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.

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Barb Remembers...

Barb Westfall March 12, 2008

I believe it was 1952 when we bought a small tract house on Sauk Trail. I cannot tell you the number right now, but it was between the Ivan Bakers (father and son). I believe the son became a principal or superintendent of schools there. We have moved so many times, but there are the memories of the short time spent there. I laugh. My computer ser up is on that old formica table which was purchased for the kitchen. I think it was about 30 yrs. ago that the stove was finally donated and replaced by a built in. An the refrigerator went a short time after we moved to these mountains. Just call me a pack rat!!

Barbara R. Westfall, EdS.

Growing up in Park Forest 1953-1968

by Rosalie Turkel Cripps, sent March 23, 2008, updated August 27, 2010

My parents, Leo and Mary Turkel, older sister, Sandi, and I moved to Park Forest from Iowa in June, 1953 when my father was transferred for his job to Chicago. We first lived in the "rental units" on Fir Street very close to Lakewood Elementary School where my sister and I attended 4th and 2nd grade, respectively. In April of 1954 we moved into our newly finished house on Blackhawk Drive (close to Orchard Drive). That house was truly the home of my childhood.

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Memories from an Early Teacher, 1953-1954

Memories from Audrey Nordlof Ohlson Smith, an early teacher, 1953-1954. March 18, 2008

Four other beginning teachers and I lived at #1 Hemlock during the school year of 1953-1954. Since there were no apartments in Park Forest then, the school board rented two townhouses which they then rented to new teachers. We called our apartment, "The Teacherage." The five of us taught at Dogwood School. The principal there, as I recall, was a Mr. Lautenschlager. I had applied to teach in Park Forest because of John Moon, a member of the school board. I had worked for him during a summer job at R. R. Donnelley & Sons, Co. in Chicago the summer of 1952.

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And he did! Fond Memories of Park Forest--1953 to 1968

from Leo Turkel, July 14, 2008.

When I graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1941, I accepted a job with a company based in Omaha. The job took me to Des Moines, Iowa for twelve years. In Des Moines I met my wife and we have now been married for sixty five years. Our two daughters were born in Des Moines and started school there. However, in 1953 my company offered me a chance to move to the Chicago area and be the manager of a new branch.

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Memories from Liz Stark

Memories from Liz Stark, (Elizabeth Stark, Mrs. Robert) May 15, 2008

I could write a small book about EARLY Park Forest, before the pre-1950 museum, but will write more in the near futue. My husband Bob and I moved to Park Forest on October 20, 1948, court E-8 on Western Avenue. The park ing and play area wasn't paved yet and we were among the first 4 courts settled. Phil Klutznick and family moved into the first court, I think, about the time we did. Except for one bachelor (a WWII Veteran like most all the others) was involved in building PF...everyone was young, there were a few children but within 9 months, the children began to arrive. I have a picture of a baby shower for 4 pregnant women, all due at the same time, and we credited that to the same cocktail party!

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