August 30 is the 60th Anniversary of the first three families moving into the rental units in Park Forest. The first three families to move in were Ross and Leona DeLue with their five year-old daughter, Mary, Willima and Jane Heckman, and Manuel and Madeleine Kanter. Each family was recieved by a different ACB employee, so at different times, each was recognized as the First Family. The ones who stayed the longest were Ross and Leona DeLue, who wee often recognized as the First Family of Park Forest. They were onored along with the first 100 families on the plaque the Village of Park Forest dedicated in the Downtown on July 30, 2008, located at Founder’s Way and Main Street.
If you have not yet visited the 1950s Park Forest House Museum, this is the perfect Saturday to do it. Help commemorate the beginning of the 60th Anniversary of the village by learning more about its history, and by taking a step into the 1950s with us! You can see a copy of the DeLue’s original lease, a list of the families to move into the first six courts, read a newspaper article listing the first one hundred families to sign leases, and see a classroom like the ones the first Park Forest children first used in the rental units.
On a bookcase in the living room, under a sign listing all of the OH! Park Forest Oral Histories available online or at the Park Forest Public Library, is a copy of Leona DeLue’s interview about what it was like to come to Park Forest and what life was like here. Transcripts from OH! Park Forest are available for checkout from the Adult Services Department of the library. There are 26 of the 77 transcripts, fully-edited, online on the Illinois Digital Archive, in "Park Forest: An Illlinois Planned Community." They can be directly accessed through the Park Forest HItorical Society website at www.parkforesthistory.org. A tour of the museum and the history of the society can be viewed on that site, as well. The society urges people intersted in the unique history of Park Forest to chek out transcripts from the library and hear about the village from those who made it the special place it is today.
The 1950s Park Forest House Museum, at the corner of Forest and Fir, is open Saturdays 1-3 p.m. Donation is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. The museum is an origianl rental unit, furnished as it might have been in the first five years of the village, 1948-1953. Guides are available to tell how the village came to be built, and to describe social and fashion trends of the era. One room depicts Forest Boulevard School the first of several rental area schools built as the school buildings were being constructed.
For more information on the museum, contact Jane Nicoll at 708-481-4252, or by email at [email protected].