Above / Things are looking up around every corner in Naperville. Enjoy a stroll of the Riverwalk, note all the progress along the Water Street District and be mindful of the lessons learned by all the signs around town in the N.E.W.S.
UPDATE, Feb. 16, 2017 / Inspired to update this post by all the talk of Presidents Day, we contacted Curator of Research Bryan Ogg at Naper Settlement for a photo of “anything local and presidential.”
The researcher and archivist who also writes a monthly column for PN provided this 1939 photo of the original Pre-Emption House when it was located at Chicago Avenue and Main Street in downtown Naperville. (Where Sullivan’s Steakhouse is now.) Today the re-creation of the Pre-Emption stands at Webster and Aurora Avenue, serving as the gateway to Naper Settlement, the city’s outdoor history museum.
Note the image of Honest Abe on the large sign over the door that proclaims, “One of Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Stops Built in 1831. From the door above, he spoke to our forefathers.”
According to Ogg, sometime between 1931 and 1946 local lore began circulating that Lincoln spoke on the porch of the Pre-Emption House. Ogg continues to seek evidence of truth in that legend so he can embrace Lincoln’s visit as fact.
FYI: A traveling exhibit is opening this week at Naper Settlement. Freedom, A History of U.S., comes from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History featuring historic documents while illustrating critical figures and events as well as tracing the evolving concept of freedom from founding until 1968.
Among the highlights of the exhibit are a rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence, a printed draft and the official copy of the U.S. Constitution, Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten notes for speeches, and letters by leading figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr.
Original Post, Feb. 12, 2017 / The sun is shining, and if you can imagine leftovers from Saturday’s Chocolate Walk, whiffs of cocoa are attractive in downtown Naperville just two days before Valentine’s Day.
When you come to your senses in real time, venture into Naper Nuts and Sweets along Jefferson Avenue where you’ll feel just like a kid in a candy store. Shoppers will go nuts over a wide range of heart-shaped chocolates, fudge, caramel corn and retro “used-to-be-penny” candy among other sweet treats for valentines of all ages. Naper Nuts & Sweets is open until 8PM today and Monday and until 9PM on Valentine’s Day.
By mid-April, it will be time to fill baskets with jelly beans, marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies…
Happy birthday, Honest Abe, today & next Monday
What’s more, February 12, is also the 208th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
Simply stated, Lincoln was born in Kentucky and lived in Indiana prior to moving to Illinois where he became a lawyer. From 1834 to 1849, he served in and out of politics in Springfield and Washington, D. C., returning to politics in 1854. He was a leader of the Republican Party which was established in 1856 to oppose slavery. In 1861, he began his first term as the 16th U.S. President, the same year the Confederate States proposed to withdraw from the Union, and the Civil War broke out. Lincoln is credited for the memorable phrase “Government of the people, by the people and for the people,” an excerpt from his Gettysburg Address in 1863. He was assassinated in 1865.
Today in Downtown Naperville
PHOTO GALLERY / February 12, 2017 / From rows of independent businesses to the new Water Street District where the Dick Tracy sculpture is still undercover, downtown Naperville continues to be a happening destination where Canada geese fly to roost and honk atop the Naperville Municipal Center.
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2017 Presidents Day is February 20
In a nutshell, Presidents Day is celebrated annually on the third Monday in February, giving local schools and some government agencies a three-day weekend. For 2017, Presidents Day is Mon. Feb. 20.
Officially established in 1968 to honor the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the holiday law was signed by President Lyndon B Johnson and the third-Monday date for Presidents Day was selected since it coincides closest with Washington’s birth date on February 22.
Prior to 1968, the holiday was held on February 22 in many states.
Certainly, most folks recognize Washington as the first U.S. President. Born in Virginia in 1732, Washington served against the French in the Seven Years War. When conflict between the British government and the Americans over taxation came to a head, Washington led as a successful general, leading troops to victory at Yorktown, Pennsylvania, in 1781, essentially ending the war. In 1787, Washington presided over the Philadelphia Convention of 39 men, aiming to formulate the U.S. Constitution. He served as President, limiting himself to two terms from 1789 to 1797. Washington died in 1799.
Four U.S. Presidents born in February
Yet, did you know? Four U.S. Presidents were born in February, even though Lincoln and Washington are the two mentioned to honor on Presidents Day. In addition to Washington and Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and William Henry Harrison share this birthday month.
Born in Virginia on Feb. 9, 1773, William Henry Harrison served as an American military officer and politician prior to being elected the ninth President of the U.S., beginning in 1841. At the time, Harrison was the oldest of any president to win election. On his 32nd day in office, he died of what was believed to be pneumonia, having served the shortest tenure in U.S. Presidential history.
More than a century later on February 6, 1911, Ronald Reagan was born in northern Illinois. Reagan was renowned as a TV actor and movie star prior to his election as Governor of California in 1967. In 1980, Reagan won a Republican presidency, followed in 1984 with a land side victory, serving two terms as the 40th Commander in Chief. Reagan died in 2004.
Signs enhance story-telling in downtown and throughout the city
Signs around town provide many lessons in history. For instance, streets in downtown are named in honor of George Washington, Andrew Jackson (7th U.S. President who led the nation when Naperville was settled by Joseph Naper along the DuPage River back in 1831.), Martin Van Buren (8th U.S. President) and Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. President).
Certainly families in School District 203 are aware that the three junior high schools are named to honor Lincoln, Washington and John. F. Kennedy, the nation’s 35th President from 1961 to 1963.
Here’s hoping folks visit downtown to shop, dine and entertain, mindful of all the signs of history that add to the charm of this city.
Thanks for shopping & dining locally. Put your money where your heart is!
Whenever possible, discover the bright red IndieBound Naperville signs that represent independent merchants amid the blend and mix of all the popular shopping opportunities that dot the local landscape from downtown to many destinations north, east, west and south.
Your local independent business community, no matter where you live, appreciates your support. Moreover, shopping locally helps sustain your quality of life by keeping sales tax revenues in your community for public safety and the other services you’ve come to expect.
Valentine’s Day is a good time to remind residents to put your money where your heart is, right in your own hometown.
Stroll the Naperville Riverwalk. Venture over to Naper Settlement where local history comes alive throughout the 12-acre village. Book tickets at the theater venues and explore the art galleries at North Central College. Think dinner and the show. Make reservations for special occasions.
Enjoy history. Shop locally. Keep moving forward. Look up!
Editor’s Note / Some of the dates and facts were found in the “everyday handbook,” Dictionary of American Politics.