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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wish Des Plaines a Happy Birthday!

In my last post, I informed you of Des Plaines' almost unpronounceable milestone, the demisemiseptcentennial - the 175th anniversary of our city. So, if you were going to give a toast or send Des Plaines a birthday card, what highlights would stand out for you? If you were throwing the party and wanted everyone to rise from their chair and praise some quality or trait of the birthday girl, where would you begin?

Here's your chance. Julie Andrews-like, I'm going to list a few of my favorite things about Des Plaines. I invite you to do the same in the comments section here. They can be memories of days gone by, traditions and places that have stood the test of time, even dreams for the future. One doesn't get to be a grande dame of 175 years by resting on one's laurels, so let's give the lady her due.

I'm biased but I think it's wonderful that there's been a public library in this community for more than half of those 175 years. (102, going on 103) I do wish I could have seen Des Plaines' original Carnegie library, as those are often really cool buildings with neat architectural elements. That being said, when I arrived at the current library building for my job interview three years ago, talk about WOW factor. You had me at "Enter Here."

I'm a big fan of little details: the friendly reminders on the flashing sign at Damiano Diesel Service on River Road (currently telling you to say "Please" and "Thank you"), the old-fashioned glitz of the Des Plaines Theatre facade and the Sugar Bowl sign;  the big, leafy trees that line so many of the residential streets; church bells tolling out a hymn as I walk to my car on a quiet winter night; the ethnic diversity of the restaurants and elbowing into the crowds for some kolacky at Shop N' Save; the sweaty, smiling faces lining the curb for the 4th of July parade and walking the path at Relay For Life.

I like that I can get both a cheeseburger and a "pup" (hot dog) in Paradise without ever leaving town. I like to admire the monuments and statues at All Saints Cemetery for a different view of "paradise" - some day I'll be brave enough to talk a walk through! I like that there is always something happening outside my window on a given day - a plane overhead, a rumbling train, a thunderstorm, a traffic jam, kids on bikes and babies in strollers, dogs barking and birds chirping. (Occasionally a cicada to break things up.)

How about you? What makes this city special for you? You won't be around for the semiseptcentennial (350th anniversary) so this is your golden opportunity. Leave a comment below.

Des Plaines historic photo courtesy of the "Pleasant Family Shopping" blog by "Dave." Cicada photo by me, outside my window here at DPPL, summer 2007.


  1. One of my favorite things in Des Plaines is Lake Park and Lake Opeka. As soon as the weather breaks the park is loaded with people enjoying a picnic, walking the trails, playing golf, or sailing a boat. It's a beautiful area, no matter what the season.

  2. My favorite things in Des Plaines are the library, historical society, senior center, and the senior center Thrift Shoppe. The best things about these things are the wonderful, friendly people in the! Thanks to you all.

  3. My favorite thing about Des plaines is the community feeling that it has. I like seeing my friends and neighbors at the grocery store, restaurants, the Fourth of July parade and of course, here at the library!

  4. We have loved living here for more than three decades. Great neighbors, great schools, great city services (prompt snow plowing, leaf removal), a fabulous park district, and world-class library. It's affordable, mostly crime-free, and close to all highways and public transportation.


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