Park Ridge Historical Society pitches Solomon Cottage move
The Park Ridge Historical Society has presented a proposal for saving Solomon Cottage at the Park Ridge Youth Campus.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:51AM
PARK RIDGE — With development still a future prospect for the former Park Ridge Youth Campus site, members of the Park Ridge Historical Society have identified a way to save the building that has been the society’s headquarters for the past three years.
Speaking to the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate, Historical Society President Paul Adlaf and Treasurer Kirke Machon rolled out a plan that would involve moving the 104-year-old Solomon Cottage, at 721 N. Prospect Ave., to a northern section of the campus that the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District is interested in purchasing for open space and recreational activities. The cottage is now located on the southwest corner of the property, which is proposed for development of single-family homes.
Adlaf and Machon said the proposal calls for the Historical Society to fund the cost of relocating the building onto Park District-owed property directly to the north. That is dependent upon the Park District’s agreeing to the plan, placing a bond referendum on the April 2013 ballot and voters’ approval. Under a tentative agreement with the prospective developer there would be no cost for the building itself, Adlaf and Machon said, and the proposal is for the Historical Society to own the structure and open it as a history center showcasing various elements of Park Ridge’s past.
“It’s the perfect size for a history center,” Adlaf said. “And once it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s worth the effort.”
Machon added: “We’re envisioning a proper foundation and basement because we have a lot of items around town that have been stored. We would like to consolidate in our headquarters things we have accumulated over the years.”
No financing from the Park District or taxpayers would be used, Machon said.
Adlaf called Solomon cottage “the most historical building on the Youth Campus grounds.” Funded by businessman Julius Rosenwald, of Sears Roebuck & Company, it was the first cottage built on the site in 1908 and was named for Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, who according to the Youth Campus led a financial-reorganization effort of the Illinois Industrial School for Girls, as the Youth Campus was once known, and served on the school’s board. She was also the founder and first president of the National Council of Jewish Women.
A document outlining the Historical Society’s proposal for Solomon Cottage was presented to the Park District on Aug. 16, Machon said, but the Park Board met in closed session, so no public discussion was heard.
Gayle Mountcastle, executive director of the Park District, said she mentioned the Historical Society’s proposal to the board briefly and indicated that it would be discussed by the Park Board “when the time was right.”