As we modified our programming calendar for this difficult year we knew we would need to find a new creative way to honor our Forest Park Veterans and to share our continued oral history initiative, Our Neighbors, Our Heroes. We are very proud to display four banners on the fence of Veterans Field, visible from Harrison Street. It is our hope to continue to add banners every year as we collect more stories from Forest Park Veterans. If you are interested in sharing your story please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Mohr Oil for their sponsorship which made these banners possible. Thank you to Nancy Cavaretta for interviewing, research, and writing these stories.
The Historical Society of Forest Park and the Forest Park Public Library have joined forces to create the Village Wide Scavenger Hunt. Grab a booklet and solve our riddles! This scavenger hunt is a great way to explore Forest Park and can be adapted to a smaller area for families with smaller children or others with accessibility needs. Answer the riddle to find each location from Forest Park’s history. Take a picture of the location and write the address in your booklet. Share your answers with the form on to see how you did! You can also check your answers against the answer key on the last page.
The Historical Society of Forest Park hosted its third annual garden walk on July 11, the first where masks were worn and social distancing maintained. But despite COVID-necessitated rules, the event sold out and participants enjoyed a day strolling through Forest Park gardens.
Best in Show, an award given to the garden receiving most votes from participants, went to Tom O'Connel and Cameron Wilson for their backyard mural garden at 843 Circle Ave.
At 1054 Thomas, visitors had a chance to see the Worthington Home Veggie Garden and watch a cooking demo from local chef Ashley Simone of Zesty Catering.
Ralph and Andrea DiFebo gave tours of their outdoor living space, which includes a pizza oven and three-season screen house.
Pam and Drew Fontana opened their yard for people to visit their sculpture garden, featuring pieces collected over the years.
Kathy Caldwell's cottage garden at 821 Ferdinand St. is home to fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.
And the Taylor Home Small Space Garden featured flowers and historical relics the owners found in the 116-year-old home they rehabbed.
From Marigolds and Masks, Forest Park Review July 14th, 2020
Thank you to everyone who came to our Leap Day History and Community Fest! Big thanks to all our community groups, our sponsor Mohr Oil, Living Fresh for their cake donation, Smokey Joel’s Red Hots for donating hot dogs and lemonade, the Howard Mohr Community Center for allowing us to use their space and our face painter Ginger Gypsy.
Partygoers, dressed in 1920s attire, enjoyed live period music and craft cocktails at the Historical Society of Forest Park's prohibition fundraiser. Held in the side room of O'Sullivan's, 7244 Madison St., the evening's entertainment "celebrated" the Jan. 20, 1920 Volstead Act while learning about the impacts on Forest Park through a slideshow featuring some of the early saloons in town — and had a swinging time doing so.
According to the Historical Society's presentation, Forest Park had 42 saloons when the 18th Amendment was passed to prohibit "intoxicating liquors" in the United States. The National Prohibition Act prohibited the "manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors" anywhere in the country.
Nearly 30 Forest Park saloons closed their doors or went into another line of business after the passage of the law a century ago. On Jan. 20, 1920, the Volstead Act was passed to provide federal enforcement of the law.
While Forest Park, along with Berwyn and Cicero, was one of the local "wet" towns, neighboring Oak Park, River Forest, Maywood and Riverside were all "dry." The loss to the village was steep, as each tavern paid $500 for a license. To make up for the loss of revenue, the village doubled the water rate and increased other taxes.
Taverns were social centers, exclusively inhabited by men, and generally quite peaceful. There were no TVs or recorded music, so conversation was the entertainment, and profanity was rarely tolerated back then. If there was a disagreement, the bartender would wave a club and that would usually settle things down.
In 1908, the Oak Leaves newspaper reported troubles with Oak Park "roomers" loitering in their business districts. Police would tell the young fellows to "move on," and they would. Apparently, these fellows would "move on" by crossing the "line" into Forest Park's saloon community. The taverns reportedly had "doors wide open," with cozy tables, perhaps music and someone to talk to. If only they purchase a glass or so of beer, they are treated as if they were really some personage."
Based on several federal raids in town at taverns, restaurants, in garages and in homes, it is fair to say that the liquor was still flowing in Forest Park in the 1920s.
And it still is today.
By Jill Wagner
From the Forest Park Review
This year our Dr. Orland award for volunteering went to Amy Binns-Calvey for her amazing and committed work with the Haymarket Martyrs Monument. Amy has been giving our monthly tour for the past two years. We are so fortunate to have her knowledge and passion.
Join Amy the first Saturday of the month (May-October) 11:00 am at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Forest Home Cemetery.
Oral Historian and retiring Board Member Nancy Cavaretta completed two new compelling stories this year.
Visit our website to hear the stories of Mike Close and Don Lines.
Hear their stories.
Our annual Veterans Day Dinner and Program is a time for our community to come together to recognize the sacrifices of the veterans in our community. Retiring Board member Chris Everett presented the amazing work of our Oral Historian Nancy Cavaretta's project, Our Neighbors, Our Heroes, featuring interviews with Forest Park Veterans. These stories can be found on our website.
During our annual meeting, The Historical Society of Forest Park said goodbye and thank you to our retiring board members Terry Steinbach, Chris Everett, Nancy Cavaretta, and Brian Kuhr and welcomed new board members Daniel Cross, Carol Gulyas, and Kristin Lyons. Visit our website to get to know our board. If you are interested in joining the board please contact email@example.com.
Thank you once again to the American Legion for the donation of their beautiful hall and their support of our oral history initiative.
The Historical Society of Forest Park mourns the passing of our previous Board of Directors member and self-described “seat of the pants historian” Mark Rogovin.
If you were lucky enough to be at the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument while Mark was driving down Des Plaines he would have pulled into the cemetery to give you an impromptu tour by the man who wrote the book on it. Mark co-authored both editions of The Day Will Come, a comprehensive booklet with biographies of everyone who is buried or had ashes scattered at Radical Row. Digging deep into the handwritten cemetery records, Mark found the people and their sometimes forgotten stories.
In 2010, working with the Illinois Labor History Mark launched a successful crowdsource campaign to replace the stolen bronze fronds and flowers from the front of the Haymarket Martyrs Monument. Mark found historic photos of the fronds and flowers and worked closely with the restoration company, Conservation of Sculptures & Objects Studio, inc, even driving a few hours to the bronze pouring to see them made with his own eyes. On the 125th anniversary of Haymarket, the restored bronze fronds and flowers we unveiled.
Concerned that the intricate Altgeld pardon plaque from the rear of the monument could also face the same fate of being stolen Mark created another successful crowdfunding campaign to get a mold of the plaque made. The only remaining piece that needed restored was the small rear plaque with the names of men who were given sentences other than hanging at the Haymarket trial, Mark, of course, worked to have this piece recreated. The Haymarket Martyrs Monument is restored for all the world to see thanks to Mark Rogovin.
But restoring the monument wasn’t enough, Mark wanted to know what was under it. After learning of a time capsule buried at the cornerstone of the monument Mark and his co-researcher Bleue Benton worked to have the time-capsule exhumed. In 2016 the excavation to find the time-capsule took place with the team of experts they assembled. Unfortunately, this dig did not result in finding the time-capsule.
Working with the Historical Society of Forest Park Mark used his vast knowledge of Forest Home Cemetery and their records to locate victims of the Eastland Disaster buried there for the 110 year anniversary of the largest inland ship disaster in American history. Knowing that so many people came to Forest Home Cemetery to see the Haymarket Martyrs Monument, a National Historic Monument Mark created a website Forest Home Cemetery Overview to give a comprehensive background on this very unique cemetery as a whole.
Mark never would shy away from asking for people to donate their historical items to the society, often convincing them of the value he saw it in. From pulling out pieces of railroad when the street was redone to lamb cake pans from Kay's Bakery to the stained glass window from Wolf Bros. Mark wanted to preserve it all.
The monthly tour on the first Saturday of the month (May-October) at 11 am that he started and lead for many years still continues. His booklet The Day Will Come is available online, at the cemetery office and at Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore. We hope that you too can enjoy the history of the Haymarket the way Mark did.
Read more about Mark's exceptional life:
Forest Park Review: Missing Mark Rogovin
Forest Park Review: Mark Rogovin, 73, exemplified being a 'good neighbor'
Chicago Tribune: Mark Rogovin, artist and activist who promoted outdoor murals and social justice, dies
People's World: Mark Rogovin, 1946 – 2019; Artist, activist, organizer