How well do you know Oak Park?

Take the Dooper Challenge and find out


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By Doug Deuchler


Part I

There's an old-time slang term still in use around here: Dooper. The origin of this word is vague but its local definition is precise. Doopers are enthusiastic Oak Parkers who tirelessly promote and adore their beloved village's image and history. 

Perhaps the term derives from "super-dooper," a vintage adjective applied to whatever is truly awesome or amazing. Older folks insist DOOPer is an acronym for "Dear Old Oak Parkers" (based on an early book titled, Dear Old Oak Park) — those proud, energized boosters who are indefatigable cheerleaders for their community.

So are you a Dooper? Grab a sheet of paper, number it from 1 to 20, and take Part I of the Dooper Challenge. Part II will run next week.

1) Which of these is not a boundary street for Oak Park? 

a. Roosevelt Road

b. Austin Boulevard

c. Harlem Avenue

d. Ridgeland Avenue

2) The Historical Society of Oak Park-River Forest's new home will be a restored 1898 building. What was it originally? 

a. firehouse 

b. opera house

c. convent

d. hotel

3) The nearest pizza-by-the-slice venue to the Lake Theater is: 

a. Puree's Pizza 

b. Dino's Pizzeria 

c. Geppetto's Pizza & Pasta

d. Giordano's

4) During the summer, Oak Park Festival Theatre performs outdoors in which park? 

a. Mills Park

b. Austin Gardens

c. Carroll Park

d. Lindberg Park

5) In the 1850s, the land on which Oak Park sits was part of which new Chicago suburb? 

a. Galewood

b. River Forest

c. Cicero

d. Austin

6) The voice of which iconic cartoon character is supplied by Oak Park native son Dan Castellaneta? 

a. Buzz Lightyear 

b. Sponge Bob Square Pants

c. Homer Simpson

d. Shrek 

7) A Day in Our Village, an annual day celebrating the community, was instituted in the early 1970s during an insecure time as a way of warming up residents to the many offerings here. It's always held the first Sunday in: 

a. May 

b. June

c. July

d. September

8) Former Oak Park resident Marjorie Judith Vincent was: 

a. a regular on Saturday Night Live

b. Miss America 1991

c. a soprano with the Lyric Opera

d. village manager from 2001 to 2005. 

9) In 1975, which Mafia kingpin was executed in his basement at 1147 S. Wenonah Ave. with seven bullets fired at close range from a .22 caliber gun while he was cooking sausage and peppers? 

a. Bugs Moran

b. Dion O'Banion

c. Sam Giancana 

d. Tony Accardo

10) Which Hollywood actress of the 1940s and '50s was Frank Lloyd Wright's granddaughter? 

a. Betty Hutton

b. Eve Arden

c. Ida Lupino

d. Anne Baxter

11) Which eatery is not located on Oak Park Avenue? 

a. George's Restaurant

b. Il Vicolo Trattoria 

c. Trattoria 225

d. Grape Leaves

12) The Oak Park Public Library has its main campus overlooking which park? 

a. Taylor

b. Scoville

c. Maple

d. Barrie

13) The total number of seats in the Lake Theatre is:

a. 788

b. 949

c. 1,676

d. 2,137

14) Which of the following is true? 

a. Holmes School was named for Sherlock, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective hero. 

b. Mamah Cheney, Frank Lloyd Wright's murdered mistress, grew up in the Cheney Mansion. 

c. Oak Park never appears in any of Ernest Hemingway's fiction. 

d. The Oak Park Art League is not located in the Art District.

15) What is the address of the Oak Park South Branch Post Office? 

a. 715 S. Highland Ave. 

b. 123 Madison St. 

c. 815 Gunderson Ave. 

d. 1116 Garfield St.

16) Oak Park has 12 distinct shopping districts. Where is the Arts District? 

a. Harrison from Ridgeland to Austin

b. Between Ridgeland Avenue and Austin Boulevard on Chicago Avenue

c. Roosevelt Road between Austin and Harlem

d. On Marion Street between Pleasant and South Boulevard.

17) At which restaurant might a customer order this meal: A glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a cup of Mulligatawny Soup, Cajun Mac & Cheese, and Crème Brulee? 

a. Jerusalem Café

b. Chicago Chicken & Waffles 

c. Winberie's

d. Eastgate Cafe

18) Which building was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright? 

a. Oak Park Village Hall

b. Pleasant Home

c. Oak Park Main Post Office

d. Unity Temple

19) Oak Parker and actor John Mahoney has had an extensive career on stage and screen but is especially remembered on TV for playing which character? 

a. Sgt. Andy Sipowicz

b. Sam Malone

c. Martin Crane

d. Al Bundy

20) Which north-south street is farthest east? 

a. Wenonah

b. Lyman

c. Euclid

d. Carpenter


1. D; 2. A; 3. A; 4. B; 5. C; 6. C; 7. B; 8. B; 9. C; 10. D; 11. C; 12. B; 13. C; 14. C; 15. D; 16. A; 17. C; 18. D; 19. C; 20. B

If you scored within the 16 to 20 (perfect paper) range, you are indeed a dyed-in-the-wool Super Dooper — a Village Virtuoso. You may run the risk of boring your friends and family with your non-stop-though-enthusiastic plethora of local knowledge. If your score falls between 11 and 15 correct, you are a Hometown Hotshot, an ace full of fascinating local minutiae but not quite a Citizen Maven just yet. If you're in the 6-10 correct range, you're a Wannabe Whiz Kid who must be a new kid on the block — far from a true Township Egghead. Stay plugged in and open to all things "Oak Park."

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Reader Comments

6 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Mary Kay O'Grady  

Posted: June 4th, 2019 3:25 PM

I only missed one! I surprised myself.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 3rd, 2019 1:16 PM

Yooper! A'

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: June 1st, 2019 10:58 PM

I'm scoring myself 16 of 19, Doug. 'Cause really, who cares how many seats there are in the Lake? :-) Fun quiz though.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: June 1st, 2019 8:05 PM

Lisa-Bisou's late mom was a U pper From the Upper Peninsula of Michigan A'

Lisa Bisou from Las Vegas  

Posted: June 1st, 2019 1:00 AM

I grew up in Oak Park..proud to be a Hometown Hot Shot! Dooper sounds like an awful thing to be.. like a Preppy or a Pooper.. Or a wanna be wiz.. Lol, I know a few of those - Moved to Oak Park for a short time just for "I lived in Oak Park" Status..

John Butch Murtagh  

Posted: July 21st, 2015 4:29 PM

You don't have to be a Dooper to get most of the answers. Those who ride their bikes in OP know a lot about the village.

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