Both the preservation and celebration of River Forest history came to the fore in 2004. In September River Forest President Frank Paris appointed over 20 people to the village's 125th Anniversary Committee. The group held its first meeting in late September, and as of the end of December, appeared well on its way to developing concepts and schedules for the six month celebration tentatively scheduled to begin this coming April. The purpose and intent of the large committee, chairperson Laurel McMahon emphasized in September, was to facilitate and coordinate the visions of other groups, rather than impose their own views on what should occur.
"I think it's really important that every institution and organization be invited to participate as fully as possible," said McMahon in September. "The best way to do that is to have a rep on the committee."
Historic Preservation also took a front seat in 2004. McMahon, who is also the president of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, was one of seven individuals appointed by the village board to the Ad Hoc Committee on Historic Preservation last Jan. 12. The committee studied ordinances in such communities as Oak Park, Riverside, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, and Wilmette. In September the committee recommended to the village board that it establish a permanent Historic Preservation Committee. The need for such action was underscored the following week, when the River Forest Women's Club was placed on the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois's "Watch List." The LPCI called the 92 year old building "a prime candidate for tear down and redevelopment."