Village preparing for sesquicentennial

Hinsdale’s 150th anniversary is coming up and a group of village staffers and community members have some big ideas on how to celebrate it.

The village was incorporated on April 1, 1873, and members of the 150th Anniversary Committee hope to commemorate the event in a variety of ways.

One option is to create a new patio on the south side of the Memorial Building, facing Chicago Avenue and Burlington Park.

“We want to reconstruct the plaza, rededicate the plaza as something memorable for the community and also provide opportunities for potential sponsorships,” said assistant village manager Andrianna Peterson, who is leading the planning efforts.

Jeff Valentino of Hollander Design presented three possible concepts for the plaza at the Nov. 16 Zoom committee meeting. Valentino, a Western Springs resident, is doing the work pro bono. He said he enjoys spending time in the village and almost moved here.

“I have always loved this building,” he said. “One of the reasons I love it is it reminds me of the East Coast, where I grew up.”

The plaza and new landscaping would make the building’s entrance more inviting, he said.

“This was always intended to be the front door to Hinsdale,” he said.

The patio’s paver bricks could be inscribed in honor or memory of residents, he noted.

The committee also discussed adding back the roof railing that was at one point removed from the Memorial Building building.

The village’s tentative budget, which has yet to be approved by the village board, has earmarked $96,000 to restore the railing.

Another committee member suggested replacing the fountain in Burlington Park.

“There are a number of ideas that have been brought forth that are what I would call infrastructure related projects,” Peterson said. “Whether or not those are all appropriate for the 150th are something that still needs to be discussed.”

Any work on the Memorial Building, for example, would need to be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission and approved by the village board, she noted.

The village is working to create a comprehensive calendar of activities that will take place during the village’s sesquicentennial year.

The village is considering hosting a fireworks show on or near the summer solstice June 21. The preliminary budget includes $100,000 for 150th events.

Meetings are being held with various groups and agencies in town to coordinate events. For example, the Hinsdale Public Library and Hinsdale Historical Society already have planned programs and/or exhibits on historic homes in town, significant women in village history and other topics.

“I think that’s what it’s all about — trying to encourage everyone to be part of the yearlong activities in whatever manner they want to,” Peterson said.

A new logo also has been created pro bono by a relative of a committee member.

“I can’t say enough about all of the good people who are donating their time and talent to the village to accomplish this,” Peterson said. “It really is a difference maker.”

Peterson said she also hopes residents will keep this landmark anniversary in mind as 2023 approaches.

“There is a lot of work being done to plan for the events for next year and we want people to think about how they might want to be a participant,” she said. “If they want to memorialize a family member during the celebration, there’s probably going to be ways to do that.”

Once the new logo is finalized, the village will start sending out materials about the anniversary.

“People will be seeing more and more about that in these upcoming weeks,” Peterson said.

The Hinsdalean has its own plans to commemorate the village’s 150th anniversary. Starting with the Jan. 5 issue, the paper will devote Page 7 each week to a story or photo related to the village’s history or upcoming anniversary events. The paper also will publish a special section next year.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean