Truly an event of community-wide proportions, the OPRF Infant Welfare Designer Showcase House and Garden 2007 at the Elizabeth F. Cheney Mansion, Oak Park, closed Sunday, Sept. 30, after a spectacular three week run.   More than 5,500 visitors toured the Cheney Mansion between Sept. 9 and 30.   Concluding the 90th anniversary celebration of the OPRF Infant Welfare Society Clinic, the Showcase House is the major annual fundraiser for the clinic which is located at 320 Lake St..  We want to express our gratitude to the Park District of Oak Park board, Executive Director Gary Balling, Laura Thompson, and Kent Newton for working as team members with Infant Welfare to present the Cheney Mansion not only as the 2007 Showcase House but also as a showcase house for years to come.

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to Angel Harvey, Honorary 90th Anniversary Chair, for underwriting the Preview Party on Friday, Sept. 7.  More than 450 guests enjoyed “A Starry Night in the Garden” and got a first look at the house.  Thank you to Dick and Mary Anderson for underwriting the 12 members of the Chicago Sinfonietta who performed; Jewell Events Catering, Partytime Rentals, and Sam Bezanis, Ltd. for their generous contributions.

A project proposed by Infant Welfare two years ago, the interior spaces of the Showcase House at the Cheney Mansion were refurbished and designed by 15 Chicagoland design firms and students from two local junior colleges.  We are extremely grateful to the designer groups for their generous donations of talent, time, and treasure to beautify each room in the house and coach house.  Special thanks go to Jane Levy, design advisor, who worked with the designer groups to achieve a unified look in the mansion.  Five landscape design groups, a local lighting company, and the Garden Club of Oak Park and River Forest enhanced the permanent garden with their donations of planted containers and lighting.  We especially appreciate the Cheney Mansion’s gardening staff, Charlie Ruedebusch and Karen Bara for working tirelessly to prepare and maintain the spectacular Cheney grounds. 

We are appreciative of the many volunteers – Infant Welfare members and spouses, friends, and neighbors who worked multiple shifts as docents and in other capacities throughout the three week run.  We thank our benefactors, guidebook sponsors, and many gracious donors of gifts in kind.  Special thanks go Chuck Cozette, an Oak Parker and editor and publisher of West Suburban Living magazine, who published this year’s guidebook of which we are very proud. 

Thank you to the Oak Park Fire and Police Departments who worked with us to provide a safe and secure environment for our volunteers and guests.  Lastly, but of course not least, we want to thank the Park District of Oak Park building and maintenance staff for helping keep the Cheney Mansion running smoothly while being enjoyed by so many visitors.  

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