On-Line Edition Thursday, April 20, 2017 Vol. 59 No. 16
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Ground is broken for new recreation center Lombard Park District Board of Park Commissioners, along with park district leadership team members, broke ground April 13 for a new recreation center to be built in Madison Meadow park. On March 28, the commissioners approved the $9.2 million project. The 38,000 square-foot, two-story building will be located at the former Fairwood School site in the southwest corner of the park. It will include two regulation high school basketball courts, an elevated running track, two large multipurpose rooms and a fitness center. The recreation center is expected to open in July of 2018. Photos by Steve Spoden
***** Out & About by Jane Charmelo *****
Historical society honoring World War heroes
Jean Cooper, collections assistant at the Lombard Historical Society, had the seeds of an idea before she even knew what might grow out of them, but had the foresight to think certain archives in the society's collection would be worth organizing for future reference. Those archives, she shared, contain photos and other artifacts relating to Lombard residents who served World War I or World War II. Cooper assembled a slide show starting around 2015, and when Sarah Richardt came back to the historical society, this time as its executive director, she took notice of the compilation Cooper had organized. Richardt remembers telling her colleague, "We need to create an entire exhibit around these photos," and thus began Cooper's journey into amassing more information on the lives of Lombard residents who had served our country in various branches of the military. The exhibit, on display in the Carriage House now through June 3, is called "Heroes." While Richardt called herself the "creator" of the idea, she emphasized, "This is Jean's exhibit." In addition to doing research about the residents and adding some of the society's collection to the exhibit, Cooper solicited photos, letters and other artifacts from both wars that had come from Lombard residents. On one wall she relates figures showing that during World War I, Lombard's population was 1,500. Her figures show that 102 men, or 6 percent of the population, served in the armed forces, and out of that number, 6 percent died in the war. A photo of the Dobberstein Brothers and Emil Zabel—both part of the society's permanent collection—offer a reminder of Lombard residents who served their country. A slide show presentation offers a glimpse of several Lombard residents who served our country, and Cooper explained that in particular, one group of photos is labeled "The Bradley Collection." That's because they had belonged to James Bradley, a pharmacist who had a shop on North Main Street, just north of St. Charles Road. The pharmacy was apparently a place for teens to gather in the day, she explained, so when they went off to fight in World War II, the soldiers would send him photos and postcards. "He called them the Bradley Boys," Cooper said. She explained how she was able to find details on some of the soldiers in the slide show, saying that after the American Legion in town formed in 1920, families of soldiers were asked to fill out information about who was serving, branch of military, service dates, etc. "A big chunk of our research is there," the assistant said of the legion's files, adding that having the soldiers' name, dates of service and even parents' names helped her find out more about these individuals. On another side of the room, a World War II exhibit pays tribute to men—and women—who served from 1942-46. The village's population by then was 7,100, and 735 men and women were serving in the military. Thirty-one of them died during the war. One of those men was Roy F. Soldman, U.S. Navy, and while his might not be a household name, he died alongside five men whose names did become newsworthy—the Sullivan Brothers. The brothers all served aboard the USS Juneau, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine on Nov. 13, 1942, after which the U.S. War Department declared the "sole survivor policy" to prevent another, similar tragedy. With little extra space but wanting to display more photos, postcards and letters, a scrapbook of sorts, called "Letters from the Front," was also created for visitors to peruse. It contains letters from soldiers to their families back home, such as one 16-page letter a son wrote to his mother notifying her of the death of another son, his brother. The scrapbook mentions the name Tonne, which has a long history in the Lilac Village, and it turns out seven Tonne brothers served in World War II—five of whom were drafted. One of the drafted brothers, Army medical corpsman William A. Tonne, was killed in Luzon March 23, 1945. One display even pays tribute to Stormy, a canine "private" who served in World War II. Artifacts include uniforms and pieces of equipment, such as a backpack that was found during renovation of the former Lombard Hotel (now Babcock's Grove Restaurant). It belonged to Donald O'Connor, who served at Iwo Jima. The historical society offers visitors a copy of a Memorial Day program from May 30, 1945—a supplement to the Lombard Spectator—that features the names and photos of those killed during World War II. Richardt commented that opening the "Heroes" exhibit when it did coincides with this year's Lilac Parade Theme, "Who's Your Hero?," so it was "a perfect time." Cooper said, too, that the 100th commemoration of the start of World War I is this year, another reason she found it important to honor our village's heroes. "I want people to understand the people who served during these very tumultuous times," the assistant said, adding that these were heroes who "gave up all the comforts of home." "Look within your own community to see who those heroes are," Cooper said, referring to the exhibit, "...[who made] life better for somebody else." Honoring our service men and women, she believes, is "an important part of who we are in this town." And, she concluded, "We couldn't have made this exhibit as successful as it is without that community support." "Heroes" runs through June 3 during normal museum hours, Wednesday and Friday, 1-4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Carriage House is located at 23 W. Maple St., Lombard, behind the Victorian Cottage. For more information, call 630-629-1885 or visit www.lombardhistory.org.