In 1886 during a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour day and in reaction to the killing of several workers the previous day by the police. An unknown person threw a bomb at police as they acted to disperse the public meeting. The police panicked, and in the darkness, many shot at their own men. Eventually, seven policemen died, only one directly accountable to the bomb. Four workers were also killed.
Eight men, representing a cross-section of the labor movement were selected to be tried. On August 20, 1886, the jury reported its verdict of guilty with the death penalty by hanging for seven of the Haymarket Eight, and 15 years of hard labor for Oscar Neebe. The national and worldwide pressure did finally force the Governor to change the sentences of Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab to imprisonment for life. Although 5 of the 8 were still to be hung the next day, on the morning of November 10, Louis Lingg was found in his cell, his head half blown away by a dynamite cap.
Forest Park Illinois is proud to be the final resting place for seven of the eight Haymarket Martyrs. Radicals still choose to be buried alongside the Haymarket Martyrs, referred to as Radical Row, including Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, and Ben Reitman. The Haymarket Martyrs Monument became a National Historic Landmark in 1997,
To celebrate our historical connection to International Labor Day, the Historical Society of Forest Park will present a Sunday afternoon of food, history, music, and fun at Howard Mohr Community Center. Tickets include a buffet of German food with vegan options. Musical performances by Jon Langford and Al Scorch. Presentation by Author Kenneth J. Knack and Peter Cole, Editor of Wobblies of the World.
Both the Howard Mohr Community Center and the Haymarket Martyrs Monument are a short walk from the Forest Park CTA blue line stop. A shuttle bus will be available between the community center and monument.
The following organizations and business will have tables during the event
Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore
Girls Rock Chicago!
League of Women Voters Oak Park-River Forest
Illinois Labor History Society
Artist Rafael Nieves
Sponsored by Revolution Brewery, Kinslahger, and Liquor Warehousemen Union - Local 3
Quilts have been used for hundreds of years as vehicles for thought and political action: now more than ever! Join textile artist Nora Renick Rinehart for an afternoon of art and action. First, you’ll learn about a few projects - historic and contemporary - that combine activism with quilting. Then you’ll learn some basic embroidery stitches and create a collaborative signature quilt to mark the occasion.
Every Stitch Counts: Quilts, Activism and Making Your Mark this past Sunday was terrific. Big thanks to Nora Renick-Rinehart for teaching us the history of activism in quilts and as well as how to embroider. Together we made a beautiful signature tumbling block quilt. Big thanks to the Forest Park Public Library for co-hosting this event with us.
Did you know that the Historical Society of Forest Park started in the Forest Park Library? Now we're back with a display case to show off items from our collection. We're next to the local history bookcase, right where we belong.
We've had a HUGE year
Two exhibits in Village Hall Lower Level
Nine tours including walking, biking and bus tours
Veterans Day Dinner
International Labor Day Celebration
Prohibition Pub Crawl
Cemetery Scavenger Hunt
We also brought history to German Fest, Music Fest and the Casket Race
We want 2018 to be even bigger, but we need your help to do it!
Our first Veteran's Day Dinner was amazing. With the generosity of Shanahan's we were able to honor Forest Park Veterans with a complimentary dinner. Attending veteran's were kind enough to share their stories. We look forward to hearing more of these stories in our oral history project.
If you are a veteran and would like to participate in our oral history project please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Even in a close-knit community like Forest Park, there is an awful lot we don’t know about our neighbors—we often don’t know all the struggles they’ve faced, the sacrifices they’ve made, or the obstacles they’ve overcome. Despite the yearly holiday dedicated to honoring them, this is particularly true of our neighbors who are veterans of the Armed Forces. Some of them have served bravely during wartime—seeing and experiencing the horrors of battle firsthand. Others have led lives of quiet dedication to country here at home or abroad. We rarely get to hear their stories.
The Historical Society of Forest Park has dedicated itself to making those stories more widely known and shared. To that end, the Society has begun an oral history project, which seeks to record the stories of our Forest Park veterans for posterity. This effort is being spearheaded by Board Member Nancy Cavaretta, who is actively seeking veterans who are willing to be interviewed on tape, and provide us an enduring record of their service to country.
The Society initiated this effort on Sunday November 12th with a Veterans Day dinner held at Shanahan’s restaurant at 7353 Madison. Forest Park veterans ate free courtesy of Shanahan’s, and were invited to share their stories. 23 people were present—including nine veterans.
Each veteran was invited to share their story---and each veteran gave an account of their service. Joe Byrnes spoke movingly of his service in Vietnam, and of a friend who he thought had died in combat but who contacted him years later to renew the bonds they had forged years earlier. Other veterans gave fascinating testimony of their time in Afghanistan, Germany and here at home. Common themes included the frequency of “military families” where a commitment to military service is passed on from parent to child; the deep friendships that develop in battle; and the lasing benefits of military training and access to education. Two of the veterans were medical doctors.
Veterans attending the event included: Joseph Byrne. Raphael Davis, Patricia Salazar-Davis, Joseph Johnston, Cliff Leber, Debra Funderwhite, Chaplain Chandeep Singh Kabra, and Lt. Col. Dr. Neil Meccia, and Dr. Paul Roach.
The Historical Society plans to make this Veterans Day Dinner a yearly event, and extends its gratitude to all Forest Park veterans—both those who attended this year and those who, it is hoped, will attend future events. It is also grateful to Shanahan’s for providing a space, and their picking up the tab for our Veterans.
Our annual general meeting was held October 18, 2017 at Forest Park Village Hall. President Jerry Lordan discussed the past year for the society. Executive Director, Alexis Ellers spoke about the programming. Jerry welcomed our new President, Terry Stienbach as he steps down to secretary. Long time board member and Vice President Augie Aleksy left the board after serving the maximum six years on the board.
Intern Shannan Evanson was awarded the Dr. Orland Volunteer Award for her work with the collection and exhibitions for the past year.
Following the meeting members and guest viewed the new exhibit in the Village Hall display cases. This exhibit is on cemetery symbolism, view a portion of the exhibit online
Congratulations to Shannan Evanson the winner of our annual Dr. Orland Award. Shannan began volunteering in September 2016. In 2017 she transitioned into our new Exhibition Internship, researching and creating the spring 2017 exhibition on the Forest Park Amusement Park. Shannan researched and illustrated the upcoming fall exhibit on cemetery symbolism. When she isn't working on an exhibit Shannan has taken on the task of digitizing our hand written accession records as well as accessioning new donations.
Shannan has a Anthropology degree with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently working at the Indian Trails Public Library as a Check-out Assistant, as well as the Elmhurst Public Library as a Phone Console Page. Additionally she volunteers at the Mayslake Peabody Estate when she is not interning at the Historical Society of Forest Park.
We deeply appreciate all of Shannan's hard work and commitment to the Forest Park Historical Society.