Our City Centennial celebration was made official on April 19th when Mayor Dave Schmidt made a proclamation at the opening of that night’s city council meeting, declaring May 24, 2010, to be Albert Buchheit Day and the year May 2010 through April 2011 to be the Park Ridge City Centennial Year. Historical Society trustee Sharon Porterfield was present at the council meeting to receive the proclamation from the mayor.

The City Centennial officially kicked off on Monday, May 24, with the celebration of Albert Buchheit Day. From 2:00 until 6:00, on a very hot day, Society trustees Wes Cline, Paul Adlaf, John Hyslop, Barbara Christopher, Pat Adlaf and Nancy Pytel were in Hodges Park to give “A View of History” tours to anyone who stopped by. Over the course of the afternoon, approximately 70 adults came by for a tour. In addition, the entire 5th through 8th grade classes of St. Andrews Lutheran School attended the event, and an Indian Guides tribe participated in a special evening tour. Amber Ensign, Park Ridge Library research librarian, put together an extensive collection of Park Ridge memorabilia which could be viewed all afternoon in the lobby of City Hall. Among other things, she had old postcards of Park Ridge, high school class lists, and many other historic documents on display.

Visitors on Albert Buchheit Day

Student guests from St. Andrews School
Please Mark Your Calendar!
City Centennial Antiques, Collectibles and Flea Market
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Hodges Park – 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
City Centennial ‘Spirits’ of Old Park Ridge
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Town of Maine Cemetery – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Two nights later, about 50 people enjoyed a spirited talk by Peter Malone, grandson of our town’s second mayor, at the Summit of Uptown.We thank Marc Dennison, who provided use of the room to the Society, along with complimentary ice water, coffee, and desserts. To the delight of the audience, Pete spoke about what life was like for him growing up here in Park Ridge. He also gave some insights into the way things were in 1910, both here and all across our country. Many current and former Park Ridge residents were present to welcome Pete, who now lives in a western suburb, and to join him in reminiscing about our city’s past.
The following Monday, the Society continued its City Centennial celebration by taking part in the Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade. Dale Mueller took the wheel of his 1912 Maxwell, while Society Trustees Mary Ellen Jones and John Murp hyrode in the back seat. Grace Murphy and Elizabeth Porterfield walked alongside, handing out to the curbside spectators small bags of old-time candy tied with Society business cards.
On the last day of June, the Society was invited to present a display table at the Library’s Lawn Event. A Park Ridge history timeline, designed by Trustee Barbara Christopher, was on dis-play, along with Park Ridge flag coloring sheets for the children in attendance. Trustees Sue Henn Jeff Caudill, and Pat and Paul Adlaf, along with Society friends Elizabeth Ryles and Mary Ann Tanquary, were on hand to answer any questions about Park Ridge history. Throughout the year, the Historical Society has been working hard to be a presence in our community, keeping Park Ridge history before the eyes of our residents. The celebration of the
City Centennial has given us many opportunities to present Park Ridge historical facts to the public, and there is more to look forward to in the months ahead. The Public Library’s second-floor display case will profile Park Ridge history all through the month of September. A keepsake Park Ridge history insert is planned for the October Spokesman. And the Society’s October cemetery walk will feature all past mayors of Park Ridge interred in Town of Maine Cemetery. As you can see, Park Ridge history is alive and well in this City Centennial Year.
Just Announced:
The Annual Meeting of the Society
will be Sunday, October 17th
at the Park Ridge Country Club.
More details to follow.
You can reach the Society by telephone:
847.696.1973, or by email:


At the Pete Malone speaking program on May 26th, Marc Dennison presented a special plaque to the Historical Society, commemorating the history of the Summit of Uptown in Park Ridge history. The plaque includes small specimens of the four bricks used in building the facade of the Park Ridge Inn. The Summit is the continuing presence of the former Park Ridge Inn, built in 1960 as a hotel, and now a complex of rooms and facilities for long-term residential occupancy. The Society is grateful to Marc Dennison, whose family owns the Summit, for preparing this plaque for us.
Marc also informed us that the Park Ridge Inn was the work of architectural firm Hausner & Macsai, whose partnership from 1955-1970 saw the design and building of many high-rise buildings for Lake Shore Management. Their most well-known building was Harbor House, 3200 Lake Shore Drive, 1968, whose innovative
design contains no central corridors. Instead, apartments are accessed from three separate elevator banks, allowing 150 of the 278 apartments to have floor plans extending throughout the building. The Park Ridge Inn was converted to residential living in the late 1970s.
Marc tells us that Hausner & Macsai may have been the architects for the infamous ‘purple hotel’ in Lincolnwood as well, built around the same time and in a style very similar to our Park Ridge Inn, but he has been unable to confirm this.


Camp Fire USA celebrated its Centennial on Saturday, July 30th. The Camp Fire Girls were founded by Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick and his wife Charlotte in 1910, and on the 30th, there was a time-coordinated celebration of the group’s centennial at many Centennial Campfires throughout the USA. The Illinois Prairie Council chose Park Ridge for its Centennial Campfire because of the presence of our elegant fountain dedicated to the Camp Fire Girls. This image was recorded during the almost two-hour ceremony celebrating the Centennial.


We thank long-time Park Ridge resident Rosemary Cordes for the following recollections of her life growing up in one of the largest greenhouses in Park Ridge. In the early 20th century, the land in and around Park Ridge was devoted to truck farming and greenhouses. In about 1894, the Premier Rose Gardens greenhouse operation purchased the house in which Rosemary was raised, at 219 Park Avenue, and set up operations in Park Ridge. Previously, the land was owned by the Buettner family and used for farming.
Premier Rose Gardens also operated three other large greenhouses in Des Plaines, Melrose Park and Maywood, and was said to be the largest grower of roses in the world at the time. The Park Ridge location was between the Railroad tracks and South Northwest Highway, with St. Paul of the Cross Church to the west, and the Edison Park border to the east.
Rosemary’s father, Joseph Wiltgen, became manager of the local Premier Rose Garden greenhouse in 1927. She and her brother and two sisters lived in the greenhouse manager’s house until 1940. Their only neighbors were in one house to the west of theirs, occupied by the Coleman family, one of the founding families of our Community Church. Ruth Coleman was the first librarian at the Park Ridge Library in 1913, and later worked at Northwestern University. The Coleman house stood just next to the old white frame St. Paul of the Cross Church.
 Her house held a certain fascination for friends who spent the night. Located between
the railroad line and the main highway leading from Chicago to Wisconsin, it shook and rattled with every passing train and truck all day and night. Steam heat was supplied from the greenhouse boiler, and when it reached the smaller pipes in the house it came with a tremendous shaking and banging. It could be very frightening for an overnight guest. The
large screen porch was popular throughout the summer, but was also a place of refuge all year round in bad weather. Since the house was one of the few homes between downtown Park Ridge and Chicago bus service at Ozark Avenue, during a summer rainstorm it became a place of refuge for the waiters who worked in the popular Tally-Ho and Pantry Restaurants who were on their way to the bus. The porch was where the family slept on hot nights, where endless games of the new Monopoly were played, where rainy days were spent reading comic books, and weekends watching the stream of cars carrying Chicagoans to their summer homes in Wisconsin.
The country was in the midst of a great depression during Rosemary’s childhood, but she and her sisters and brother were hardly aware of it. Their garden provided all they needed to eat, and they thought they were living an idyllic life with all the adventures a farm has to offer and at the same time near to town and able to walk just a few blocks to the stores, library and movies. It was only when  they were a few years older that they realized that the beef tongue, kidneys and pasta they ate often were an indication that money was scarce.
It was common to have men appearing at the door at mealtime asking for something to eat, or permission to sleep in the barn. Door-to-door salespeople were common, and welcomed by Rosemary’s mother. There was a man named Sam Rattle, who sold small house-hold necessities; a woman referred to by the name ‘the bittersweet lady,’ who came every autumn to sell a colorful dried plant by that name, and the Watkins salesman, who sold spices. Besides relatives from Chicago and
Evanston who came to visit their ‘country cousins,’ and to pick vegetables from their garden, there was a constant stream of visits to the greenhouses.
….To be continue
Ralph Bishop, Jim Sindt and Peter Malone chatting about the changes in Lincoln School over the last 65 years.


Looking at Old Homes…..
Park Ridge has always been known as a city of homes, and in January of 2010 the City of Park Ridge adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance to preserve those homes and areas with historic significance.
A nine-member Preservation Commission was created to make recommendations to the City Council for historic landmark designations. Two of the Commissioners, Paul Adlaf and Barbara Christopher, are Members of the Park Ridge Historical Society.
At its August 4 Meeting, the Commission approved the application of the owners of the Pickwick Building for designation of the Building as the first Park Ridge landmark. The matter now goes to the City Council for final approval. Applications for land mark designation are welcomed by the Commission. Please call the
Society or send us an email if you would like a copy of the Landmark Application Form, and the Guidelines to the Land-marking process provided by the City. You can also obtain these at City Hall at the Community Preservation and Development Department.

At left, please note the image of the 1895 home of the Isaac Foster Dunwiddie family. As a courtesy to the Dunwiddie family descendents, we are asking our readers and Web Site visitors to let us know if they recognize this house and its location in Park Ridge. Historic designations help to preserve the original character and aesthetic of the homes that make our city unique.


Lynne Iorio was one of the most dedicated volunteers within the Society. She worked tirelessly for many years to make certain that all guests at our former home at 41 South Prairie Avenue were greeted properly, and provided with a thorough tour of the Museum building. Lynne and her dedicated group of Committee Members kept all of the displays within the Museum in good shape and ready for Saturday tour s, as well as for the many scout and student groups we accommodated during the week.
Lynne would have it no other way. She gave of her time selflessly: every Saturday we were open at the Museum, for hosting work and the care of our exhibits and displays, as well as her many years on the Board of Trustees. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Iorio, the Park Ridge Poet Laureate, two years ago. They lived for many years on Habberton in Park Ridge.
We are also pleased to tell you that Lynne remembered the Society with a generous bequest from her estate. We appreciate this gesture to the Society all the more as we move ahead with our ‘History on the Move’ project. Lynne’s legacy of the volunteering spirit, and dedication to the community served by the Society will be long remembered by us.
View the September 2010 Lamppost