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Short Posts of Historic Facts and Events in Illinois

15

Nov

2017

Notable Naperville Women - Clarissa Hobson


Clarissa Stewart Hobson was Naperville’s first female European settler. Joseph Naper’s wife, Almeda, long held that title, but as city borders extended to include the Hobson land, Clarissa now claims it. 

A Georgia girl, Clarissa and husband Bailey spent their early married life in Indiana not far from Louisville, Kentucky. She was already a 26 year old mother of five children when they decided that greener — and less rocky — pastures were to be had in Illinois. 

Leaving Clarissa behind with the farm work and the children, Bailey checked out some land in Illinois before returning to pack everything up for the move. They left on September 1, 1830 and were three weeks on the road, camping with their household goods, their kids and their cattle. 

After another three weeks bunking with a friendly family, Bailey had a cabin roughed out in Kendall County. The Hobsons were settled in their new home toward the end of November, but by December, Bailey was already thinking about moving closer to civilization. 

18

Oct

2017

Notable Naperville Women -- Peg Price

Her place in history books and trivia quizzes is forever ensured:  Margaret “Peg” Price was Naperville’s first female mayor. So far, she is also Naperville’s only female mayor, but she probably counts on that record being broken.

Peg Price served two terms as mayor, from 1983 until 1991, which represents only a portion of her time in public office. Over a thirty year career, Price was also a City Council member for two terms, served as city plan commissioner and held positions on boards such as the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission. 

Rather than a born-and-bred Napervillian, Price arrived in 1967 with husband Charles and two sons as part of the great mid-sixties influx when subdivisions were popping up all around town. 

By 1969 Price was deep into local politics and part of the referendum campaign that brought about our current Council-Manager form of government. Originally with four councilors, in 1984 then-Mayor Price oversaw the number of councilors grow from four to six. 

Other changes during Price’s watch included the planning and building of today’s Municipal Center. City Hall used to be in the stone building on Jefferson Street that now houses La Sorella di Francesca. Although she was instrumental in keeping the Municipal Center downtown, by the time it opened in 1992, Price's term as mayor had ended. 

Another innovation under her leadership is the annual State of the City address. Price gave the first “state” speech in 1991 in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to associate the objectives of government with those of the business community. Price continues to attend the annual address and you may have seen her with Mayor Chirico and Mayor Emeritus Pradel last spring. 

Another place to see her is on the Community Concert Center door in Central Park. The First National Bank purchased space to depict four m
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16

Aug

2017

Notable Naperville Women -- Jane Sindt

Newer and younger residents of Naperville may not be familiar with Jane Sindt as a person, but if you’ve ever strolled the Riverwalk, attended an event at the Grand Pavilion or gone swimming at the beach, you are probably familiar with her name. The drive there was designated “Honorary Sindt Memorial Court” in 2002.

Older residents with a longer history in Naperville knew Jane as a person, or more precisely, knew her as a tornado of convictions and activity. 

Caroline Martin Mitchell left her family home to the city in 1936 to become Naperville’s historical museum. But it was Jane who first moved buildings onto the property and started the Heritage Society in 1969 to do so. Century Memorial Chapel was the first building to be carefully secured, raised and rolled through the streets to what we now call Naper Settlement.

The venture was not completely popular at the time, but when Jane took on a project, she completed it well and with flair. 

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19

Jul

2017

Notable Naperville Women - Peg Yonker

Margaret Barnes Yonker, otherwise known as “Peg,” passed away in fall of 2016 at the age of 93. While not a Naperville native with family stretching back to the 1800s, Peg devoted more than half of her life to preserving this city’s history. 

Like many mid-century women, Peg went where her husband’s career took him and they wound up in Naperville in 1959, just as the town started booming.

Smart and energetic, Peg put her efforts toward local philanthropic enterprises both big and small. She was among those who established Summer Place Theatre in 1967 and was a co-founder of TAG, Naperville’s first foster home for teenage girls in 1970. 

Those were busy years for the city and foundations were laid for many of the programs and amenities we enjoy today. The Naperville Heritage Society was formed in 1969 by volunteers like Peg, among others, who wanted to save St. John's Episcopal Church from being leveled by development. They raised money and interest enough to move the church onto the Martin Mitchell property which launched the Naper Settlement we enjoy today.


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21

Jun

2017

Notable Naperville Women - Genevieve Towsley

If you’ve ever walked or driven by the Barnes & Noble Bookstore on the corner of Washington Street and Chicago Avenue, no doubt you’ve seen the bronze statue of Genevieve Towsley sitting near the door. 

Part of the Century Walk public art initiative, the statue shows Genevieve much as she was when she passed away in 1996 at the age of 88. Commemorating her nearly 50 years of writing for Naperville newspapers, she’s holding the familiar notepad and pencil.

Naperville became Genevieve’s “home town” in a round-about way. She was born in Oak Park, but spent many years on an Idaho farm when her family moved there when she was eight.  They returned to Illinois in 1924 so she could attend her chosen college, North Central, at that time still known as Northwestern. 

Genevieve stayed on at North Central College as a teacher until 1932 when she left to raise her family. By 1948 she was writing for The Clarion, a local newspaper. 

One of her former NCC students, Harold White, Jr., bought the Naperville Sun and convinced Genevieve to write for him starting in 1954. She wrote two columns for the Sun over the years:  The Grapevine and Sky-Lines. The Grapevine dealt with local news and issues in the Naperville community. Her column was influential in the desegregation of Centennial Beach and when the Naperville Heritage Society was formed in 1969, she was a charter member. Her writing helped generate interest moving Century Memorial Chapel to the grounds of the Martin Mitchell Mansion, becoming the first addition to Naper Settlement.

Sky-Lines had more of a historical tone. Genevieve re-told local legends, interviewed long-time reside
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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold

 

Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

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