Thursday, September 27, 2012
The Des Plaines History Center will host a presentation about the famous naturalist, explorer from what is now Glenview.
The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of one of the Des Plaines area’s most prominent historical figures will be discussed at a special fundraising program hosted by the Des Plaines History Center on Oct. 4. The presentation will be given by Steve Swanson, director of the Glenview Park District, who worked on behalf of the Kennicott family with researchers from the Smithsonian Institution to exhume the body of Robert Kennicott in 2001 and determine what caused his death at 30 years old. Robert Kennicott was a prolific naturalist, explorer and early member of the Smithsonian Institution when he was found dead on a riverbank in Alaska in 1866, while on an expedition for Western Union to plan for telegraph lines and collect more …
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When it was built at Graceland and Prairie avenues in 1937 it included the city’s administrative offices, police department and library.
In 1935, Des Plaines' city leadership was feeling cramped, and applied for a grant to find relief. The old Village Hall, built in 1892, was created to serve a much smaller village than the city that existed 44 years later. Des Plaines had grown, with annexations and subdivisions of former farms, a larger administration that had to fit in quite a small space, shared with police and fire. A new municipal building at Graceland and Prairie avenues was dedicated on June 26, 1937. Today, the site provides parking for the Civic Center and the Des Plaines Police Department. Sign up for Patch’s free daily newsletter. The federal government's Public Works Administration aided local projects including this one during the Great Depression. Des Plaines…
Saturday, September 8, 2012
An inside look into life in the firehouse and vivid accounts of emergency responses.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The prosperous Jefferson Woodside Farm is now home to a local conservation organization.
Joseph Jefferson and his sons, Hiram, Daniel and Luther were pioneers of the Des Plaines River valley. They arrived by 1839. The travelers were Wealthy farmers from Vermont and they purchased land on a glacial ridge adjacent to the Des Plaines River, ensuring fertile soil. The Jeffersons built a large enterprise on their Woodside farm. Hiram and his father built two log cabins on the land, which were later replaced by a frame house and in about 1856 by the brick house, which now houses the Izaak Walton League. The Izaak Walton League is a nationwide conservation organization. Founded in Chicago in 1922, the League focuses on conservation of natural environments for recreation. In 1918, the fledgling forest preserve district acquired the …
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Beautiful homes surround what was once the clay pits for Whitcomb Brick.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
- Brian Wolf
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Today, tidy ranch homes surround the hidden Shagbark Lake, a product of Des Plaines' very first industry. The homes have spectacular views and access to lake recreation, but are prone to flooding. In 1868, Franklin Whitcomb purchased 36 acres of land along the Des Plaines River. Of these acres, 20 contained clay suitable for brickmaking. The factory sat on what is now River Road at the end of Campbell Avenue. The clay pits were south of what is now Algonquin Road. Whitcomb was foreman at Park Ridge's Penny & Meacham brickyard, the industry which established that town, first known as Pennyville, and then Brickton. Having struck out on his own, Whitcomb established the Whitcomb Brick and Tile Manufacturing Company, and produced 800,000 …
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The American Indian ceremonial shield last in summer program.
If you stop by the Des Plaines History Center with your children on Wednesday, they can participate in the last session of the American Indian themed children's programs this summer. Parents and children will learn about and construct American Indian warrior and ceremonial shields at the history center, 781 Pearson St., from 1-3 p.m. on Aug. 15. Poster board, beads and glue will be transformed into unique craft projects, said Lori Barrett of the history center. “I think the kids benefit from [the Afternoon Adventures program] because we have to teach them not only about Des Plaines history, but Native American history as well,” Barrett said. “It gives them a little bit more of a feel of what it would be like living with Native Americans.” …
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
A summer pastime from the past
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
- Brian Wolf
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
From the 1950s to the 1970s, the drive-in movie was a summer ritual. While today only two drive-ins exist in Chicagoland - the Cascade in West Chicago and the McHenry Drive-in Theater - there were once many. Changes in moviegoing habits and real estate pressures led to the disappearance of most drive-ins, but memories endure. For Des Plaines residents, the local drive-in was the Oasis, named for the nearby Des Plaines Oasis on the tollway. The theater opened in 1961 and held 1,546 cars. The drive-in took the Oasis concept to the extreme. While most drive-in theaters lacked a theme, the Oasis recalled the showmanship of the exotic fantasy movie palaces of the 1920s, with its middle eastern desert theme carried out wherever possible. Between…
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Once Volkswagen of Des Plaines, building will now sell used luxury imports and domestics.
Soon, a car dealership will hold its grand opening on Rand Road while another down the street closes its doors. Jidd Motors, specializing in used luxury cars, both domestic and import, was founded in Brookfield in 2010 and is in the process of opening, while Napleton Chrysler Jeep Dodge plans to move out. Earlier: Bus Stop Causes Controversy Built in 1969 for Doyno Motors Des Plaines Volkswagen, the starkly modern and glassy International Style building exemplified the hip new import, priced at only $2339. In 1973, they added Mazda to the lineup, and in 1980, Peugeots began to be sold as well. In 1985, the dealership changed their name to World Cars, LTD with Des Plaines Volkswagen, Des Plaines Mazda, and Des Plaines Peugeot as …
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Des Plaines has a long tradition of parades.
Today's Independence Day parade kicks off at 10 a.m. down Center Street in Des Plaines with the theme, "Des Plaines... You've Got Talent!" While once the parade went the short distance down Ellinwood Street, and later down Lee Street for decades, since 1992 it has led down tree-lined Center Street. Through it all, the patriotic theme has endured and grown. Although we may be in another dry spell for fireworks, Des Plaines has not forgotten how to celebrate our country. Stay connected: Receive an email from Des Plaines Patch with headlines in the morning.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Remnant of the past reopens in Des Plaines.
A new drive-in opened in Des Plaines last week, and, while Des Plaines has been home to a number of drive-ins, Rand Red Hots, 1441 Rand Road, is the only one that still looks like a drive-in. Rand Red Hots has a very brief menu, reminiscent of the limited-menu, fast-service model perfected by McDonald's, whose first corporate restaurant is just around the corner on Lee Street. Rand Red Hots has given the building a major makeover, with new blacktop and concrete, a rebuilt restaurant area, removed car shelters, new lighting outside, and more. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., business has been brisk in the first days. Stay connected: Receive an email from Des Plaines Patch with headlines in the morning. There were once numerous drive-ins in Des…