Live - Citizen EngagementGrow - Business & DevelopmentDiscover - Find It Fast
Click to Home

Go To Search
350 Victory Drive
Park Forest, IL 60466
Ph: 708-748-1112
Village Hall Hours
Connect & Share

Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: November 4, 2016

Park Forest celebrates 70th Anniversary

The Park Forest Board of Trustees was joined by former elected officials on Oct. 24 to recognize Park Forest 70th year anniversary.

Board members took a brief recess after adopting a 70th year anniversary proclamation to mingle with a handful of former elected officials who turned out for the occasion. On hand were dignitaries 
Gary Kopycinski, Gail Graham, Penny Shnay, Alicia Rodman-McCray, Mary Lubertozzi, Matt Guritz, and Rita Guritz.

The adopted proclamation read as follows:

1-1_PF_70.jpgOn the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Announcement of the Creation of Park Forest 

WHEREAS, only a few houses and a golf course were present in the region that came to be known as “Park Forest, Illinois,” on October 28, 1946, when Philip Klutznick, Nathan Manilow, and Carroll Sweet held a press conference at the Palmer House in Chicago to announce the creation of this new community; and

WHEREAS, in the 70 years since then has developed a vibrant municipality that has become the subject for books, one of the most famous of which is The Organization Man, based in large part on interviews that the author, William H. Whyte, did with some of the early settlers of the community, and on which he based a sociological study of life in the newly emerging suburbs of America; and

2-2_PF_70.jpgWHEREAS, on August 30, 1948, the first residents of the new community moved into Court B-1, and on November 27 of the same year, the developers of held a barbeque and tent meeting to explain to the residents the particulars of incorporation; and

WHEREAS, as an outgrowth of the tent meeting, a referendum passed on February 1, 1949, by a vote of 90-2, to incorporate the town, and on April 2, 1949, the first election of Village officials was held with Dennis O’Harrow chosen as the first Village President (Mayor), serving until October 10 of the following year because of a job transfer he received and being succeeded by Trustee Henry X. Dietch, who subsequently also became the Village Attorney and many years later a Cook County judge; and

WHEREAS, a “planned community” was something of a rarity at that time, the concept for these suburban communities having been developed by Levitt & Sons, Inc., a builder/developer that first created Levittown in New York, and then a number of subsequent “Levittowns” in other regions, to meet post-World War II housing needs, with the Park Forest community modeled on those developments but designed to be pedestrian and child-friendly, with curved streets that promoted greater safety and easy access to parks, shopping, and other amenities; and

WHEREAS, education was an important need in the early Village of Park Forest, as there was an abundance of school-aged children, and the first school board was elected in March 1949 and subsequently built the first elementary school, Dogwood School, and a referendum held on June 23, 1951, created the Rich Township High School, which subsequently was renamed Rich East High School and became the flagship institution of School District 227 when Rich Central High School was opened in Olympia Fields and Rich South High School was opened in Richton Park; and

WHEREAS, commercial development also was extremely important for the new community, with the Park Forest Plaza taking shape in 1946 and reaching virtual completion by 1948, including at its high point a Marshall Fields, a Goldblatts, a Sears, and numerous smaller shops, with the Holiday Theatre opening its doors on October 18, 1950; and

WHEREAS, in its initial days, “Park Forest” was the name of the development, but not the town itself, the official naming not coming about until a referendum passed in December 1950 after two years of arguing by Village officials, with the vote to officially name the community “Park Forest” passing with 63 percent of the residents agreeing on that name; and ParkForest-70-logo.2.2.png

WHEREAS, housing in the early days of Park Forest was mostly townhomes in the central and mid-east region of town, with single family homes later constructed south of the Plaza all the way down into Will County, with split-level and tri-level homes constructed next, and finally a number of custom-built homes constructed, mostly in the region that came to be known as Thorncreek Estates; and

WHEREAS, beginning in 1962, many of the townhomes were converted from rental to cooperative housing, with the first co-op corporation being what now is Birch Street Townhomes and four other co-op corporations following, but with many of the townhomes remaining as rentals or being converted to condominiums; and

WHEREAS, Park Forest has much to be proud of because it has a history rich in accomplishment, with the community twice named an All-America City, first in 1953 for the community effort to create the Rich Township High School, and then again in 1976 for its open housing efforts, and also being a finalist for the award on two other occasions, and today with an exhibit that stands at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., recognizing Park Forest for its many accomplishments; and

WHEREAS, indeed, Park Forest is unique for many reasons, some planned and some by accident, including the Park Forest Farmers Market, which continues today and was one of the first to be established in the Chicago region, and the John Joyce Central Park Wetlands, created with the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that draws school children and numerous other visitors throughout the year, in addition to drawing loads of birds, the sightings of which regularly are recorded by the local Audubon Society, and being named as a STAR community for its sustainability efforts, a unique designation that has been given only to a relative handful of other communities across the U.S., and accidentally gaining recognition in 2003 for a meteor that landed in town, with parts of the “Park Forest Meteor” today on exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry; and

WHEREAS, nothing stands out as an accomplishment of Park Forest as much as its commitment to diversity, with the first African-American family, the Wilsons, being welcomed into the community on Christmas Eve 1959 at a time when other suburbs were fighting against integration, and in 1981, while the community remained overwhelmingly Caucasian in its population, Ron Bean, an African-American, being elected as the town’s seventh mayor, and today proudly being a community with a population that is almost 70 percent African-American.

NOW, THEREFORE, DO I, John A. Ostenburg, tenth mayor of the Village of Park Forest, Cook and Will Counties, Illinois, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the announcement of the creation of our municipality, proudly proclaim October 28 as Founders Day in the Village of Park Forest, and in so doing commend all the elected and professional leaders of the community, and the various volunteers who have played key roles in maintaining the stability of our Village, and encourage the citizens to remain loyal to the founding principles of our great and vibrant community.

Proclaimed this 24th day of October in the year 2016 of the common era.


Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email

Other News in Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Masters of Soul at Freedom Hall, Dec. 1

Posted on: November 14, 2017

Holiday Tree Lighting, Dec. 1

Posted on: November 14, 2017

November is Resident Appreciation Month

Posted on: November 1, 2017

Halloween in Park Forest

Posted on: October 18, 2017
PFFD Patch - transparent.jpg

Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8 - 14

Posted on: September 25, 2017

Women's self defense class, Sept. 16

Posted on: August 31, 2017

Park Forest Art Fair, Sept. 16-17

Posted on: August 8, 2017

Eastgate Park Day, Aug. 26

Posted on: August 17, 2017

Memorial Day Program, May 29

Posted on: May 12, 2017

Cleanup Our Parks Day, May 20

Posted on: May 12, 2017

P.A.A.C. program registering now

Posted on: April 25, 2017

Hydrant flushing begins May 1

Posted on: April 25, 2017

LWV host Parks update, April 29

Posted on: April 10, 2017

Teen Job Fair, April 15

Posted on: April 7, 2017

Earth Week, April 15 - April 22

Posted on: April 3, 2017

Easter Egg-stravaganza, April 8

Posted on: March 23, 2017

Early voting information

Posted on: March 10, 2017

Garden Club announce April events

Posted on: March 3, 2017

March is Resident Appreciation Month

Posted on: March 1, 2017

Vehicle stickers on sale March 1

Posted on: February 9, 2017

Park Permit Lottery, Feb. 4

Posted on: January 23, 2017
#1 pic.jpg

Women's Empowerment Event, Feb. 3

Posted on: January 11, 2017

Police Honors Ceremony set for Jan. 14

Posted on: January 9, 2017

District 163 free preschool program

Posted on: December 9, 2016

Neighborhood meeting scheduled for Nov. 30

Posted on: November 29, 2016

Community Alert

Posted on: November 17, 2016

Holiday Tree Lighting, Dec. 2

Posted on: November 14, 2016

Community Alert

Posted on: October 28, 2016

Early voting information

Posted on: October 24, 2016

Halloween in Park Forest

Posted on: October 17, 2016

Health forum on stress set for Oct. 20

Posted on: October 5, 2016

Street sweeping begins Monday, Oct. 17

Posted on: October 14, 2016

Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15

Posted on: October 3, 2016

Saving lives in today's home fires

Posted on: September 19, 2016

Volunteer Fair at Central Park, Aug. 26

Posted on: August 12, 2016

Precautionary boil order lifted

Posted on: July 24, 2016

Growing Green Recycle Fest, July 30

Posted on: July 18, 2016

4th of July celebration

Posted on: June 14, 2016

District 163 band concert, May 26

Posted on: May 25, 2016

Senior Fair, May 6

Posted on: April 21, 2016

Teen Job Fair Workshops, April 2

Posted on: March 24, 2016

Open gyms in Park Forest

Posted on: March 10, 2016

Easter Egg-stravaganza, March 12

Posted on: March 7, 2016

March is Resident Appreciation Month

Posted on: March 1, 2016

Early voting information

Posted on: February 24, 2016

Community Safety Presentation, March 3

Posted on: February 3, 2016
Parks and Facilities Stock Photos 092-web.jpg

Park Permit Lottery, Feb. 6

Posted on: January 20, 2016

Police Dept. Honors Ceremony, Jan. 23

Posted on: January 19, 2016

Shemekia Copeland at Freedom Hall, Jan. 22

Posted on: December 10, 2015

Community Alert | Residential Break-ins

Posted on: December 16, 2015

Good Egg Award recipients recognized

Posted on: December 14, 2015

Holiday Tree Lighting, Dec. 4

Posted on: November 4, 2015

Homebuyer's Workshop, Oct. 21

Posted on: October 8, 2015

Missing Park Forest senior located

Posted on: September 23, 2015

Labor Day closings

Posted on: September 4, 2015

Document destruction event, Sept. 12

Posted on: August 13, 2015

Community Forum, August 4

Posted on: July 16, 2015

Free homebuyers workshop, July 18

Posted on: July 15, 2015

Midsummer Madness, July 15

Posted on: June 30, 2015

Garbage pick-up

Posted on: July 6, 2015

4th of July celebration

Posted on: July 1, 2015

FREE Ice Cream Social, June 6

Posted on: June 4, 2015

Parks clean-up day, June 6

Posted on: May 13, 2015

Memorial Day program, May 25

Posted on: May 13, 2015

Senior Fair, May 15

Posted on: May 1, 2015

Famers' Market season returns

Posted on: April 29, 2015

Final results from April 7 election

Posted on: April 23, 2015

April 7, 2015 election results

Posted on: April 7, 2015

Program featuring LIVE bats, April 1

Posted on: March 25, 2015
4-25-08 029.jpg

Early voting begins March 23

Posted on: March 16, 2015

Final NPC Candidate Forum, March 22

Posted on: January 12, 2015

March is Resident Appreciation Month

Posted on: March 5, 2015

Online bill pay site now live

Posted on: March 3, 2015

Early voting information

Posted on: March 3, 2015

Vehicle stickers go on sale March 1

Posted on: February 17, 2015
Black History Month 2015 - draft 3.jpg

Black History Month Program, Feb. 21

Posted on: February 17, 2015

Educate yourself on measles

Posted on: February 10, 2015

Parks permit lottery happens Saturday

Posted on: February 3, 2015

Post-winter storm details for residents

Posted on: February 2, 2015

NPC Candidate Forums continue Feb. 8

Posted on: January 12, 2015

Masters of Soul at Freedom Hall, Feb. 13

Posted on: January 15, 2015

Be prepared for the cold

Posted on: January 5, 2015

Park Forest Baseball Registration

Posted on: December 31, 2014

Water Main Project Public Notice

Posted on: December 15, 2014

Village adopts Bike & Pedestrian Plan

Posted on: December 12, 2014

2015 Board of Trustees schedule available

Posted on: December 12, 2014

Rally for the Cure tennis event, Dec. 13

Posted on: November 28, 2014

Grande Prairie Singers Holiday Concert

Posted on: December 3, 2014

Info session on Ebola virus, Nov. 17

Posted on: November 5, 2014

Slide Brothers at Freedom Hall, Nov. 7

Posted on: November 5, 2014

Waste Tire Collection, Nov. 1

Posted on: October 27, 2014

Nominate a Business Person of the Year

Posted on: October 28, 2014

Thorn Creek Plan Public Meeting, Oct. 30

Posted on: October 27, 2014

Park Forest remembers Cynthia Reed

Posted on: October 24, 2014

Hydrant flushing begins today

Posted on: October 21, 2014

Halloween in Park Forest

Posted on: October 16, 2014

New grocer to open in Park Forest

Posted on: September 26, 2014

College For Youth Program, October 4

Posted on: September 18, 2014

Music Fest added to Park Forest Art Fair

Posted on: September 9, 2014

New Teen Zone session begins Sept. 2

Posted on: August 29, 2014

Nominations sought for Good Egg Award

Posted on: August 28, 2014

Epay site temporarily down

Posted on: August 14, 2014

Free lecture on herbs, August 16

Posted on: July 24, 2014
Postcard Online3.jpg

Wine and Chocolate Tasting, August 8

Posted on: July 23, 2014

School physicals continue

Posted on: July 17, 2014

Storm clean-up continues

Posted on: July 16, 2014

Storm clean-up begins in town

Posted on: July 1, 2014

Police issue community alert

Posted on: June 30, 2014

School physicals offered this summer

Posted on: June 19, 2014

Before I Die wall unveiled DownTown

Posted on: June 16, 2014

Ventra Day scheduled for June 30

Posted on: June 17, 2014

Women's self defense seminar June 25

Posted on: June 18, 2014

Gardening series continues June 21

Posted on: June 18, 2014
photo (2).jpg

Park Forest carnival June 19-22

Posted on: June 6, 2014

Gardening Series continues May 17

Posted on: April 1, 2014

Senior Fair to be held May 9

Posted on: April 29, 2014

Document destruction event, Sept. 12

Posted on: August 13, 2015