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Naperville
Monday, August 15, 2022

The Cock Robin Project

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This past July, Positively Naperville began producing Cock Robin t-shirts and the familiar bird has evoked many nostalgic memories throughout the community.

PN has heard some great tales over the past few months. We learned of a group that would travel by canoe on the DuPage River to eat at Cock Robin, what is now Fredenhagen Park, at a place they called “The Naperville Yacht Club.”

PN has received phone calls from Arkansas and Texas from former employees reminiscing about their high school jobs. After one reader saw the iconic logo, he said, “That’s where my grandparents first met.”

Cock Robin is woven into the fabric of Naperville’s cultural geography.

Cultural geography helps to define how people and things interact and move with one another within a geographic area. People, goods, and services can be influenced by the weather, climatic conditions, language, history, natural resource, sensory perception and cultural phenomena.

Culturally speaking, in Chicago, residents from the Southside are generally Sox fans. Those from the Northside like the Cubs. It is most likely due to the proximity to each Side’s respective ballpark and the team they were taught to cheer for by parents.

Cock Robin has sold millions of steak burgers, french fries and milk shakes. And, culturally speaking, there are some good reasons why.

Hamburgers, as we know them today, were the common street food of Hamburg, Germany—a few hundred years back. The er is possessive in food-translation-speak.

Naperville was settled by many German immigrants bringing their old world traditions with them.

The Midwest shares a similar continental climate with Germany. Drastic changes in seasons, the extremes in hot and cold temperatures and diets are dominated by meat (beef), root vegetables, and potatoes.

Cock Robin evokes many nostalgic memories between family and friends.

The Cock Robin Project is in its infancy. And, its mission is to preserve Cock Robin’s contribution of cultural geography, as a local institution, to future generations of Napervillians.

Over the next several months, Positively Naperville will begin collecting stories and accounts of Cock Robin memories. We are in the process of creating an interactive online archive where readers can submit Cock Robin stories, images and their favorite ice cream flavor.

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.

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