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Friends are celebrating the 35th birthday of the Naperville Riverwalk dedication all year


Above / Celebrate the growth and development of the Naperville Riverwalk every day! The plow in the Farmer’s Plaza along Eagle Street with Moser Tower and the 72-bell Millennium Carillon in the distance are symbolic of Naperville’s rich rural heritage and a look toward the future. Soon this plaza will include a tribute to Cliff Preston for his 35-plus year can-do dedication to the Riverwalk and even more to his hometown, Naperville, Illinois.

Original Post, May 10, 2016 / Happy 35th birthday of the dedication of the Naperville Riverwalk. The date, Sept. 7, 1981, is etched in stone and in the memories of thousands of local residents who share pride and joy in the city’s natural treasure! Enjoy all the seasonal changes!


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Above / The Civic Plaza with the Dandelion Fountain, designed by Charles Vincent (Chuck) George, is one of the most popular gathering places along the Riverwalk three seasons of the year. Soon the spot will reflect holiday cheer near the Santa House. (PN Photo October 8, 2016)

At Webster Street, the Moser Covered Bridge leads south to Naperville Township and the Naperville Municipal Center from Jackson Ave. Headed north, the bridge underwritten by Harold Moser and James Moser goes toward the Dandelion Fountain in the Civic Plaza.

Then a turn east leads to a granite marker along the first phase of the Riverwalk between Webster and Main streets. The large plaque denotes the dedication of the linear park on Sept. 7, 1981, with recognition of the generous can-do spirit of volunteerism and innovation that built the winding path in the heart of Naperville one brick at a time with the volunteer leadership of the Riverwalk Commission.


Above / No matter what the season, the Naperville Riverwalk offers some type of recreation. Just don’t feed the wildlife. Let ducks, geese and all the waterfowl play in the wild. Watch them! Keep them safe from human food.

When folks venture to the lower walkway, signs and stamped messages in the concrete remind folks not to feed wildlife.

Signs throughout the world say “Don’t feed wildlife.” Search online for many reasons to let wildlife be wild.

Write a 35-word Riverwalk memory!

To celebrate the city’s natural treasure, Riverwalk Foundation members welcome 35-word memories and thoughtful reflections about any Riverwalk experience.

For the remainder of the year, the memorable reflections will be posted with stories about the Riverwalk’s first 35 years.

It’s OK to miss the 35-word target by a few words. But try and try again to hit the mark. (One-letter and two-letter words don’t count.) The emphasis is on brief. Please send thoughts and reflections before September 1, 2017, to stephanie@positivelynaperville.com. Simply place “Riverwalk Memory” in the subject line. Thanks!

For starters… a sampling of Riverwalk Reflections received so far

Happy family time

Walks holding little hands

Noontime picnics and singing songs

The “Running Place”

Sunday morning bike rides to the Riverwalk, eating Tasty Bakery donuts

Elation, empowerment, achievement: To participate and finish triathlons

Giving back to my community

Family legacy

Quiet reflections

So blessed

—Jan Erickson


Above / This shelter along the Riverwalk on Eagle Street and others were designed by Chuck George, the first Riverwalk architect. (Note the memory below.)

Ned Becker called saying the City received the remains of the old steel supports from the Burlington passenger weather platforms that were replaced and rusting away in the city’s boneyard. He asked if I thought they could be recycled for some other use. Long story short, those steel supports now are the supporting columns for rain shelters and benches along phases 2 and 3 of Riverwalk.

—Chuck George

The flip side of this letter from Julie Harris reads, “It’s surrounded by Centennial Beach, historic Naperville buildings & park district. It’s great for families to hike & walk the trails, a great place to visit in Naperville. Also, there are fish. And ducks wade in the water.”

My husband’s company moved us to this area 36 years ago. I remember walking along the river and liking the natural feel of the place.  When stories of a “Riverwalk” were circulating,  I thought, “Oh no, it will be too commercial.” When the work started, I heard of “old time Napervillians” volunteering their time, doing whatever needed to be done. Whole families building their dream. And what a dream they had.  Beautiful.

—Vivien Lindsey

“When I first considered to move to Naperville, my new employer immediately took me to the Riverwalk to show me around. He was as proud as a new parent and for good reasons… it’s just beautiful and full of energy.”

—Geoff Roehll

“To me the Riverwalk is Everything! It’s a place of every season, every reason, everyone, every angle and every time of day and every year. It’s for walking, resting, eating, photos, sightseeing with company, playing with grandkids, greeting friends, music and arts shows. How lucky are we to have it for everything!”

—Jo Lundeen

“I enjoy looking at the river, wildlife, trees and plantings that together bring me a sense of emotional peace. Additional people enjoying the area, and the Carillon ringing, further enhance the Riverwalk’s beauty for me.

—Dick Galitz


35 Years Young

Jaycees Marina, a 1984 gift pledge made possible with funds raised by Last Fling. This view was taken from Eagle Street, near the Farmer’s Plaza & Plow.

Community Built.

The crown jewel develops
a lush patina.

Watch water surging
Find sun drenched benches. Making
Memories each time.

Awakening the senses.
Music, bells, ducks and laughter
skim frozen quarries.

Brick pathways adjoin
people and commerce. Vibrant
heart of Naperville.

—Karen Solomon

I have a lifetime of great memories of the time that we lived, worked, played and raised our family in Naperville. Thanks for being part of those memories while we worked together on the Riverwalk Commission.

—Bill Epp

On New Year’s Day 1993, I visited Naperville and the Riverwalk with my cousin, Candyce Krumwiede, for the first time. While she shared the city’s sesquicentennial story, downtown’s grand illumination began to glisten. That instant, I caught the spirit of Naperville.

—Stephanie Penick

We have so many memories, but the best was when our son chose the Riverwalk to propose to our lovely daughter-in-law. Now, as a result, we continue making new memories with our two granddaughters!

—Mary Ann and Paul Junkroski

The winding serpentine brick path can take your imagination back in time.

I sit on a bench along the south end of
the Riverwalk at lunchtime.

Eyes closed, ears open

Listening to the river flow

Imagining what this spot must have
been like hundreds of years ago.

—Bob Ross

For me, every Riverwalk visit is also a walk down memory lane. The Riverwalk was the backdrop to many happy summer walks with my family. I’m glad the same is true for families across Naperville.

—Jeanne M. Buddingh

We moved to Naperville in 1983. We have Riverwalk memories of REACH duck races, walks with family and friends, prom photos, paddle boat and sled hill rides, carillon concerts and Veterans Day tributes. It is Naperville’s crown jewel!

—Ron & Marcia Schild

Envisioned as a heartfelt and homegrown tribute to 150 remarkable years, the Riverwalk became and remains the iconic recreational, environmental and cultural centerpiece of Naperville, a powerful catalyst for it’s extraordinary.

—Rick Hitchcock

The RIVERWALK is Naperville. Vision, Volunteers and Volunteers and Value / Ideas, Innovation and Initiative / Generous, Giving and Genuine. These are the words made into reality in the creation of our beloved Riverwalk. Together, the SPIRIT of NAPERVILLE lives.

—John Harvard

I grew up in Downers Grove and married (Sally) into Naperville. One thing that has always impressed me is the generosity in time, labor, money and leadership that Naperville citizens show. Naperville (illians) don’t sit around talking, waiting for others to do it. I truly believe that’s why Naperville consistently has been ranked one of the best cities in which to live and raise a family.

—John Cuff

riverwalk 2000 Rotarians

Above / Ed Channell (far right next to Rita Harvard) and Glen Ekey (between Gene Drendel and Peg Price) were chairmen of the Riverwalk 2000 campaign, launched in 1996 to extend the brick path from Washington to Hillside. This photo of local Rotarians was taken at the groundbreaking for Rotary Plaza near the Cock Robin property, now Fredenhagen Park.

One of my proudest moments came when Rita Harvard asked me to chair the fundraising campaign for Fredenhagen Park. As she laid out her plan, I raised my hand and said, “Rita, I’m still tired from the Riverwalk 2000 fundraiser. Whenever I walk down the street, friends approaching me clutch their wallets or change sides.”

 —Ed Channell

Ducks. Senior Pictures. Holding hands. Dance Pictures. Labyrinth.  Fall colors. Nature.  Peaceful. Family Walks. Tranquility. Laughing. Family time.  Friends.  Fish.  Flooding.  Santa’s workshop. Picnic. Library Storytime.  Sculptures.  Puddle jumping.  Expansion. Music.  First Dates. Escape. Glistening Sun. Art Fair. Hot Dog Man.  Water play. Wishing fountain. New Cafe. Paddle Boats. Relaxation. Calming. Exercise.

 —John, Erika and Lauren Wood

 “Beautiful, natural, calm, peaceful, enticing, family friendly.  The Naperville Riverwalk, our community.”

—Leah Krauskopf

The Naperville Riverwalk gives me peace to think about and understand things, thus leaving me with a clear mind and the inspiration to tackle challenges which lay ahead, I enjoy my time on the Riverwalk.

—Rajveer Sokhey

The Naperville Riverwalk is a little slice of heaven, of nature right in the middle of a busy business district. I love escaping for a walk, especially in the middle of winter!

—Kandice Henning

What are your Riverwalk memories in approximately 35 words? Please send to Stephanie@positivelynaperville.com and place “Riverwalk Memory” in the subject line.  Thanks a bunch!

Another Poetic Riverwalk Reflection

As I sit outside City Hall and watch the river flow by

My gaze turns to the left where the river comes from…

And I think about the visionaries from days gone by

And admire the courage of conviction of Rybicki, Moser and others.

The river sweeps gently in front of me now…

I notice the smiles, the hand-holding and the laughter of all those that enjoy the Riverwalk today.

It’s Naperville’s pride and joy. Our hallmark. Our crown jewel.

But that’s today. For we have the responsibility for tomorrow.

The river flows gently by and I follow it as it turns south under the bridge.

And with it goes my thoughts to the Riverwalk we don’t see yet.

Its peals of laughter and music! Soaring high from Harmony Park,

Just across the river from North Central’s Athletic Complex.

And I love the Hillside Ave. Riverwalk Preserve with its natural herb gardens,

Wild grasses and seasonal fragrances.

And, look, there goes a young family floating by in their Riverwalk tubes,

Most likely off to the Edward Boat House and their heart-healthy ice cream.

Yes. This may be the Riverwalk of tomorrow. Do you see it?

—Riverwalk Commissioner John Joseph, Riverwalk Commission Meeting, March 8, 2017


Celebrate the gifts of time, talents and treasure for generations

Editor’s Note / In collaboration with the City of Naperville, the Naperville Park District and private citizens, the function of the Riverwalk Commission is to promote, encourage and guide the development and use of the Riverwalk, a beautiful, linear park located in downtown Naperville along the DuPage River. The Riverwalk is just steps from shopping and dining, Nichols Library, North Central College and Naper Settlement.

This page will be updated as new reflections are submitted. Thank you for your thoughts.

Last Updated, April 10, 2017. 

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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