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 ...

Sent September 3, 2008, upon reading of the death of Robert Dinerstein in the Minneapolis newspaper.

I graduated from Rich Township in 1960 and have attended every reunion of my class and the all school reunion of several years ago. Our class is now in the process of planning a 50th reunion in 2010. My family lived in Park Forest from 1957-1963 when my dad (a middle manager for Swift & Co.) was transferred to North Carolina. I was married at Faith United Protestant Church on June 24, 1964 with Dr. Engelmann presiding. My mother, Lillnette Z. Hiller (1917-2006), also a member of Faith, inaugurated the Living Nativity at the church, I believe, a year after our move from New Orleans, LA where she had started it there but OUTSIDE. I have visited PF occasionally over the years, usually in conjunction with reunions, but also to visit my high school English teacher, D. Stanley Moore and his wife Jan.

My experiences at Rich High School were the most formative of my adult life, outside of my family. My values were formed, particularly those concerning social justice and affirmative action, at that time. No person was more influential in my life than Stan Moore-- except for my parents, brother, and maternal grandmother (of Norfolk, Virginia--my birthplace and heritage of over three hundred years-- who lived two days shy of her 100th birthday in 1994.) Their only rivals are my daughter, Susan Lillnette Rest Asplund and her husband Jim.

As a teacher (1966-1968--Latin in Wheeling IL, and 1970-1979--English and humanities in Plymouth MN) and as a politician (Minnesota legislature 1984-current) I often reflect on the lessons of individual freedoms and compassion for those struggling to achieve the American Dream based on my experiences in the classrooms of Rich Township High School and teachers such as Jim Fisher, Len Peart, and Ray Janota as well as Stan Moore. I also owe a lot to my classmates who challenged every social stereotype even as we lived in an all-white Chicago suburb.

Most of us who were schooled in the late 50s-early 60s in the north were not aware at the time of the great social movement of which we were a part. It fascinates me to read the comments of Philip Klutznick (on your oral history site) of all the details that went into producing Park Forest.

So the ramblings of one to whom Park Forest is so endeared.


Ann Rest

P. S. An all school reunion memory. A couple of 1960 graduates and I chose a round table at random to sit at during the shopping center gala. We loved the prom dresses display and the music. The other folks at the table introduced themselves, and we started reminiscing. I asked the man sitting next to me how he and his wife were spending the weekend. He said that they were driving around to those spots that meant the most to him growing up. He spent all his school years in Park Forest. This was the first time he had returned to Park Forest since graduating from Rich in the early 70s. I don't remember his name, but he now lives in Washington state. I said that I did the same thing every time I visited: my house (and took photos), the Aqua Center, the library, my church, the cemetery where a dear friend was buried, and of course, the high school. I asked him where HE went. He said that he visited HIS house and the neighborhood. " Where did you live?" "On East Rocket Circle." "So did I. What number?" "Seventeen." I stopped dead in my tracks. That was MY HOUSE, and I told him so in no uncertain terms. He said he lived there. I couldn't believe it. My folks had moved to Wilmington, NC, when I was a senior at Northwestern U and had rented our house; his family bought it two years later from them. He and I had the SAME room alongside the path across the peat bog that led to the shopping center. Then came the part that brought me to tears. My father planted rose bushes at every home we ever had over the years-- Norfolk, VA; New Orleans, LA; Park Forest,IL; Wilmington, NC. So do I. This young man told me that at every home of his, HE plants rose bushes to remind him of those he and his family found in Park Forest when they moved in and for all the great memories he had of his life in our village. I have three rose bushes in my garden here in New Hope, Minnesota; every day they remind me of my father.

Ann H. Rest, State Senator District 45, Chair, Committee on State and Local Governmnt Operations and Oversight
State Capitol #205, St. Paul MN 55155 651-296-2889
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