River Forest celebrates 125 years
Here’s the calendar of anniversary events, provided by Laurel McMahon, president of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest and chair of the 125th anniversary committee.

April: Street banners installed

April 9: Parade of Elegant Homes housewalk

April 15: Grand reopening of Keystone Park

April 16: Official opening of soccer/baseball/softball season. Teams will sport the River Forest 125th Anniversary logo

May: District 90 essay/multimedia contest  on “Proud Heritage, Bright Future.”

May 1: Walk of faith; a visit to 11 houses of worship

May 14: Des Plaines River cleanup

May 30: Memorial Day parade, followed by  ceremony and picnic at Constitution Park

June: River Forest Public Library display  of Dist. 90 student essays, Dist. 90 summer school iMovie project on  the history of River Forest

June 5: Day in Our Village booth

June 17: Village cocktail party at Dominican University, a fundraiser for the restoration of the Cummings Memorial. Exhibition of River Forest artists at Dominican gallery.

July 4: South of the Tracks Society chalkfest

July 12: Whole Foods community benefit day, to benefit Cummings Memorial restoration.

August: RF Library display on local authors

Aug. 5: RF Park District ice cream social,  Tom’s cool car show

Sept. 5: Showcase at OPRF student center (through end of semester)

Sept. 10: Clear Skies Festival

Sept. 21: “Historical Perspective View of the Judeo-Christian Religious Presence  During the Past Centuries,” a film  by Cliff Johnson with discussion, at West Suburban Temple Har Zion

Sept. 24: Makin’ Tracks 5K run

October: RF Library display on the history of the village

Oct. 6: “The Influence of Dominican  Education in River Forest” discussion at Trinity HS

Oct. 8: OPRF Homecoming parade through River Forest and Oak Park,  Fire/police/municipal open house

Oct. 16: Tale of the Tombstones tour of Forest Home Cemetery

Oct. 22-3: Installation of plaque over library centennial time capsule

Oct. 24: Village board commemoration ceremony at 125th anniversary of RF incorporation


Wright on: a sneak peak at  Wright Walk 2005
Harry C. Goodrich House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1896 This early experiment demonstrates the influence of the 1893 Columbian Exposition on Wright. “You can see particular elements you’d affiliate with Wright, but it’s not typical,” explains Mercuri. “It has a Wright look inside,” and has elements similar to both the H.P. Young House, also in Oak Park, and the bootleg houses of the same period. Previous owners did a lot of restoration work and the current owners are in the process of conducting research and doing more. Committee researchers have already uncovered relatives who are proving very helpful to the homeowners, according to Mercuri.

George W. Furbeck House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1897 This home, with its rectangular masses combined with Queen Anne towers, marks the start of Wright’s period of experimentation. “This is another really interesting house you might not pick out as Wright. It’s not large, but it has impact,” explains Mercuri.

Rollin Furbeck House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1897 “This is a very different house from [brother] George’s,” says Mercuri. A transitional design experiment with massing and complex brickwork as ornamentation, the home has been restored and expanded by the present owners. Mercuri notes that this is a good example of what you can do with a historic home: homeowners have built a “sensitively done” addition that conforms both to current lifestyles and the original design.

William G. Fricke House, Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Webster Tomlinson, 1901 Wright and Tomlinson designed this home in 1901 (they shared a brief partnership in 1901-1902). It’s one of Wright’s first mature Prairie designs. “This is one of my favorites,” says Mercuri. “It’s interesting how vertical it is, unlike Robie [House], for instance.” Restored by new owners, Fricke House has all the bells and whistles”beautiful woodwork, geometric elements, and leaded art-glass windows. It also looks out on a beautiful garden.

Charles Erwin House, Unknown architect, 1894 This is an example of an architecturally significant house by an unknown architect, according to Mercuri. An archetypal Victorian, it includes both Queen Anne and Stick-style details. “There are not that many Stick styles around,” she notes.

Burton F. Hales House, Henry G. Fiddelke, 1904-1905. Very different from the other homes on the tour (and rarely open for any event), Hales House is a large, medieval, Tudor revival-style mansion.

Dale Bumstead House, Tallmadge & Watson, 1909 This “beautifully restored,” Prairie-style house hasn’t been on Wright Plus since 1981, says Mercuri. “Notice the differences from Wright, in the traffic flow and different elements used.”

Oliver N. Caldwell House, George W. Maher, 1909 George Maher designed a number of houses in Oak Park, including Historic Pleasant Home. This is a beautiful example of his work and includes many of his signature details.

Gustavus Babson House II,  Tallmadge & Watson, 1913 Although also designed by Tallmadge Watson, this home is different in scale,pmaterials and layout from Bumstead House. It’s an imposing and interesting interpretation of the Prairie style, according to Mercuri.

SINGLE EVENTS (chronological)
May 14: by District 97’s Multicultural Education Department, Ethnic Fest celebrates cultural diversity in Oak Park. The 10 a.m. parade ends up at Whittier School, 715 N. Harvey Ave., where food and entertainment fill the afternoon. For information, call 524-3080.

May 19-22: The Harrison Street Arts District will bustle with spring activities during What’s Blooming on Harrison as shops prepare for the change in season. Celebrate spring and see fresh new artwork, music and special activities throughout the weekend. For more information, call Dawn Ferencak at 773/622-0324, Bead in Hand at 848-1761, or visit wwww.shopoakpark.com.

May 21: The annual Wright Plus Housewalk. See “Housewalks” below.

May 22: Sponsored by the West Suburban Artists Guild and the Park District of Oak Park, the 36th annual Art in the Park will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Austin Gardens, Ontario and Forest avenues in downtown Oak Park. The fine arts fair also will feature music, a children’s corner and cuisine provided by Whole Foods. For information, call Terry Harrison, 630/279-7572.

May 30: Sponsored by the River Forest Service Club, the Memorial Day Parade will step off from Park and Lake, go east to Ashland, then head north on Ashland to Greenfield. That’s right, the same route as last year. The parade will be followed by Memorial Day ceremonies. The annual parade dates back to the 1930s. For information, call Tom Cusack at 366-6540.

June 4: Now a village institution, the Oak Park Farmers’ Market kicks off the season the first Saturday of June and run every Saturday, rain or shine, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the last weekend in October. The market, held at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St., features donuts and entertainment in addition to a wide array of seasonal fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers, plus charity bake sales and annual events such as the August corn roast. For more information call 358-5780.

June 5: The 32nd annual Day in Our Village, sponsored by the Community Relations Department of the Village of Oak Park, will take place in Scoville Park, Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. It features entertainment, a food court, a beer garden, activities and lots of information booths. For information, call 358-5409.

June 12-Aug. 28: Oak Park’s Summer Concert Series, weekly outdoor concerts held Sundays 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Scoville Park. For information, call the Park District of Oak Park at 383-0002.

June 16-Aug. 21: The Oak Park Festival Theatre will present Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors as its annual outdoor production in Austin Gardens, Forest Avenue at Ontario Street. Showtimes are 8 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays. The theater also will feature Arthur Miller’s All My Sons Mondays and Tuesdays in July and August in Austin Gardens. Guest artist Megan Wells will perform The Myth of Love on Wednesdays, June 29-Aug. 17. To order tickets call 524-2050.

July 4: The annual Fourth of July Fireworks, produced by the Great American Lightshow Association, and family celebration will be held at Oak Park and River Forest High School Stadium and athletic fields (tentative rain date July 5). For information, call Ruth McLaren at 660-1000.

July 4: The fifth annual Oak Park Fourth of July Parade will begin at 2 p.m. The parade will step off from Ridgeland and Adams and head north on Ridgeland to Augusta. For more information, call Community Relations at 358-5406.

Aug. 5-6: The annual Friends of Oak Park Library Book Fair used-book sale fundraiser, benefiting the Oak Park Public Library, will be held at OPRF High School, 201 N. Scoville. On Aug. 5, the sale runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and admission is $5. On
Aug. 6, it runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Dropoff donations of used books will be accepted at the high school during July. For information, call the library at 383-8200 or 445-6260 (http://oppl.org).

Aug. 19-20: Artists and craft artists from all over the metro area and the country will display their wares in Scoville Park during the Oak Park Avenue-Lake Arts and Crafts Show, presented by the American Society of Artists and sponsored by the Avenue Business Association and the Park District of Oak Park. For information call 312/751-2500.

Aug. 21: Sponsored by the American Women of Oak Park/River Forest, Taste the Flavor of Oak Park will feature food and entertainment in Scoville Park. Vendors are always needed. For information, call Joie Pierce at 524-2415.

Sept. 9-11: Stroll through the Harrison Street Arts District during Art on Harrison and enjoy special demonstrations, exhibitions, musical and other activities at art galleries, studios, shops and restaurants. For information, call Dawn Ferencak, 773/622-0324 or visit www.shopoakpark.com.

Sept. 16-18: Sponsored by Downtown Oak Park, the Oktoberfest features a weekend of musical entertainment, contests, food booths, a beer garden and outdoor sales in the heart of Oak Park. Call 383-4145 for information or visit www.downtownoakpark.net.

Sept. 25: The ninth Doll’s Tea Party, sponsored by the Oak Park Women’s Exchange, will be held at 839 S. Oak Park Ave. Bring your children and their dolls to enjoy activities and refreshments. Free. Call 848-4693 for information.

Oct. 8: Oak Park and River Forest High School’s 2004 Homecoming Celebration will begin with a community pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. in the high school’s south cafeteria, followed by the annual homecoming parade at 11 a.m. The parade is tentatively scheduled to begin at William Street in River Forest and head east on Lake Street to the OPRF Stadium on Linden Avenue. The homecoming game will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 16: The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest will sponsor its annual Cemetery Walk at Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park. For information call the Historical Society at 848-6755 or visit www.oprf.com/oprfhist/.

Nov. 4: Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Artful Object benefit auction of artworks will be at Foley-Rice Cadillac Oldsmobile in Oak Park dealership, 644 Madison. Call 358-5690 for more information or visit www.OakParkAreaArtsCouncil.org.

Nov. 6: The 31st annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair, sponsored by the Oak Park Women’s Exchange, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Oak Park and River Forest High School. More than 150 artists from several states will participate. Admission is $3; children 12 and under, free. Call 848-4693 for information.

Nov. 26-Dec. 31: Santa’s arrival in Oak Park will be marked by a tree lighting ceremony at Lake and Marion on Nov. 26. Festivities will continue throughout December at the Holiday House (location to be determined), including entertainment, free gift wrapping, photos with Santa. Call 383-4145 for information or visit www.downtownoakpark.net.

Dec. 2-4: The galleries and shops of the Harrison Street Arts District invite the public to enjoy Holiday Lights on Harrison, featuring decorated windows, artist receptions, music, workshops and other events. Hours: Friday, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, 12-8 p.m.; Sunday, 12-5 p.m. For more information, call Bead in Hand at 848-1761 or visit online at www.shopoakpark.com.

Dec. 10: Downtown Oak Park’s Holiday Celebration will feature a free holiday movie at the Lake Theatre, open houses and sales at shops, family entertainment and photos with Santa at the Holiday House (location to be determined). Call 383-4145 for information or visit www.downtownoakpark.net.

Dec. 10 and 17: Enjoy free Victorian Christmas Tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park home. Specially created for children and led by junior interpreters, these entertaining and enriching tours are an eagerly anticipated event every year. Victorian Christmas tours will take place from 9-11 a.m. Tours depart from the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, 951 Chicago Ave. For information, call 848-1976.

2005: 3rd Fridays on Harrison Street. Year-round artists’ receptions and demonstrations at many Harrison Street galleries every third Friday.

Feb. 2006: Handel Week Festival Performances for the seventh season will be held at 7:30 p.m.,

Feb. 5 and 14 and at 3 p.m., Feb. 19 at Grace Episcopal Church, 924 Lake St. Volunteers are needed; contact Mary McVicker at 386-5869 or e-mail info@handelweek.com or visit www.handelweek.com.

MULTIPLE EVENTS (alphabetical by organization)
The Cheney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid Ave., O.P.: May 21 Spring Plant Sale 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; May 22 Garden Fare and continuing Plant Sale, noon-5 p.m.; June 15 Garden Days begin, opening the mansion’s award-winning gardens to visitors every Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m. through the end of August. Garden staff will answer gardening questions. Other annual events include the Nov. 14 Amaryllis Show and Sale, beginning at noon; Dec. 3 Breakfast, Lunch & Tea With Santa; Dec.5-8 Holiday Open House 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The gardens are open Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will also be classical, jazz and caberet concerts and a country/western jamboree including a barbeque and dance lessons in late summer; dates to be announced. The mansion sponsers cooking classes for adults and for children age 8-12. For information, call 383-2612 or visit www.cheneymansion.com.

Ernest Hemingway Birthplace and Museum, the Arts Center, 200 N. Oak Park Ave., O.P. Hemingway Birthday Colloquium and Hemingway Conference will be held July 21 at the Hemingway Museum, 200 N. Oak Park Ave. The Boxing Day Celebration on Dec. 26 celebrates the traditional English holiday in the turn-of-the-century style of the Hemingway family. English refreshments and music will be available. For information about both events, call the Hemingway Foundation at 848-2222.

Oak Park Conservatory and Conservatory Center, 615 Garfield at East Avenue, 386-4700. April 30 Cook’s Garden/Gardeners Cook. Join a chef and master gardener for demonstrations and lectures from 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 to 3 p.m. This is a free event but you must register. Call 725-2460. May 7 Herb and Scented Plant Sale, featuring Garden All Stars, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. May 14 Spring Plant Exchange, dropoff 9 a.m.-noon, pickup 1-3 p.m. June 25 The conservatory’s 17th annual Garden Walk tour of 10 local gardens, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It begins at the conservatory and is co-sponsored by the Garden Club of Oak Park-River Forest and Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. Tickets will be available at the conservatory and other locations beginning May 3 and are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the walk. Sept. 10 The Houseplant Cutting and Potted Plant Exchange, dropoff from 9 a.m. to noon, pickup 1-3 p.m. Nov. 6 Friends of the Conservatory Harvest Festival, noon-4 p.m., will include children’s events (small fee for non-members). Dec. 4 Holiday Open House, noon-4 p.m. For information, call Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory at 725-2460.

Downtown Oak Park: June 2-Aug.25 Thursday Night Out, dining out, street entertainment, store specials. June 5 Day in Our Village, bike decorating and parade, 12-5 p.m. (Lake Street closed to traffic between Harlem and Forest). July 14-17 Sidewalk Sale. Sept.16-18 Oktoberfest. Nov. 1-Dec. 25 Holiday Rebate Program”save receipts from DTOP businesses for a $50 DTOP gift certificate. Nov. 26 Santa’s Arrival, Tree Lighting Ceremony. Dec. 10 Holiday Celebration Open House. 

HOUSEWALKS (alphabetical by event)
ASID Showcase House: The Infant Welfare Society and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) will present their annual Showcase House, Sept. 19-Oct. 2. Proceeds benefit the Oak Park-River Forest Infant Welfare Clinic, 320 Lake St., Oak Park. The Infant Welfare Society also hosts a Holiday Housewalk the last Friday of November or the first Friday of December. The early evening tour features six decorated homes in Oak Park or River Forest. For tickets and information for either event, call the clinic at 848-0528 or visit www.infantwelfareoakpark.org.

Painted Lady Housewalk, Sept. 10: The 19th Century Club’s annual housewalk will tour seven Victorian homes in Oak Park between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of the walk. Tickets include a tea reception and boutique from 2 to 5 p.m. at the 19th Century Club, 178 Forest Ave. For information, call 386-2729.

Parenthesis Kitchen Walk, April 30: The 20th annual tour of 10 remodeled kitchens in Oak Park and River Forest homes is sponsored by Parenthesis Parent Child Center. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of the walk. Proceeds benefit Parenthesis parenting education and support services for area families. For more information call 848-2227 or visit www.parenthesis-info.org.

Wright Plus, May 21: The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust’s 31st annual Wright Plus benefit housewalk features rare interior tours of architecturally significant homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries, all in Oak Park or River Forest. The walk is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 848-9518 weekdays, by fax at 848-2327 or online at www.wrightplus.org. Tickets are also available at Ginkgo Tree Bookshop, 951 Chicago Ave.: $70 for Preservation Trust members, $85 for nonmembers (limit of four tickets at the discounted price). For more information about tickets or Wright Plus, call 848-1976.

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