Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Naperville Relates 2013 to 1913 and 1831

By 1913, Joseph Naper had long since taken up his eternal residence in the Naperville Cemetery. While his wife Almeda outlived him by more than two decades, she joined him by the 1880’s.
Joseph and Almeda raised seven children, but sadly, none of them survived until 1913.

The wife of their son Thomas, however, was still living in Naperville in 1913, along with two of Joseph’s grandsons.

Thomas and Julia were married only eight years and following his death, she remained a widow for the next 52 years, raising their two boys on her own.

Thomas’ sons were both grown men in 1913 and fixtures in the Naperville community. Charles served with the Naperville Hose Company, an early incarnation of the city fire department.

Caroline Martin Mitchell  was another fixture in town who bequeathed her mansion home and the surrounding land to the city. In 1913, she was still living at Pine Craig, as it was then known, with her husband Edward and her older sister Lizzie Martin.

Caroline and Lizzie, along with sister Kitty until her death, carried on the operations of their father’s business after he passed away, including the stone quarries where we now swim and paddleboat.

Dick Tracy, a familiar figure on the Riverwalk today, started appearing in comic strips in 1931, so he technically could have been a comic strip child in 1913. Naperville artist Dick Locher took over from Chester Gould, drawing Tracy from 1983-2011.

Locher wasn’t around in 1913 or 1831, but he was tapped to design a statue of founder Joseph Naper for the Naper Homestead park on Mill and Jefferson streets.

His design was then imagined in bronze by sculptor Jeff Adams of the Oregon, Illinois InBronze studio.

On August 9, the statue traveled via flatbed down Washington Street to Jefferson to be installed at the park.

The official dedication ceremony will be held on Friday, August 23 at 4pm. The public is invited to attend, so stop by before the Chamber Centennial Celebration at Naper Settlement and see the unveiling of this impressive sculpture.

That’s two great chances on Friday for you to be part of Naperville history!