Founded in the 1830s by Joseph and Betty Kettlestrings, an intrepid young couple from Yorkshire, England, the small settlement of Oak Park grew slowly until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Before the ashes had cooled, Oak Park’s population boomed as displaced families relocated into the community on the west edge of Chicago. By the turn of the 20th century, this thriving village became a magnet attracting ever-larger numbers of prosperous, progressive people to settle in what many referred to as “the finest of the streetcar suburbs.” In the 1960s and 1970s, Oak Park became widely recognized for encouraging racial and ethnic diversity. Though best known for such residents as architect Frank Lloyd Wright and novelist Ernest Hemingway, Oak Park also lays claim to scores of others who have shone brightly in the national spotlight, as well as current folks who are passionate, daring, and dynamic. More than 100 noteworthy Oak Parkers— past and present—are featured in this volume, from writers and restaurateurs to mobsters and movie stars.
Author Bio: Oak Parker Douglas Deuchler, a longtime educator, journalist, theater reviewer, and tour guide, teaches film history courses at several Chicago-area colleges. He has written five other Arcadia books: Oak Park in Vintage Postcards, Maywood, Berwyn, Cicero Revisited, and The Brookfield Zoo.
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