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Curiosities of Forest Park: When and why did sidewalk snow removal start?

January 30th, 2019 1:00 AM

Thursday, February 2, 1967 headline in Forest Park Review celebrates the Forest Park snow removal after one of the greatest snowfalls recorded in Chicagoland history.

By Curiosities of Forest Park

In years after World War II, the Village of Forest Park was bitterly divided over whether or not to have parking meters on Madison and the side streets. Meter discussions started (1947), meters were installed (1949), citizens organized and voted them out (Dec 1949), they were removed, and after the dust settled, they came in again (February 1952). Click here for more on Madison St meter history.
Just a few months later, the Village Council, led by Mayor Vernon Reich, discussed snow removal for the upcoming winter. According to the October 30, 1952, Forest Park Review, the Mayor stated that meter funds would be ample to remove snow from streets and sidewalks, not only along Madison. Commissioner Lambke expressed concern if the Village would have enough equipment, Commissioner Henry Mohr, assured the council that there was adequate equipment to remove snow from all the Village sidewalks, as they had two sidewalk scrapers available.
Snow removal jeeps were used by the village to manage the sidewalks, which included the occasional complaint from the trailing snow piles left on the driveways, to which in 1965, then Mayor Mohr wondered if the Village was "spoiling people" with such excellent service.
Then January 26, 1967 Chicagoland got hit by the Big One, 23 inches of white snow in 29 hours, which shut down stores, schools, factories, and streets everywhere, except in Forest Park. Commissioner Lambke's department cleared the streets with the help of heavy equipment from a local business, Thomas McQueen Co. The Park District Director, Jim Sarno permitted dumping of snow on the park to remove it from the streets, and local scouts cleared fire hydrants.
Many stories of Forest Parkers coming to each other's aid, rocking cars, shared food and "running' errands brought the village together in the 1967 storm, and most locals still can tell a story about how Forest Parkers pitched in together when it was needed.

 

Let us know what you are curious about in Forest Park, we'd love to see if we can answer your curious questions.  Email jill@forestparkreview.com