La Grange is easy to call home. My wife Dorothy & I have called it home
for almost 30 years. I don’t think we planned it that way. It’s not that our new
neighbors were old, but when they introduced themselves they asked when our
parents would get home. Our new, old house needed work & we had a plan.
Fix it and forget it. Get on to the next level.
A funny thing happened as we worked on the house; we fell in love with La Grange. It was pretty nice having neighbors with basements full of tools and experience fixing old houses. What a way to take a break from a weekend
chore by walking to Horton’s (or Hines or Crafty Beaver) then stopping at
Palmer’s (or Nick’s or Magic Wok) for lunch. Every morning we would race to the train together, usually with no time to waste. The walk home however - that
could take hours. Many days the trip included stopping at the library or to chat with neighbors. If you saw a front porch full of friends, you knew a party was about to break out.
Within months of moving to town people had reached out to us for help. Dorothy on the Plan Commission and I on the Heritage and Architecture Commission. The village was in transition. The state wanted to widen La Grange Road right through our most historic homes. The village didn’t own what is now our town
hall, and Lyons Township was planning to sell the building as a tear down. A 1970s era “urban mall” on Calendar Court was a visual and economic disaster.
Residents and businesses came together and worked to save, restore and protect our unique village character and spirit. A Main Street program was developed and later merged with streetscape and a design overlay zoning district to protect our
downtown architecture. Our historic homes were recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The village purchased and renovated the town
hall building which has become an icon of La Grange. Calendar Court was restored to traffic and has become our 2nd Main Street. And, the entire town worked together to successfully petition the state not to widen La Grange Road.
Before Dorothy & I knew it, we had not just fixed up an old house, we had made a home. 3 children, swimming, soccer, Brownies, Guides and Princesses, band & theater were our world. We have enjoyed every minute from that same house we bought almost 30 years ago. We have now “fixed it” 3 times. We will never forget it.
I am a candidate for La Grange Village Trustee in the April 9th election. I am running with Mark Langan & Bill Holder because together we share a respect for the hard work and community spirit that make La Grange unique.