Images wanted of Palos Park's past

Library, village compile historic photos for book

By Jeff Vorva

At one time, Palos Park was a place where buffalo roamed and marksman from all over the country with nicknames such as "The Terrible Dane," "The Stock Crank" and "Our Ammunition Factory" came to compete in sharpshooting contests.

It was once a place where writers such as Pearl S. Buck and Sherwood Anderson and sculptor Lorado Taft hung out.

In 2014, the village turns 100 years old and one of the special projects that will take place will be the debut of a book jammed with photos and stories about Palos Park's first century of existence.

While members of the Palos Park Public Library have been gathering material for this book in recent weeks, they are still seeking out more photos and information. They have pushed their original deadline from Jan. 31 to mid-February and people can share their history by dropping items off at the library, 12330 S. Forest Glen Blvd., or at the Kaptur Center, 8999 W. 123rd St.

The library requests that people place is the photos and information in an envelope marked "Palos Park Centennial Pictures" and to provide their name, address, e-mail address and phone number on the back of each photo and that the story is attached to the photo.

The library is working in conjunction with Arcadia Publishing, which has produced hundreds of books like this under its "Images of America" series, including books about nearby Worth and Oak Lawn.

Administrative Librarian Sheila Sosnicki and Public Services Librarian Jeannine Kacmar are helping to oversee the project.

"These books are usually a compilation of photos of an area," Sosnicki said. "We're looking at doing this for Palos Park. We also want to emphasize some of the interesting parts about Palos Park's history. Horseback riding was really huge back then. It was interesting to hear stories about farms that the families had. People are really interested in their history and they are happy to share their stories and talk. Someone brought in school pictures from the 1920s and from the 1940s and it was fun looking at those."

They discovered that buffalo had roamed in the village limits in the 1920s.

"The Cook County Forest Preserve stocked buffalo," Kacmar said. "I'm not sure why they did that, but we have photos of them grazing in the forest preserve. We have photos of people hunting them."

The village's rich history in shooting will be highlighted. Palos Park once housed the Sharpshooter's Association, which hosted competitions for regional and national shooters.

In the 1910s, the village hosted the George Washington Birthday Cup Shoot. Marksmen from all over the country to compete including C.T. Westergaard, who was known as the "Terrible Dane", C.L. Forsythe, otherwise known as "Our Ammunition Factory" and Frank Dulleck - a.k.a. "The Stock Crank."

The village has not announced any details about the 100-year anniversary celebration, but in 2012 officials said they were expanding their Autumn in The Park Festival in 2012 and 2013 in anticipation for the 100-year anniversary in 2014.