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Short Posts of Historic Facts and Events in Illinois

15

May

2019

Naperville Art: Naperville Loves a Parade



On the west side of Main Street is an alley known as Rubin’s Way where the “Parade of the Century” goes by on one side, watched by Naperville citizens on the other. Some faces in the painted crowd are familiar and some are just average folk, but they all are enjoying the parade. 

“Naperville Loves a Parade” was dedicated, appropriately enough, just after the Last Fling Labor Day Parade in 2014. 

Three artists, along with assistants, worked on this mural for four years. Adela Vystejnova, who created the “Parade of the Century” on the opposite wall as well, originally lived and studied art in the Czech Republic. Diosdado Mondero, who immigrated from the Philippines as a child, also painted the “Pillars of  the Community” mural on Main Street. Marianne Lisson Kuhn was born and raised in Naperville and worked on several Century Walk pieces including “The Way We Were” and “World’s Greatest Artist.”

 Over 300 faces appear in the crowd and many local landmarks and businesses are featured as well. To be included in the mural required a donation ranging from $600 to paint in your face and up to $5,000 to depict your business’s building. About $220,000 was raised through those donations.
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17

Apr

2019

Naperville Art: A City in Transit


On the southwest corner of the Washington Street and Chicago Avenue intersection is a large mural called “A City in Transit.” Celebrating our city’s “evolution of travel.” it was painted in 1998 by Hector Duarte and Mariah de Forest, two prolific Chicago muralists from the Taller Mesitzarte workshop and gallery.

Folks don’t travel on the DuPage River as much as over it, so a couple of bridges are illustrated. There’s also bit of the Old Plank Road which was originally a Native American trail and now is Ogden Avenue/Route 34.

1865 wooden bridge at Washington Street with 1856 stone bridge on Main Street beyond

Because of investments in the Plank Road, Naperville first refused a railroad before  eventually agreeing. In the mural, the Chicago-to-Denver Zephyr is shown waiting at the station.

Many of the buildings sport signs to help identify them. The Pre-Emption House is one and the Naperville Creamery is another.

Walter Fredenhagen started making Frozen Gold ice cream in the 1930s. With partner Earl Prince, he launched Prince Castle ice cream shops, like the one in the mural, which became the Cock Robin ice cream chain. Fredenhagen Park is now where Naperville’s Cock Robin was located, just steps away on Washington Street.

Other signs name the myriad of garages, gas stations and motor companies that used to be downtown, although that may seem strange to us today. At one time, Jimmy’s Grill was one of several gas stations and there were five different car dealers in the middle of town. Clyde Netzley opened his garage in the 1920s and later operated a Chrysler dealership just across the street from this mural where t
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20

Mar

2019

Naperville Art: Volunteers Welcome

Other cities might have a “Welcome to —” sign at the city limits with service club logos. Naperville has a mural on Washington Street at Van Buren Avenue. The title has two meanings: A welcome from the city’s clubs and a declaration that Naperville loves its volunteers.

The piece by Ernest Claycomb and Jennifer Richmond is actually two installations: the originals at ground level and enlargements at the top of the wall. The original paintings were scanned and enhanced with faux architectural elements before being printed on a vinyl banner. “Volunteers Welcome” illustrates seven service clubs with long histories in town.

Rotary
Paul P. Harris started a service club in 1905 in Chicago with rotating meeting sites. Naperville’s first Rotary club was founded in 1941, followed by Sunrise in 1991, Downtown/4:44 in 2007 and After Dark in 2017. Their Harmony Park was just installed at Rotary Hill.

Lions
Another Chicago businessman, Melvin Jones, started the club in 1917. Lion’s focus on vision care dates to a 1925 challenge from Helen Keller. Naperville’s chapter was founded in 1948 and they host the annual Turkey Trot 5K.

Exchange Club
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, their national project is the prevention of child abuse. Naperville’s group started in 1987. Exchange has hosted Ribfest since 1988, but 2019 is their last event at Knoch Park as they look for a new venue.

Jaycees
“JC” stands for the Junior Chamber of Commerce launched in 1920 for young men. Women were included in 1984 and the local chapter opened in 1964. Rick Motta and the Naperville Chamber organized the Last Fling in 1966 and passed it on to the Jaycees in 1981.

Kiwanis
Born in 1915, again in Detroit, the local club was founded in 1955. Kiwanis host an annual Pancake Festival, including a showcase of junior high bands and choirs.

Woman’s Club
Started as a literary meeting of local women in 1897, the Woman’s Club provided the first books for Nichols Library. In June, they will host their 60th annual Fine Arts Fair.

Junior Woman’s Club
Nationally, Juniors were created in 1932 to encourage service among younger women and Naperville’s chapter started in 1967. They launched Safety Town programs in 1978 with Officer Friendly George Pradel and facilitated Safety
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20

Feb

2019

Naperville Art - Symbiotic Sojourn

The Promenade Building, where the Naperville Chamber is located, was developed by Dwight and Ruth Yackley of BBM, Inc. in 2003. They also commissioned a bronze relief to be installed in the courtyard: “Symbiotic Sojourn.”

“Symbiotic Sojourn” was created by Jeff Adams, an artist who works out of his own bronze-casting facility, inBronze, which is located in Oregon, Illinois. He started working in a local fine art foundry when he was just fifteen years old, but pursued a degree in civil engineering before returning to sculpture. Adams also created
“Two in a Million,” the bronzes of Walter and Grace Fredenhagen along the Riverwalk and he worked with Dick Locher’s design to cast the Joseph Naper statue on Mill Street.

The idea behind “Symbiotic Sojourn” is that we have a symbiotic relationship with our home planet that needs tending. Two children are found at the feet of the woman who is the Spirit of the Earth. The girl child is trying to hold the pieces of a fracturing Earth together. The boy child is pulling a wagon piled with cans and bottles, a throw-back
image of recycling’s humble beginning.

“Symbiotic Sojourn” was inspired by Barbara Ashley Sielaff, a local recycling activist from the 1970s. Sielaff was a district teacher who also wrote a column for the Naperville Sun called “You Can Save Our Earth.” She established the Naperville Area Recycling Center in 1973 and managed it for several years before moving out of state.

After the Center closed, residents appealed to the city who tapped the League of Women Voters, the Kiwanis and the Naperville Woman’s Club, among others, to fill the void. NARC started as a not-for-profit volunteer-run drop-off center. After a while, one homeowner’s association began collecting recyclables from the entire neighborhood to drop-off at NARC. More neighborhoods followed suit, and eventually, recycling collection became a city-wide program.

In warm weather, dining patrons can sit out in the courtyard and listen to water spilling from the hand of the Spirit of Earth into the pool below. Larger than life, “Symbiotic Sojourn” is beautiful to look at, but Adams, Sielaff and the Yackleys hope diners will also bring the recycling message home.
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16

Jan

2019

Naperville Art: Dough- and Sailor-Boys

In 1996, the Century Walk Foundation was created by some citizens inspired by history and art. Since then, they have been instrumental in renovating or installing 50 public works of art around town. In 2019, we’ll highlight a few of them, but you can explore them all on your own.

In the park outside the train station at 5th Avenue, two World War I statues salute each other. Both were designed by Ernest Moore Viquesney, but arrived in Naperville at different times more than 80 years apart.

Viquesney’s father was a French monuments artist and stone carver who settled in Indiana. He taught the trade to his son who spent part of his career working, among other places, at the National Cemetery at the Andersonville
Civil War Prison site, before returning to Indiana.

Following The Great War (who knew there would be a second?), communities all over the country were eager to commemorate their veterans. Viquesney designed the “The Spirit of the American Doughboy” in 1920 and it was quite popular, appearing as life-size monuments, statuettes and even as a lamp base!


Naperville American Legion Post 43 purchased one and dedicated it on May 31, 1926. At the statue’s base is seven large stones honoring the Naperville sons who lost their lives in the war. A more recent plaque nearby lists all local WWI veterans.

Viquesney then designed “The Spirit of the American Navy” in 1926, but interest in the war had waned and only seven were ever made.

The years were hard on our “Doughboy” and Post 43 decided to raise funds to repair him and replace his rifle. He was rededicated in May of 2003.

In 2012, an expert familiar with Naperville’s rededication notified Century Walk that a “Navy” statue had been located. The committee purchased it the spring of 2013 and dedicated it in October.

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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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