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Greetings to PN / August 2017 / Vol. 16, No. 12


Above / The book bench depicting “Where the Sidewalk Ends” marks the spot of the rededication of the Century Walk mural coming soon to the corner of Webster and Jefferson in downtown Naperville.

To PN & the Media / Century Walk Corporation will rededicate mural

Check out the finishing touches.


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Century Walk Corporation & The Naperville Public Library will host a rededication of the “Man’s Search for Knowledge Through the Ages” brick relief at 4PM Wed., Aug. 16, at Nichols Public Library.

—W. Brand Bobosky, Century Walk

Editor’s Note / In an out-of-control instant last summer, a vehicle accidentally hit the brick wall of a Century Walk work of art at the southwest corner of Webster and Jefferson, damaging the work so much that it’s taken Century Walk officials and artist Dodie Mondero a year to restore it to its original brilliance. The brick relief is among four works of story-telling art exhibited on the corners that mark the property of Nichols Library built in 1986 in downtown Naperville.

Reply to PN’s ‘What Does Old Nichols Library Say to You?’

The original Nichols Library building, completed in 1898, still stands for strength of the community.

Having grown up on the west side of Naperville in the 60s and 70s, and recalling many visits to Nichols Library, I think of Nichols Library when I consider what building best represents Naperville.

My mother (both parents graduated NCC 1944) worked at Nichols Library during school and after graduation. Communities need to preserve buildings–homes, businesses and churches–that teach the history of the community. The buildings provide an added dimension to the strength of the community and give cohesion to one’s understanding of what Naperville is.

Tearing down the library and then rebuilding the facade as part of a gargantuan project is simply trying to pacify the people of Naperville with a poor substitute. Having recently read more about the history of the library and Mr. Nichol’s goals only further cements that belief.

Nichols Library represents the community’s emphasis on education and learning. And the city would consider its destruction for nothing more than financial gain–certainly for the city’s tax base, but especially for the developer.

No, let’s preserve Nichols Library and honor its role in Naperville’s history.

—Marjie Berens

Editor’s Note / A Save Old Nichols Open House from 7 to 8:30PM Mon., Aug. 14,  welcomes the community to learn the history about the significant structure located at 110 S. Washington Street and why folks are appealing to the developer to save the historic building from demolition.

Reply to PN’s ‘What Does Old Nichols Library Say to You?’

NWC Clubhouse was built in 1899.

Naperville has many ornate and beautiful buildings we have lived here to love. And many (of the old buildings) are meaningful even to a lot of newcomers. The Old Nichols Library with our beloved Madie Egermann was right up the street from our wonderful Naperville Woman’s Club which gets rented out to churches, showers, parties, reunions, you name it. Hopefully, we can keep a little of history that Our Forefathers gave us and continue to mix the new with the old. Thank you!

—Ann Wehrli Jansen

Editor’s Note / The landmark “Old Stone Church,” the home of Naperville Woman’s Club, is located at 14 S. Washington Street in downtown Naperville.

A Save Old Nichols Open House from 7 to 8:30PM Mon., Aug. 14,  welcomes the community to learn about another significant structure just south of the Naperville Woman’s Club.

To PN: Naperville Jaycees introduce Hack the Jack Pumpkin Carving Contest

Sample art… Good gourd!

I thought this might be a good fit for Positively Naperville, so I wanted to reach out to give you plenty of notice…

The Naperville Jaycees has partnered with several local resources to bring the first pumpkin carving contest to Naperville this October. This isn’t just any pumpkin carving contest, they’re going BIG!

We’d love to share this story with your readers and help spread the word about the first fundraiser of this kind in our town!

Thanks for your consideration. (Tickets, $5 each, for Hack the Jack voting during All Hallow’s Eve at Naper Settlement Oct. 20-22 can be purchased online at www.naperjaycees.org/hackthejack where you’ll also find complete information, sponsorship opportunities and how nonprofits can benefit from Hack the Jack’s unique promo code system.)

Winners will be announced during the Fall Festival at Naperville Plaza on October 28, 2017.

—Leah Margulies, Naperville Jaycees

To PN / Open Letter to the Community regarding Old Nichols Library

Signs planted along 110 S. Washington Street provide the times of public hearings that could determine the fate of Old Nichols Library.

The people that sat on the city council of Naperville in the early 1980s are long gone from public service. Their public acts, legislation, and ordinances remain behind for us to deal with in our daily lives. Most of the decisions they made are ones we can live with and enhance our daily lives. Some of those decisions were destructive. The sale of the Old Nichols Library falls into that category.

The will of James L. Nichols still exists, which bequeathed monies to the city to build the library. So, too, do the minutes of the 1897 Naperville city council where they accepted the donation and stated that: “the ‘Nichols Library’; said building, when erected, to be used for a public reading room and library by the inhabitants of said city…and remain in the city in trust for the purposes herein specified…”  There was no time frame set on this mandate. The mandate still remains intact and the moral position is to take back that which the city improperly sold in the 1990s.

Every person would agree that the Nichols Library agreement would have been violated if the building had been sold a year after it was built. We maintain that the passage of an additional 118 years doesn’t absolve the City of a moral dilemma.

Back in the 1990s, the majority of us were in very different positions in our lives. Some of us had not yet come to Naperville, many of us were in the middle of raising our families and that took precedence over all else, and most of us were unaware of the sale of this building. We were unaware.

The City, though, was aware of what it was doing when it sold the Nichols Library. The City knew that it violated a public trust and abdicated its sworn statements of 1897 and breached its responsibility to the citizens of Naperville.  Old Nichols Library was not given to Naperville to do with it as Naperville pleases. Old Nichols Library was given to the People of Naperville and the City of Naperville was to hold it in trust for them. The documentation exists and now thanks to the preservation battle that is now raging, everyone knows it. They violated that trust and the good faith of Napervillians past and present.

No sentient individual wants to see this landmark by M.E. Bell destroyed. Bell is a contemporary of Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, Dankmar Adler, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Bell is listed on the north face of the spire of the Washington Monument. Bell was known for his Richardson Romanesque style of architecture and produced many government buildings in this style.

I would hold Mayor Chirico to his commitment to buy the “beautiful and historic building” back and repurpose the structure so it could be included on the tax rolls. There are resources available that can and would help him in this area.  Please use the resources and willingness to help of the group of preservationists who are fighting to save this beautiful building. We all want it saved and to be a useful structure for the city. Preservation and usefulness are not mutually exclusive!

 —Lloyd Rakosnik, Naperville Resident

Editor’s Note / A Save Old Nichols Open House from 7 to 8:30PM Mon., Aug. 14,  welcomes the community to explore positive possibilities. Old Nichols is an historic significant structure in Naperville that’s also an American architectural treasure with attractive world-renown potential and prominence. It’s much more than a house of wonderful memories for longtime residents who loved literature and visiting the library.

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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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