Homewood history

Beards, games and ice cream help local residents celebrate village's history

Raymond Ondrejka of Homewood, with his long, well-tended whiskers, topped a field of five contestants in the beard contest on Sunday, July 22, at the ice cream social on Martin Avenue. The event was a celebration of the village's 125th anniversary of incorporation, and the beard contest was one of several old-fashioned activities designed to harken back to the late 19th century.

Homewood's Places: Take a tour of the buildings and define the village

Edited by Jim Wright
 
Editor’s note: As Homewood celebrates its 125th year as a municipality, the Homewood Historical Society is helping us recall how the village started. This written stroll around town portrays the key places that shaped the town’s early years.
 
Homewood is here because:

Homewood's Places: Take a tour of the buildings and define the village

Edited by Jim Wright
 
Editor’s note: As Homewood celebrates its 125th year as a municipality, the Homewood Historical Society is helping us recall how the village started. This written stroll around town portrays the key places that shaped the town’s early years.
 
Homewood is here because:

Homewood’s early years: The village begins to grow up

After Homewood was incorporated in February 1893, the village board debated for months on the details of construction of a village hall. There was little debate, however, when it came to the question of sidewalks and other improvements.

Feb. 11 is 125th anniversary of Homewood’s incorporation

Although settled in the 1830’s, it took almost 60 years for the area that would eventually become Homewood to officially form a village government. That milestone was reached on Feb. 11, 1893, and so Homewood is celebrating its 125th birthday this year.

New photo history of Homewood goes on sale

Homewood historian Jim Wright's latest book, "Homewood," went on sale Friday, Dec. 1, at several sites in the village, and the timing was not accidental. Wright said he hopes holiday shopping helps boost sales, but the book also arrived just a few weeks before Homewood's 125th anniversary year begins. 

Homewood was part of historic nuclear confrontation

"Thirteen Days in October," a 2000 Kevin Costner movie, chronicled the events in the Kennedy White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the “thirteen days,” Oct. 16-28, 1962, the world came as close to the brink of nuclear war as anytime before or since. Tensions were high throughout the world and in Homewood-Flossmoor, too.

Homewood’s Miller was the ‘Edison’ of roller coasters

John A. Miller is renowned in the amusement ride industry as the “Thomas Edison” of roller coasters and is widely considered as the “father of the modern high-speed roller coaster.” 

Washington Park afire

February marks the 40th anniversary of the largest fire in Homewood history. The fire destroyed the grandstand of Washington Park Racetrack, located on the west side of Halsted Street south of 175th Street.

Older residents probably remember the track and that fateful day. Saturday, Feb. 5, 1977, was a quiet day for the Homewood Fire Department. On-duty firefighters handled no calls during the bitter cold day. Before 11 p.m., the lull came to a wild end.

Century-old Funk's Hall hosted several firsts in Homewood

  Funk's Hall, on the right, as seen in the 1910s looking 
  east on Ridge Road, then Main Street.
(Photos courtesy 
  of the Homewood Historical Society)

 

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