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Celebrate the gifts of time, talent and treasure for generations

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Above /  The large plaque that commemorates the sesquicentennial dedication on Sept. 7, 1981, with recognition of its generous donors is located on the north side of the Riverwalk as the brick path leads toward the Dandelion Fountain.


The fun and fundraising along the city’s natural treasure continue in 2019…

The 4th Annual Riverwalk Duck Race in the DuPage River is slated to begin at 10AM Wed., Aug. 14, 2019. Click here to take a quack at a chance for the grand prize of $1,981 with a five-buck duck!

Then, rain or shine, plan to come on down to the banks of the DuPage River on Aug. 14 to watch the release of up to 2,000 ducks from the footbridge near Centennial Park as they begin their float to the Eagle Street Bridge. And listen to the joyful sounds of all ages cheering in hopes that the little plastic numbered ducky that gets to the finish line first belongs to them!


Original Post, Aug. 13, 2016 / More than 35 years ago, the Naperville community came together to plan the city’s sesquicentennial celebration that would be held in 1981. At the time, the city comprised 22 square miles and the population was 46,602. As the story goes, Naperville’s “Nifty 150” party attracted more than 100,000 spectators to its parade, a reenactment of the arrival of Joseph Naper’s three-day wagon trip from Chicago.

While some proposed parties and the parade, others planned the commemorative gift from the citizens then for future generations to come.

Thirty-five years after its dedication, the Naperville Riverwalk continues to give to its citizens and countless visitors a strong sense of the vibrant and caring community that has been developed here along the banks of the DuPage River.

Throughout the year, dozens of annual charitable events are held along the Riverwalk to benefit the nonprofit needs for social services and the arts.

Pictured above is the granite stone along the first phase of the winding brick path, a showcase of generosity and community spirit that developed the public/private partnership that continues to care for this natural treasure in the heart of the City.

1831-1981

Naperville Sesquicentennial Riverwalk

In recognition of the major donors whose generous contributions helped to build the Riverwalk in honor of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Naperville by Joseph Naper in 1831.

Amoco Foundation, Inc.
City of Naperville
Larry Gregory Family
Bank of Naperville
Bell Laboratories
Burlington Northern Foundation
Donald & Mary Deetsen & Family
Angel, Glink, Diamond, Murphy & Cope
Anonymous
Bell-Page Turner Associates
Walter Boughton
John & Joyce Cass Family
Coldwell Banker
Cock Robin Ice Cream Company
Hal Dickson Family
Mr. & Mrs. Harold E. Moser
Mr. & Mrs. James L. Moser
Nalco Corporation
Charles Vincent George & Associates
Hitchcock Design
Macbee Corporation, G.W. Bangert
Mid-America Federal Savings
John & Pat Greene
Hamer Enterprises, Inc.
Illinois Bell
Charles & Diane Kanney
Gus & Barbara Kapellas
Kenneth & Susan Koranda
Lenert Plumbing, Inc.
Irene & Win Knoch

FOUNDERS

Naperville Area Farmers
Naperville Park District
Naperville Sesquicentennial Commission
Naperville Jaycees
Physicians & Dentists of Naperville
Rotary Club of Naperville
Harold & Eva White

PIONEERS

Nabisco Brands, Inc.
Regency Federal Savings
The Naperville National Bank & Trust Company
Gregory Electric, Inc.
Oliver-Hoffman Corporation
The Sam and Anna Rubin Family
Ralph & Betty Smykal

BUILDERS

Joanne D. & Donald F. Maxwell
Nadelhoffer, Hennessy, Dommermuth & Brestal Law Firm
Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
Naperville Excavatiing Naperville Ready Mix DuKane Precast
Naperville Junior Woman’s Club
Robert J. Peot Family
Angela M. Perry & Family
Emil & Helen Gilbert
The Sun Employees 1981
Toenniges Jewelers, Inc.
Washington Bank & Trust Company of Naperville
The Wehrli Family
West Side Tractor & the Berge Family
Wil-Fred Inc.
Ken & Wilma Wice

Dedicated September 7, 1981, as a lasting commemoration of the Sesquicentennial.

Charles Vincent George & Associates / Design Architect
Hitchcock Design / Landscape


Many gifts that were recognized with medallions along the Riverwalk in 1981 have been replaced with commemorative bricks.


The Naperville Riverwalk since 1981

Since the dedication of the Naperville Riverwalk on Sept. 7, 1981, the winding path has been extended from Eagle Street all the way west to Jefferson Avenue as well as from the Washington Street Bridge to the Hillside Road Bridge.

The extension from Washington to Hillside, known as “Riverwalk 2000,” was supported with gifts of pocket change and commemorative brick sales. Plus, many friends of the Riverwalk gave major donations from $1,000 to $40,000 for flower gardens, trees, park benches, a gazebo, shepherd’s crook lamps and plazas. Jim Moser organized contractors and coordinated the building of the covered bridge.

The Riverwalk 2000 fundraiser led to the establishment of the Riverwalk Foundation in 1997, a nonprofit charitable all-volunteer organization. Its mission is to promote, educate and enhance while serving as a conduit for financial gifts that augment the annual commitments of the City of Naperville and the Naperville Park District to design, build and maintain the Riverwalk. Resources held by the Riverwalk Foundation may be used for special projects and new Riverwalk development identified by the Riverwalk Commission such as Fredenhagen Park and, more recently, the pedestrian path from the Webster Street Covered Bridge to Water Street, and the Jaycees Park.

Fredenhagen Park is a gateway to downtown Naperville, North Central College and the east extension of the Riverwalk as the path heads over the Moser Covered Bridge to follow the DuPage River toward Hillside Road.

In 2003, the property where the Naperville Creamery, Prince Castles, then Cock Robin Ice Cream businesses stood for nearly 70 years was redeveloped into Fredenhagen Park with the clock tower and the Exchange Club Memories Fountain, thanks to a generous arrangement between the Fredenhagen family and the City of Naperville for the Riverwalk. And again, many longtime friends of the Riverwalk stepped up in support of pillars, trees, park benches and gardens to help fund development of the gateway park. And ever since, commemorative bricks with special messages have been purchased for placement on the plaza around the fountain.

Riverwalk Duck Race is begun in 2016 to celebrate 35th anniversary 

While the Riverwalk Foundation has been in its quiet stage for major fundraising since the Fredenhagen Park Campaign, 2016 marked the beginning of the Riverwalk Duck Race, a fun way to raise awareness about the needs and care of the Riverwalk as well as to educate visitors about letting wildlife be wild.  In other words, “Don’t feed the ducks. Take a quack and race them.”

The 4th Annual Riverwalk Duck Race is slated to begin at 10AM Wed., Aug. 14, 2019. Click here to take a quack at a chance for the grand prize of $1,981 with a five-buck duck!

Updated, Aug. 4, 2019

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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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