Briefly from Around the State

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

50th Anniversary Only the Beginning of the Story



Anderson’s Bookshop recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary. But the shop’s Naperville roots actually go back much farther.

Dr. Hamilton Daniels operated a pharmacy in the building that now houses Ted’s Montana Grill. In 1875, William Wallace Wickel purchased the store from Dr. Daniels and started a family dynasty.



W.W. Wickel and his wife, Sarah, had a daughter named Susanna. Susanna graduated from North Central College and was later a member of the music faculty.

She met another North Central student who worked in her father’s drugstore, William Oswald, and married him in 1907. By 1915, W.W. sold the pharmacy to his son-in-law, who renamed it Oswald’s.

The Oswalds had a daughter of their own, Helen. Like her mother, Helen met a young man who worked in the pharmacy, Harold Kester. They were married in 1931. 


Harold in his turn bought the pharmacy from his father-in-law in 1953. While the store had always sold books, in 1964, Harold opened a separate shop, Paperback Paradise, above the drugstore. In 1971, Harold moved the bookstore into an old Woolworth’s building down the street. The store has been remodeled several times, but it’s still in the same location.

Helen and Harold raised two daughters, Jean and Anita. Jean carried on the family tradition by marrying pharmacist Robert Anderson who took over the business.

In 1991, Robert turned the family businesses over to the current generation: Bill, Becky, Tres and Peter. Bill runs Oswald’s Pharmacy, Becky and Tres run Anderson’s Bookshop and Pete runs Anderson’s Bookfair.

Fittingly, the Anderson family received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chamber in 2013 for their “long-time contributions to the Naperville community.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Someone Who Should Haunt Naperville


Last year we wrote about Edward Sanitarium, the precursor to our current Edward Hospital complex. What we didn’t tell you is that Dr. Theodore Sachs, the tuberculosis expert who conceived and ran the Sanitarium, committed suicide on the grounds and was buried on the property.

Dr. Sachs was a Russian immigrant of Jewish descent who arrived in America in 1891. Already armed with a law degree earned in Oddessa, Ukraine, Sachs studied medicine at the University of Illinois, graduating in 1895. He specialized in diseases of the lungs, becoming extremely influential in the Chicago Tuberculosis Institute. With the financial backing of Eudora Hull Gaylord Spaulding, he opened the Edward Sanitarium for tubercular patients in 1907.

But in 1913, Sachs clashed with Chicago Mayor William Hale Thompson over political appointees
on the Chicago Sanitarium board. Thompson’s camp responded with accusations of financial mismanagement. Sachs resigned from the Chicago board in March, but became overwhelmingly despondent.

On April 1, he told the nurse on duty he would rest in his library where they found him the following morning, dead of a morphine overdose. He left two suicide notes protesting his innocence, one to his wife and one to the city of Chicago.

An enormous crowd attended Dr. Sachs’ funeral on that cold day and he was buried on Sanitarium property under a large bronze and stone monument. The grave was moved more than once due to Edward’s expansion, most recently in 1989.

Poor Dr. Sachs! If anyone has a reason to haunt Naperville, the good doctor does!


Monday, October 6, 2014

A Book Review Perfect for October

Graveyards of ChicagoThe People, History, Art, and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries
By Matt Hucke and Ursula Bielski
Lake Claremont Press

www.lakeclaremontpress.com

In 1982, I packed a wicker basket with tasty treats (including canned heat to melt butter for the lobster!) and took my new husband on a picnic. In Graceland Cemetery.

Just recently, I read the book Graveyards of Chicago; The People, History, Art, and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries and relived some of my favorite local haunts, if you’ll excuse the expression. I was also reminded that a few bad apples are ruining the cemetery experience for the rest of us.

Graceland, on the north side of Chicago, is lovely, peaceful and not at all a strange place to picnic. Families in many cultures have a tradition of gathering in cemeteries, packing respect for their ancestors along with the sandwiches. Unfortunately, while people in Chicago today may be fascinated by cemeteries, too many pages in this book recount the damage done by vandals and thieves in these historic parks.

A book like this is a mixed blessing:  I’m sorry to make it easy for those bad apples to find cool places to vandalize, but I’m so thankful to have these graveyards documented for posterity. 

Graveyards of Chicago is written by Matt Hucke and Ursula Bielski, both of whom are involved in the paranormal community. Judging from the amount of research that went into the book, you can see that these two are concerned with preserving the cemeteries rather than exploiting them. The research is so detailed, however, that you probably won’t sit down and read this from cover to cover. Reading Graveyards is more like an afternoon of sightseeing:  After a few parks, it’s time to take a break, but you’ll enjoy visiting a few more on a future afternoon.

In fact, on these lovely fall days you might want to actually visit these cemeteries with Graveyards of Chicago as your guidebook. Just remember to be respectful of the property and clean up after your picnic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

October Chicago Portage Walk

The “Friends of the Chicago Portage” would like to announce their next public walking tour of the Chicago Portage National Historic Site, Saturday October 4th, 2014 at 10:00 A.M. Please join veteran tour guide Jeff Carter who will explore the “Birth Story of Chicago” from the geological beginnings of the Portage to how it is still functioning in Chicago today. One of only two national historic sites in Illinois, the Chicago Portage site is the only place where you can stand on the same ground walked by all the early explorers, early settlers, and creators of Chicago. The Tour is approximately ½ mile in length on a gravel path through the woods and will take about 2 hours. Wear long pants and walking shoes or boots. The Tour will run rain or shine.

The tours will continue on the 1st Saturday of the month through November 1st, 2014.

The late Tribune columnist John Husar, after touring the site, called it “Our sacred ground”. It is certainly Chicago’s “Plymouth Rock”.

This is a must-see event for history lovers, historians, educators, tour guides, and anyone who communicates the stories of Chicago to others.

All tours are free and open to the public.

Location: The Chicago Portage National Historic site is at 4800 S. Harlem which is on the west side of Harlem Avenue (7200 W) just 2 blocks north of the Stevenson Expressway (I-55).Meet at the monumental statue of Marquette and Joliet and their Native American guide at 10:00 am.

Sponsor: Friends of the Chicago Portage
Contact: Gary Mechanic at 773-590-0710 or visit www.chicagoportage.org.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Other Naperville

Our town may be the first one named “Naperville,” but it wasn’t the only one.

While it is now known as Naper, a town in Nebraska was originally called “Naperville” as well. They dropped the “ville” to avoid confusion with the Illinois community.

The name is not just a mere coincidence. Naper, Nebraska was founded by Ralph Robert Naper, a grandson of our founder Joseph Naper.

When Joseph traveled from Ohio, he and his wife Almeda already were parents of three children:  Robert, age 6; Elizabeth, age 3 and Maria, age 1.

Robert, like his father, was elected President of our town and was also a village trustee. He operated his father’s mill, opened a dry goods store, and served as postmaster as well.

Robert married Amelia Morse in 1852 and they had two sons, Joseph and Ralph Robert, who was born in 1863.

As an adult, Ralph Robert moved west, opening his own mercantile establishment in Nebraska. He married Lydia Cornelia Wright, known as Lily. The Napers had four children:  Harold, Donald, Maria and Howard.

Along with another early Nebraska settler, George Hoteling, Ralph Robert donated the land on which the town of Naper was built.

Naper, NE is located just over a mile from the South Dakota border. It may be a tenth of the size of Naperville, but they are just as proud of their history as we are.