Memories Announcements

facebookWe are on Facebook!  Become a fan of  "Park Forest Historical Society" and of "1950s Park Forest House Museum!" We have joined Facebook (like us!) and have a Facebook page for the museum (like our museum page!). (Active links are further down the page.) There is a Facebook group, "Grew up in Park Forest".  It formerly had some wonderful memory streams going, but that changed with Facebook's new format.  It is still a place to reconnect with people who grew up here. We still accept memoirs sent to us via email.  We hope to get a "Park Forest Memories " group started sometime to capture those entries, but are looking at other social networking sites.  If you are interested in helping with that, contact us. We have joined Facebook (like us!) and have a Facebook page for the museum (like our museum page!). 

Remember to make a copy of your memory and submit it to us, too.  And, you will notice, you can write a much longer memoir to be put on our website to share with people.

If you see a topic there and want to expand on it, please share it with us!  Remember, many people are not on Facebook and don't read memories, there.  We may know something about your question.

I think the absence of emails to us is a result of the Facebook page, BUT if you have tried and we have not answered your email, please try again and put something in the subject line to draw attention to the fact. I have gotten some legitimate messages but a fraction of what I formerly received. I receive a lot of spam messages. I worry that I am missing some that don't come through as legitimate.


I will be adding the memoirs and sending you emails to let you know that yours is online. Hopefully this will go smoothly. When you get your email, please be sure to notify friends and relatives to come look at our site.

Let us hear from YOU!!

If you are reading and enjoying these memories, (and I can tell that you are by the web statistics) send yours along. You do not need to add your contact information for the website. Please let us know what information you want to include. Your memory can be a few sentences or an essay.  Our Memories stay up for years to come.


Be sure to read our story on this year-long project with South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society.  Our program on September 20 will be on this. Read more in News and Programs. Be sure to contact SSGHS or PFHS if you have any information on farms in the Park Forest area.

Do you have photos of St. Irenaeus School or your class photos from your time there? Please contact us through our link. The Class of 1959 recenetly had a reunion in Chicago and we discovered St. Irenaeus School history files at the church had inadvertently been thrown out. Please help us and St. I's reconstruct the files.

Did you or your family attend St. Anne's Catholic Church before St. Irenaeus was built? We have people looking for history and photographs of the church. Do you know what happened to the original building? The museum has a lovely painting of the church hanging in the bedroom, donated by Terry Ruehl who moved to PF in October 1948 and attended the church. Terry has since moved and passed on. If any of you can help reconstruct the history of St. Anne's please contact us.

On June 13, 2009 thirty-nine or more people came through the museum on a special tour arranged by Jack and Becky Black. The reunion first went on a tour of Rich East High School, then came to the museum on a bus provided by the high school. Everyone enjoyed sharing memories of their years growing up in Park Forest.
We have since had tours for the Classes of 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, and 1967.
Having a reunion?  Be sure to book your tour of the museum as part of your activities!
Class of 1964 Reunion 

The 1950s Museum is in GroupTour eMagazine, Spring 2013 issue, page 26.  You can download the issue here.

The 1950s Museum was in the Chicago Tribune Metro section on Sunday February 3, 2008. We had a color photo and text on the front page and more photos and text on page 5. If you go to, put "1950s Museum" in the search box, and you can go to the article, but now you have to pay to read it there. If you Search the internet for "1950s Museum" the article should come up in another site where you can read it for free.

Read more ...

School Memories and other Memories of Childhood

by Janet Shell Peterson,  June 2, 2008

My name is Janet Shell Peterson. My mom, dad, sister and I moved to Park Forest in 1952. I was just one year old, so I really have no recollection of that. When it was time for me to go to kindergarten, I was assigned to Room 15 at Lakewood Elementary School. I have forgotten my teacher's name but she was very nice to all us kids.

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A Little Park Forest History

From Gus and Marcia Wiebers submitted January 13, 2008

I just reread a copy I have of "The Spirit," published by the Park Forest Historical Society, v.2, No. 3, Spring, 2007. It reminded me that I have intended to write for some time. The years our family spent living in Park Forest comprised a very special chapter in our lives. My parents, not long out of college (he after time overseas in the European Theater in WWII), bought a house on Cherry St. the spring of 1951. Six years later toward the end of May, 1957, we moved on to Lincoln, Nebraska, where my father took a job with an insurance company, leaving a financial position at the Harris Bank in downtown Chicago. Thus it was 6 years that we spent in Park Forest.

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Bonnie Feldgreber Remembers 1967-1980

Bonnie Feldgreber Remembers 1967-1980, Posted July 8, 2007

Hi my name is Bonnie Feldgreber currently living in Indianapolis. I grew up in Park Forest from 1967 to 1980, we then moved to California. Park Forest has always had a special place in my heart and I am happy that I had the opportunity to grow up in such a wonderful community.

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Norman Rockwell's painting, "New Kids on the Block"

Jane Nicoll relates a story about Norman Rockwell's painting, "New Kids on the Block." posted, January 8, 2008

This December, Phyllis Monk from Crete Historical Society dropped by the museum with a very special gift. In November, she had been to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachussettes. She saw "New Kids on the Block," which had a label telling how it was painted for the Look Magazine article of May 1967 written by Jack Star on integration in Park Forest. Mrs. Monk was not aware of the history of the painting.

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No trees, or driveway, but Park Forest had everything else

by Ray Shepard, Colliersville, TN, Posted July 1, 2007

Now retired and living in the South, I spend quite a bit of time in my backyard communing with nature. Sometimes, while I am sipping on my margarita, my mind drifts back to the wonderful time growing up in Park Forest.

I remember the day when my father came home from work and said, "We're moving to Park Forest". This became a reality in June of 1952 when we moved to our new home at 229 Mantua. I was 10 years old. Our house was so new that we did not have a driveway yet. There was a two-foot drop from the garage floor to the ground. On our block to the west, the ground was being graded to pour new concrete slabs. To the East, there were rows of houses as far as the eye could see. I remember thinking to myself that everything was so barren; this was a town without grass or trees.

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