A bank by any other name ...

Inside report

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... is no surprise anymore. Banks change names at the drop of a merger although it took Chase a while to change over from Bank One. The big bank building at Lake and Marion has seen a number of name changes over the years, not to mention a number of signs. In fact, the Historical Society has a couple of the signs in their collection.

Though not the original location, Oak Park's oldest bank, Oak Park Trust and Savings, the house the Austins built, ended up at the corner of Lake and Marion by the early '20s and has remained a downtown anchor since. But the name has changed several times in the last 30 years. In the 1970s, it became First Chicago, then First Chicago/NBD (National Bank of Detroit), then Bank One, and now Chase.

Other longtime Oak Park and River Forest banks have undergone similar identity transformations. In just the last 15 years, Suburban Bank became Pinnacle, then Old Kent, and now Fifth Third. River Forest State Bank became Corus just within the last decade. Oak Park Federal became Great America Savings, then Savings of America, then LaSalle/Talman, and finally Community Bank of Oak Park-River Forest. Avenue State Bank became Firstar, then US Bank.

Odd for an industry that stresses steadiness and security.


Oak Parkers earn 'Good Eating Awards'

The Chicago Tribune's "Good Eating" section last Wednesday was devoted to naming the winners of their annual "Good Eating Awards" and two Oak Parkers were among them. Jim Slama, president of Sustain, which connects growers and consumers to promote the consumption of organic food, serves on the Governor's Agricultural Advisory Council and is also a member of the Chicago Organic Committee. Previously, he founded and edited the natural living magazine Conscious Choice.

Marge Gockel, along with former Oak Park resident Carla Lind, was honored for starting Oak Park's Farmers' Market 30 years ago. It began in 1975, and, according to the Trib, attracts 3,000 shoppers each weekend, buying from 26 vendors. Lind, the market's first chairwoman, now lives in Dodgeville, Wis.

Gockel, who served on the board for 10 years, is quoted as saying, "It's a really strong part of Oak Park. It's a community builder."

It is that, but it's finished for the year. You'll have to wait till the first weekend of June.


'None of the above' is actually Susan Conti

Wednesday Journal prides itself on being conversant with the movers and shakers who shape decisions in Oak Park and River Forest. So it's a little embarrassing to have it pointed out that we apparently sacked River Forest Village Clerk Susan Conti in last week's River Forest historical quiz (LifeLines, page 40, Oct. 26). The answer to question #39, "Who is village clerk of River Forest," is, well, "E" none of the above because we failed to list Conti as one of the answers.

Wednesday Journal regrets the error. Ms. Conti has done an admirable job over her first seven months as clerk, considering our lack of recognition, and we hereby reinstate her to office, with all powers, etc., etc.

By the way, we also have it wrong in Answer Book, so if you have it handy, turn to "Government," page 65, and pencil her in for future reference.

Thanks to River Forest Village Trustee Al Swanson for pointing out our oversight. He gets bonus points on the quiz.

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