Message from the Publisher


One of the perks of my new job is that I am able to walk through a variety of neighborhoods and get a firsthand look at the different types of homes; Homes in upper class areas and not so good areas, homes in Chicago areas such as Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Austin area, and of course the suburbs. I’ve seen homes that were below street level (never saw that before), mansions in gated communities, tiny homes, huge homes, rows of homes that all look alike and then those that are completely different.

And in case you’re wondering what my new job is, I’m walking dogs professionally. Don’t laugh. First, someone has to do it when a responsible pet owner wants to be sure their dog is taken care of, and second, I’m making very good money! Plus, I’m thoroughly enjoying it which many people can’t say about their jobs. However, I’ll see if I feel the same way after I’ve walked this coming winter in 10 degree weather with a dog that doesn’t want to poop! I can tell you stories… but I’ll save that for another column.

Back to the neighborhoods. What I find most interesting and admire is the architecture. When you are walking, you really get a close look at the different brick work, windows, design and structure of the homes and everything that makes that home unique. My favorites are all the different types of porches – stone porches, wood porches, wrap-around the house porches – all which bring back memories of when people actually took the time to relax and talk to one another.

One neighborhood that I frequently walk in is the Frank Lloyd Wright historical area in Oak Park/River Forest.  The homes are absolutely amazing and if you’ve never seen them or visited the area, go take a look or better yet, take a tour. The architecture, style, beauty is just breathtaking. I’ve walked this area during the day and by night and I’m not sure which I like better, but it’s something to see. My article includes a couple of pictures of a few of the historic homes.

As I walk through each neighborhood and look at the homes, I often wonder who designed the homes, who meticulously laid each brick or framed each 2 x 4. Then I think of who might be living in these homes. Did they always live there? Did they inherit the house? In the case of some of the “mansions”, what do they do for a living to afford living in them?

Although Frank Lloyd Wright is a well-known name in design, the unsung heroes of the building of these homes are the bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, landscapers, even plumbers. Although an architect puts the plans on a piece of paper, it’s these tradesmen that get the job done. They are skilled laborers with an expertise in their craft.

This brings me to the thought of what the future holds if these trades are not continued and passed on to our youth. The Chamber by O’Hare along with Leyden High School will be holding their annual career fair and at that event there will be representatives from the different trades. When I’ve attended in the past, most students simply pass these tables by with barely a glance or interest to find out information. Yet these jobs offer not only paid, on the job training, but an opportunity to learn a highly sought after skill that pays big money.

Before the weather turns too cold, take the time to visit and walk one of these neighborhoods. Or, if you can’t walk, at least drive through. Stop to take a close look at the beauty and history of these homes and be grateful for the skilled craftsmen who created them. You won’t be disappointed.

Well it seems like we went from summer right into winter. We had a late heat wave and then into the 30’s. Only in Chicago can you use air conditioning one moment and heat the next!

November is a time for giving; Giving thanks, giving to charities, contributing to the many food banks that are always in need of food donations. Leyden Family Service food bank is one in need. Next time you shop, pick up a few non-perishable items and drop them off. Every donation is appreciated.

And speaking of Leyden Family Service, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Donna Santoro. She was the CEO of Leyden Family Service in Franklin Park who recently passed away. I got to know Donna while I was mayor and can say she was so dedicated to her job and to the people she served. It was an honor to know her and she will be truly missed. If you are able, please make a contribution to Leyden Family Service at in her memory. Or, as suggested above, bring items to the food bank. Her caring spirit lives on, but her passing leaves a void at Leyden Family Service that will be difficult to fill.



Barbara J. Piltaver, Publisher
People & Places Newspaper