VISIT FOREST PARK
Twenty minutes away from downtown Chicago and worth every second.
An eclectic mix of locally-owned boutiques and specialty shops plus world-class restaurants and eateries provides a great experience for everyone. Unique community events, recreational opportunities and a generous choice of housing options make Forest Park a great place to live, work and play. The historical society, village and residents strive to preserve a rich and distinctive history. Original cobblestone streets can still be found throughout the village, and cemeteries along the outskirts are home to many historically significant individuals in the area.
Located just ten miles west of downtown Chicago, the Village of Forest Park is a vibrant, active, diverse community that is rich in history and small-town charm.
TO REACH FOREST PARK
The Oak Park Area offers a wide range of hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts to meet your travel needs. To find out more information, Click on a listing name below.
POINTS OF INTEREST
16″ SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME
The 16-Inch Chicago Softball Hall of Fame honors both men and women-players, historic teams, organizers, managers and umpires who since the 1920s have exemplified excellent 16-inch softball talent, sportsmanship, and set a precedent for future generations. For 47 years, the Park District of Forest Park plays host to the annual No Glove Nationals.
FERRARA PAN CANDY
Lemonheads, Atomic Fireballs, Now & Later and Chuckles are part of the line-up of treats both classic and current that Ferrara Candy Company has brought together. Originally a family-owned business, Ferrara Candy Company has evolved into a booming, Chicago-based confectionary powerhouse after its merger with Farley and Sathers. Don’t forget to visit the Ferrara Outlet Store right here in Forest Park.
SAINT BERNADINE CATHOLIC CHURCH
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 American-German Old People’s Home opened in 1885 and the original Victorian building is still in use. Over the years several popular Hollywood movies scenes were shot at the Altenheim including: Harry and Tonto (Art Carney and Geraldine Fitzgerald); The Package (Gene Hackman); The Babe (John Goodman). Also on the grounds of this independent senior living community is its own historic cemetery.
Once know as the Village of Cemeteries, Forest Park’s cemeteries are home to some significant historical people in the area and house more ‘residents’ than the actual village does by a ratio of 30 to 1.
FOREST HOME CEMETERY
Previously known as German Waldheim Cemetery, Forest Home is Cemetery is the burial place for the Haymarket martyrs whose memorial has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Forest Home is also the resting place for evangelist Billy Sunday, Ernest Hemingway’s parents and grandparents, Illinois State song composer Charles Chamberlain and gypsy kings and queens.
Five elephant statues mark the boundaries of Showmen’s Rest, a plot of 750 gravesites at Woodlawn Cemetery. The elephant statues mark the site of a mass grave of over 56 Hagenbeck-Wallace circus employees who were killed on June 22, 1918, when an empty troop train piloted by a napping engineer plowed into the four rear sleeping cars of the circus train near Hammond, Indiana.
BETH AARON JEWISH CEMETERY
Under his original name Avrom Goldbogen, Mike Todd, producer of theater and film and the third husband of Elizabeth Taylor are both buried in Beth Aaron Cemetery. Goldbogen’s funeral was one of the largest Forest Park has ever seen, and Elizabeth Taylor visited the cemetery each year in March.
Concordia Cemetery is the resting place for many of the victims of the Eastland Disaster of 1915, known as Chicago’s worst tragedy in terms of loss of life. Early in the morning of July 24, 1915, employees of the Western Electric Company, along with many of their family members and friends, boarded the Eastland moored at its dock on the south bank of the Chicago River between LaSalle and Clark Streets. The passengers were to travel by steamer to Michigan City, Indiana to attend the company’s annual picnic. The vessel was top heavy and with a large crowd amassed on the port side railing of the top deck to bid farewell, the Eastland capsized, throwing many of it’s 2,500 passengers into the river while trapping numerous others underwater below deck. All told, 844 lost their lives, predominantly women and children encumbered by heavy clothing.