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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The History Detective – Blueprint for prosperity


Does anyone remember the small bronze plaque formerly on the east side of the 1962 addition to Nichols Library?

The plaque read, “Tulip trees donated in memory of Joseph Stoos and Robert Van Adestine May 27, 1979.”

The plaque and the two large tulip trees (Liriodendrum tulipifera) have since been removed, but the memories of Stoos and Van Adestine are not forgotten. Both men served on the Nichols Library board and must have contributed greatly to receive such an honor.

Van Adestine was a Principal at Naperville High School, a director and statistician for the Little Seven Conference and later the Upstate Eight Conference (high school sports and extracurricular competitive leagues). He was a member of the Congregational Church and an active member in the Naperville Rotary. Robert Van Adestine died on May 27, 1977, three days after Joseph Stoos.

Joseph Stoos was born in Naperville and lived on his family farm west of Mill and south of I-88. Stoos’ first wife, Juanita Engstrand was a librarian in Pekin and DeKalb before her marriage to Joseph. Her brother, Stuart David Engstrand “tried vegetable growing on a ten acre tract that is part of the Joseph Stoos eighty acre farm” where he wrote the first chapter of his 1937 farming novel, The Invaders. Juanita died in 1942. Then Joseph married Gunvor Johannesen. Stoos was a renaissance man. He was an electrical engineer and inventor with the Delta-Star Electric Company in Chicago. He published articles in electric lighting and geological journals. Stoos was a member and one-time president of the Naperville Drama Club where he often painted scenery for productions. His hand-drawn Christmas cards are an example of his engineering and artistic talents.

Although the trees and plaque are gone, the spirit of these men and their service to Nichols Library and the community of Naperville will long be remembered

Happy Holidays, Naperville. May your end-of-year celebrations and reflections be merry and your 2019 bright and happy.

Images courtesy of Jean Tannery Chastain

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Bryan Ogg
Bryan Ogg
Bryan Ogg is a local historian and curator of local legend, stories and lore.

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