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 ...

Hello from One of Park Forest's Early Residents

Charles Miller, January 6, 2001

My name is Charles Miller. My family and I were among the first 100 families to move into Park Forest in 1949. I was four years old at the time. I remember watching the sidewalks being poured, and the other apartments being built. My mother is Reeva (Ricky) Miller, who at 85 years old, is living in Leisure World in Seal Beach, California. My father, who died in 1990 at the age of 82, was Harry Miller. He occasionally wrote for the Park Forest Star. His columns were Contract Bridge, Grist from the Miller, and Out of my Mind.

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Greetings from Lynn Rotman Ansfield

February 10, 1999

What a joy to find you on the Web! The photo of the clock tower in the shopping center brought back so many memories of my idyllic childhood in Park Forest. I remember the billboard announcing the creation of the village that beckoned my family off our route to a long-awaited vacation in Indiana. We spent the afternoon plodding through muddy lots that we were assured would some day become grassy lawns. As we left the fledgling village, our family voted - vacation or move? Later that summer we moved to our little home on Apple Lane in what the billboard had told us was a "Wonderland for Children." I assure you that for a family trying to flee the tenements of near-Northside Chicago, Park Forest certainly was a wonderland.
Although I have spent more of my life in Madison, Wisconsin, when I'm asked where I'm from, I always say, "Park Forest."

My sisters and I attended Forest Boulevard School before any elementary schools were built. Classes were held in living rooms and bedrooms of the townhouses. We hung our coats on the shower curtain bar and put our boots in the tub. When the library moved to the Lakewood Boulevard address, I took part in the parade of citizens who hand-carried the books to their new home (mid to late 1950s).

Thank you for the opportunity to share memories of our community with my parents and my sisters, who will be receiving the calendars I am ordering.

Lynn Rotman Ansfield

Pleasant Memories from a Happy Childhood in Park Forest

by Robert Long  October 5, 1998

My father, C.B. Long (my mother is Hazel Long now living in Sun City Center, Florida) was a career (45 years) employee of Swift & Co. (edible oils division) and was transferred to Chicago in the spring of 1950. I was nearly 7 years old, my older brother Chip was 9 and my younger brother, Bill, would be born in January, 1951 in a Chicago Heights hospital. We moved directly into an apartment at 161 Park Road. (As I recall, their were no houses for a couple of years thereafter.) In 1954 we bought a new home at 448 Shabbona Dr. and lived there until my father's transfer in the summer of 1960. For me, it was a wonderful place to spend the formative years (between ages 6 and 17 in my case).

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Memories of Park Forest, June 1948 - December 1950

by Julian Roberts  December 13, 1998

My father, Clyde Roberts, had gone ahead of us to start his new position as a designer for Argonne National Laboratories. He had located a home for us, but warned my mother, Alice, that construction was still in progress. He said it might be a few months before we were able to move in.

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A Long and Happy Life in Park Forest

by James L. Garretson  March 19, 1998

Elaine and I and our then four children came to Park Forest in November, 1949. I had been in Cook County since early 1949 and had made the acquaintance of one Park Forester, Tony Scariano. Soon after our arrival, he and his good wife had all of us to their house for dinner. We occupied our then new townhouse until May, 1990 -- for over 40 years. I was 49, almost 50, when we moved in and 80 when we moved away. Elaine was three years younger.

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