our city as we recognize and celebrate the people and events that shaped the hometown we know and love today.


The Chicago Blue Book is a fascinating little reference guide/social registry that was published annually from 1876-1916. A representative issue, Blue Book of 1890, has seven sections and over 600 pages. Section One lists asylums (orphanages, poor houses, and such), cemeteries, hospitals, and parks by name and location. The next three sections list prominent Chicago residents by area of the city: North side, South side, and West side. Residents of each section of the city are then listed by address number under the name of the street on which they live. A quick perusal of the Prairie Avenue listings in the Chicago South Side section shows such wellknown names as Bissell, Mayer, Armour, Studebaker, Otis, Shedd, Goodrich, Eastman, Barnes, and Ward.

Section Six of the Blue Book lists membership rolls of Chicago clubs and organizations. In 1890, one’s interests might lead to joining the Chicago Cycling Club, the Chicago Cricket Club, the Amateur Music Club, or the French Literary Club. Depending on where you lived, you might be a member of the Ashland Club, the Calumet Club, the Kenwood Club, or the North Shore Club. Your background might dictate that you belong to the University Club, the Germania Club, or the Harvard Club. Undoubtedly, making one or more of these lists would elevate one’s social status.

Part 7 of the Blue Book lists the socially prominent residents of the towns located within 30 miles of Chicago in 1890. One can find resident listings for towns that still exist today, such as Maywood, Hinsdale, Riverside, and Winnetka. Of particular interest, however, are the locations that were separate villages in 1890 and are now part of Chicago proper, such as Austin, Norwood Park, Pullman, and Irving Park. Ravinia, today merely a train stop and music venue in Highland Park, was an actual town in 1890.

A small group of elite residents of nearby Des Plaines is listed in the Blue Book of 1890 social register, including Mr. & Mrs. Socrates Rand, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Sharringhausen, and Mr. & Mrs. H.H. Talcott. The Park Ridge list boasts more familiar names: Mr. & Mrs. George Carpenter, John Carpenter, Dr. & Mrs. G.H. Fricke, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Kobow, and Miss Minny Penny. These were not the only residents of Park Ridge, but merely the ones who were considered socially prominent enough to be included in this elite book. Of interesting note is the fact that while the Chicago residents are grouped by street and listed by house number, the Park Ridge names are simply listed alphabetically. Park Ridge did not provide street addresses for homes until after its incorporation as a city in 1910.

Part 8 of the Chicago Blue Book of 1890 is called the Ladies Shopping Guide and it is laid out much as the Yellow Pages of today, with ads and addresses for retail establishments. The very last pages of the book show pictures of seating arrangements at the theater venues of the time: the Auditorium, Central Music Hall, Chicago Opera House, Grand Opera House, Mavlin’s Theater, Hooley’s Theater, and McVicker’s Theater. An advertisement in this section touts the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway as being the only line running “Vestibuled, Electric lighted, and Steam heated” trains between Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Minneapolis.

The Chicago Blue Book of 1890 is a wonderful resource for information about life in this area 120 years ago. The issues from 1890 to 1915 are archived on the Internet, courtesy of the University of Illinois at Urbana Library. For anyone who enjoys studying history, it’s worth taking a look.


One hundred years ago, Park Ridge was home to a number of independent greenhouse operations, small and large, cultivating vegetables, cut and potted flowers, and herbs.

Cut roses being prepared for shipment in local green houses, circa 1940s

Before the building boom of the 1920s, wide, open space was still present throughout our community. Greenhouses were not incompatible with the developing residential character of Park Ridge, and they provided a means of support for independent businessmen and their families.

Chicago was a ready market for these products, which could be shipped into the city by rail or truck. Close-by farmlands offered a ready supply of natural fertilizer. Coal-fired furnaces provided steam heat for year-round operations.

During the City Centennial year, we will visit this era in several Lamppost articles. Covering the late 1890s to the early 1970s, we will report on the greenhouse industry in Park Ridge, using the stories of the extensive Premier Rose Garden greenhouse and the Heinz family greenhouses, both along the Highway, as bookends to our articles. In the meantime, please enjoy the companion image of the cutting room in a busy greenhouse cultivating roses during this era.


Come to Hodges Park anytime between 2 pm – 5 pm as we observe the exact date 100 years ago that Dr. Buchheit was elected our first mayor, and helped guide Park Ridge from a Village to a City.

Take a short guided tour of our history as viewed from the perimeter of the Park, including a walk past Dr. Buchheit’s residence and office building.

This event is still in the planning stage. More information will be posted on our website or call the Society at 847.696.1973

View March 2010 Lamppost Newsletter PDF