City Centennial Year

On April 19, 1910, the Village of Park Ridge, population 2,009 voted by referendum to become a city by a vote of 220-178. The first City officials were elected on May 24, 1910. Voting took place in the baggage room at the Chicago and North Western depot, located just a few feet closer to Prospect Avenue than the current Uptown Metra Station.  Albert Buchheit, local dentist, won a four-year term, defeating William Malone 272-246.

During the subsequent century, Park Ridge grew from a small village to a busy suburban destination at the crossroads of the Midwest.  The City has stood for nurturing American values, public service, civic improvement and teaching its young people to become thoughtful participants. Park Ridge has established an impressive history, as a place to dream and a place to achieve.

The 100th anniversary of its status as City was a perfect time to salute Park Ridge’s heritage and take pride in its legacy of achievements.
 
The mission of the Park Ridge Historical Society is to maintain a rich collection of Park Ridge artifacts that reflects this heritage and legacy, to elevate awareness of our City's colorful heritage and to celebrate our accomplishments of the past and present.
 
The Kalo Foundation emphasizes the City’s cultural heritage as the hometown of many creative people. "It Starts with the Arts" was a series of programs being hosted by the Kalo Foundation in conjunction with the Centennial Year to highlight and feature many aspects of the arts in Park Ridge. 
 
The Garden Club encouraged all residents to plant the City’s flower---the red geranium---during the Centennial Year. As part of the annual Beautification Awards program sponsored by the City of Park Ridge and the Garden Club extra points were given to those nominees who used the red geranium in their gardens the Centennial Year.
 
"Albert Buchheit Day," named in honor of the City’s first mayor featured special tours around Hodges Park and the "Taste of Park Ridge" in July also took on a centennial theme.
 
Park Ridge’s Centennial year as a City celebration continued from May 24, 2010 through May 24, 2011. 
 
Many artists located in the area of Clinton and Grant Place where Clara Barck Wells established the Kalo Arts Crafts Community House. Other notable artists who called Park Ridge home were Albert Kreibiel and his wife Dulah Evans Krehbiel, Alfonso Iannelli, Grant Woods, Eugene Romeo, and Kenneth Brown Ransley.
 
The Park Ridge Improvement Association (now the Twentieth Century Club) was founded almost 100 years ago by the women of Park Ridge to encourage cultural and civic betterment. Many of the group’s leaders were professional artists themselves or married to artists and craftsmen in the Park Ridge Artists’ Colony.
 
Among the City of Park Ridge’s famous citizens are Hillary Rodham Clinton, Federick Goudy (inventor of 120 typefaces), Grant Wood, Eugene Kupjack (miniaturist; works displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago), Alfonso Iannelli (sculptor; designed parts of the Pickwick Theater), Harrison Ford, Jim Pankow (actors), Karen Black and Carrie Snodgrass (actresses), and Steve Goodman (folk singer and song writer).
 
City tours were administered by the Chamber of Commerce highlighting the accomplishments of these Park Ridge natives.
 
Concerts during the Centennial year featured works by John Alden Carpenter, world renowned Park Ridge composer. The Park Ridge Civic Orchestra which performs at the historic Pickwick Theatre in Uptown Park Ridge and the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society, which presents a series of summer concerts City Hall adjacent to Hodges Park on Friday evenings throughout the summer months, featured Carpenter works.

 

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