Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November 6, 1953 -- Park Forest to Grown by 546 Homes

November 6, 1953 –It is announced that the area’s fastest growing suburb, Park Forest, is planning for a $9 million, 546-home expansion program in the coming year.  The new homes are projected to bring the town’s population to 22,000. Eight design schemes will make up the new homes in the expansion program.  Each will have three bedrooms and will be priced between $14,850 and $17,200. Lot sizes will average 60 by 125 feet with most lots being more than 125 feet in depth.  Every kitchen will come outfitted with cabinets, double sinks and a garbage disposal.  All floors will be covered with asphalt tile, except for the utility room, and each house will have a carport that sits on a concrete driveway.  The expansion will bring the number of single-family homes in the suburb to 3,146.  With another 3,022 rental units there will be 6,168 families living in Park Forest in early 1954.  It was on October 28, 1946 that developers Nathan Manilow, Caroll F. Sweet and Philip M. Klutznick announced the idea for the new suburb at a press conference in the Palmer House.  According to the Park Forest website, “It was the first post-war planned community and its innovative design has been recognized and used as a model for towns throughout the world.” [villageofparkforest.com] Conceived as a plan to provide housing for servicemen returning from World War II, the master plan included a commercial center, a “child-safe curvilinear street system,” a business park and space set aside for parks and schools.  It was one of the few communities of its era without restrictive covenants, and during its first decade adopted a Fair Housing ordinance, this at a time when the trend was headed in the opposite direction. In 2014 the town was ranked third in the nation in affordable housing by Business Insider.

November 6, 1925 – In its fifteenth annual report the Chicago Plan Commission sets a goal for “parks along twenty-six miles of the lake front, with boulevards, bathing beaches, lagoons, golf courses, athletic fields and playgrounds, yacht harbors and public buildings.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 6, 1925] In the fifteen years since the establishment of the commission Cook County has obtained 30,000 acres of wooded land around the city, the beginning of a system of forest preserves that surrounds the city with a buffer of green space.  In 1926 the commission forecasts the completion of most of the Grant Park landscaping “with the Field museum, the Shedd aquarium, Soldiers’ field, the Art institute and the several statues and fountains that will be erected in the park, it will be one of the most impressive and beautiful public improvements in the world.”

November 6, 1886 – A simple note in the “Of Interest to the Art World” section of the Chicago Daily Tribune announces, “The will of Mr. Samuel Johnston contained an appropriation of $10,000 for a statue of Shakespeare to be erected in Lincoln Park.  The executors are John DeKoven and Wiliam Elliot Furness.”   Eight years later the statue is unveiled in Lincoln Park after the sculptor, William Ordway Partridge, travels to Stratford and London in an effort to come to some reckoning with what the Bard may have actually looked like.  The statue sits today in Grandmother’s Garden to the west of the Lincoln Park Zoo.  For more information on the statue and its benefactor, please head here.

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