Forest Park, Illinois
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|— Village —|
|Motto: "Big city access, small town charm"|
|• Mayor||Mayor Anthony T. Calderone|
|• Commissioners||Rory Hoskins
|• Total||2.40 sq mi (6.2 km2)|
|• Land||2.40 sq mi (6.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.0 km2) 0%|
|• Density||5,902.9/sq mi (2,279.1/km2)|
|Down 9.70%% from 2000|
|Standard of living (2007-11)|
|• Per capita income||$34,756|
|• Median home value||$222,400|
Forest Park (formerly Harlem) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago in the United States. The population was 14,167 at the 2010 census. The Forest Park train stop on the CTA Blue Line is the line's western terminus, located on the Eisenhower Expressway at Des Plaines Avenue.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,688 people, 7,632 households, and 3,480 families residing in the village. The population density was 6,480.8 people per square mile (2,503.0/km²). There were 7,981 housing units at an average density of 3,297.0 per square mile (1,273.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 56.14% White, 31.18% African American, 0.15% Native American, 6.83% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 2.80% from other races, and 2.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.84% of the population, including 5.6% Mexican.
There were 7,632 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.9% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.4% were non-families. 45.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.03 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the village the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 39.8% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $44,103, and the median income for a family was $52,611. Males had a median income of $39,402 versus $32,255 for females. The per capita income for the village was $26,045. About 6.3% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.5% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
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The village of Forest Park runs under a village commission form of government led by a mayor and four commissioners elected every four years.
Forest Park is divided between three congressional districts. The area east of the Des Plaines River and south of Harrison Street is in Illinois' 3rd congressional district, except for the area northeast of Elgin Avenue and 13th Street; the area north of the Eisenhower Expressway and east of Van Buren Street is in the 7th district; and the area in between (primarily consisting of Concordia and Forest Home cemeteries and a city park) is part of the 4th district.
- St. Bernardine Catholic Church, built in a Spanish Mission style, was designed by McCarthy, Smith, and Eppig. The firm worked extensively with Cardinal George Mundelein and produced numerous Chicago-area Catholic churches during the Great Depression, including St. Wenceslaus in Chicago, as well as St. Joseph and St. Francis Xavier churches in Wilmette.
- The Ferrara Pan Candy Company is located at 7301 W. Harrison Street. The company was founded in 1908 by Salvatore Ferrara who came to America from Nola, Italy, in 1900. The use of the word "pan" refers to the process of making the candy by the sugar panning process.
Village life 
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The Park District of Forest Park, located near the center of the village, has a 15-acre (61,000 m2) park, with an aquatic center. Shopping is mostly located on Madison Street. Previously known for many taverns, it now also features antique merchants, boutiques, and eating establishments. Recently it was voted by the readers of the Chicago Tribune as the "Best Neighborhood Dining" in Chicagoland.
Every summer in early June the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce & Development hosts an annual Summerfest along Madison Street, its downtown district. In the last few days of July and first few of August, Forest Park's Park District plays host to the Forest Park No Glove National Invitational Softball Tournament. This is an invitational to all the best 16-inch softball teams in Chicagoland (and sometimes from other regions). The game is slow-pitch softball played without gloves, a favorite in the region.
Every autumn the St. Bernardine Church hosts an Oktoberfest and the village hosts a Rib-fest.
The town is served by a weekly newspaper, the Forest Park Review, coming out every Wednesday. It is printed by Wednesday Journal, Inc. A bi-monthly publication, The Forest Park Post, is distributed to all homes and businesses in Forest Park and is published by 34 Publishing, Inc.
The community (formerly part of a larger town called Harlem) officially became incorporated under the name of Forest Park on April 17, 1907.
For much of its history, Forest Park was known as a "Village of cemeteries," with more dead "residents" than living ones; some figures estimate the ratio at 30:1, dead to alive. Forest Park cemeteries include Altenheim, German Waldheim (now merged into Forest Home), Jewish Waldheim (producer Mike Todd is buried in Beth Aaron there), Woodlawn (including Showmen's Rest), and Concordia. Forest Home Cemetery is home to the famous Haymarket Riot monument.
Forest Park was the location of Forest Park Amusement Park, a small but popular amusement park at the end of the train lines, from 1907 to 1922. Unfortunately there was a spectacular fire which all but decimated the park, and it never reopened. Its former location is now occupied by the Forest Park station on CTA's Blue Line at Desplaines Avenue. From 1927 to 1928, Forest Park had a radio station called WNBA, with its studios near Des Plaines and Roosevelt Road.
In 2007, the town held a summer-long centennial celebration. Forest Park has also held two other centennial celebrations, one in 1956 for when the first settlers came and one in 1984 for the 100th anniversary of the creation of the town of Harlem.
Postcard views of the amusement park 
Women's professional baseball/softball has roots in Forest Park. Emery Parichy purchased the Boston Bloomer Girls softball team in the early 1930s, renamed them Emery Parichy's Bloomer Girls, and moved them to Forest Park. The team operated in the suburb until 1955, when the land their softball field was on was taken for the Eisenhower Expressway.
For most of its history, Forest Park was home for the 25 year-old professional (non-equity) theater company, Circle Theatre, which now resides across Harlem Avenue in neighboring Oak Park. Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times writes: "One of the most consistently satisfying theatrical operations in the area ...everything from classics to new American plays ...theatre at its very best." Circle Theatre has produced over 175 productions and received over 80 Joseph Jefferson (JEFF) nominations and won over 30 Jeff Awards. Notable visits from famous playwrights have included Marvin Hamlisch, Rupert Holmes, Douglas Post, Michael John LaChiusa, Stephen Clark and Rebecca Gilman. Rebecca Gilman had her first play produced at Circle Theatre before becoming one of America's leading playwrights. Notable supporters have included Harry Connick, Jr. and Russell Crowe.
Public libraries 
The Forest Park Public Library is located at 7555 Jackson Boulevard. The current library building opened on October 8, 1995. It covers 26,400 square feet (2,450 m2) over two levels and is completely accessible in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is spacious and comfortable, with more seating and study areas, along with a meeting room, a youth activity room and computer room. The total cost of the building was projected to be $3,295,000, including construction, site improvements, furnishings, computer and security systems, professional and financing costs and contingencies. The funding comes from the Imber Fund, now grown to $900,000, a State of Illinois Construction Grant of $250,000, General Obligation Bonds for $2.9 million and interest income.
Forest Park Middle School is the middle school here.
Notable people 
See also 
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Forest Park village, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- "Forest Park Terminal". Chicago L.org. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places - Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- PDF (39.1 KiB). U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed 2007-04-11.
- "Post Office Location - FOREST PARK." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
- "Saint Bernadine Parish". Saint Bernadine Parish. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Ferrara-Pan Candy Company". Ferrara-Pan Candy Company. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Matt Hucke. "Concordia and Altenheim Cemeteries". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Forest Home and German Waldheim Cemeteries". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Gravesite-Mike Todd". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Jewish Waldheim cemeteries". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Woodlawn Cemetery". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- "Woodlawn Cemetery sign". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Showmen's Rest I". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Showmen's Rest II". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- "Concordia Cemetery, Forest Park, IL website". Concordia Cemetery. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Matt Hucke. "Haymarket Monument-Forest Home Cemetery". Matt Hucke. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- "Forest Park". Jazz Age Chicago. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- "WNBA history". Zecom Communications. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
- Poplawska, Anna. Forest Park turns 100-again!. Forest Park Review. Printed 2007-08-28. Accessed 2007-09-03.
- "Forest Park History". Forest Park.net. Retrieved 9 December 2010. (PDF)
- "In 1985, Karen Skinner, Wayne Buidens and Joseph Bass founded Circle Theatre with the mission of making exciting theatre available to the western suburbs of Chicago. They chose the name "Circle Theatre"." "About Us-Circle Theatre". Circle Theatre. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- "Awards-Circle Theatre". Circle Theatre. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- "Contact Us." Forest Park Public Library. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Forest Park, Illinois|
- Village of Forest Park official website
- "Forest Park, IL" at Encyclopedia of Chicago
- Forest Park School District 91
- Forest Park History