Dozens Uninjured at City Hall Rally

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Dozens of participants were unscathed and numerous bystanders were left feeling unsatisfied at the lack of turmoil during a rally outside of City Hall on Sunday, the first large-scale demonstration of its kind on Elmhurst soil since the failed “March for North Elmhurst Sidewalks” in 1978.

Marred by poorly-constructed signage, novice marching skills and the absence of a memorable chant, approximately 40 local members of the progressive group Action for a Better Tomorrow (ABT) were left mostly unchallenged as they paid vigil to Charlottesville, VA, victims with a peaceful gathering that was highlighted by participants waving their handmade signs and imploring drivers to honk their car horns.  

“I wasn’t sure how people would react to us being here,” said organizer Lori Valentine, drinking a lukewarm root beer with an insufficient amount of ice that she purchased at Hamburger Heaven before the 5:00 p.m. start of the rally. “But people have been mostly supportive of what we are doing.”

On the heels of a smaller vigil held at the same location the night before, local ABT members covertly organized “Operation: Spontaneous Gathering” within their maximum security Facebook Group with the intent of showing that Elmhurst cares about the national tragedy that unfolded over the weekend.

“This is my first rally, and I’m a little disappointed at the lack of excitement out here,” said Elmhurst resident and rally participant Larry Sutter, holding a sign with “End Hate” scribbled below an Abt logo that is clearly a trademark infringement on the independent electronics and major appliance retailer in Glenview, Illinois. “I almost wore my Cubs helmet here tonight in case things started to get out of hand.”

While a police presence was limited to the appearance of one parking enforcement officer who drove by the scene and subsequently ticketed four vehicles in the City Hall parking lot for expired city stickers, things became tense for a short period of time when nearly all 57 residents of Elmhurst 255 Downtown Apartments wandered out of the building and walked down the street to see what was going on.

“That’s when I was hoping the action would start,” said Elmhurst Patch reporter Joe Carlton, who stated that the only other high point of the event was when he witnessed a rally participant with a damaged sign shout a profanity after walking over to West Suburban Office Products and realizing that the store was closed. “Overall, this is kind of boring. I think I’ll just run with the story about the liquor store robbery in Joliet for tomorrow’s Elmhurst edition.” 

At press time, customers and employees inside of Rainbow Restaurant were seen hiding on the floor in fear after rally participants began marching over to the diner for a late meal following the conclusion of the rally.

Elmhurst Crumbles Under the Weight of ‘Spring Fever’

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – Record-breaking weather unleashed by Mother Nature this weekend upon the unsuspecting and unprepared residents of Elmhurst wreaked havoc throughout town on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as citizens and businesses struggled with unseasonably warm temperatures, bright sunshine, and a city-wide epidemic of “Spring Fever” in the middle of February.

Hundreds of potential customers were reportedly left feeling hungry and frustrated at Hamburger Heaven on Friday afternoon, as window replacement activity outside the legendary food stand known for burgers, root beer, and speeding 80,000-pound semi-trailer trucks whizzing by within arm’s length of the pick-up window inadvertently gave passersby the impression that it was open for business.

On the city’s west side, resident Brenda Rose told reporters on Saturday that she was still recovering from a terrifying event at her home that took place earlier that morning, where she struggled for more than 20 minutes to locate her son’s lightweight North Face Mack Mays Full Zip Hoodie, which was lost in a sea of winter North Face Triclimate jackets, North Face Himalayan parkas and North Face Thermoball vests hanging in his walk-in closet. Rose was further distraught after learning that two of her three children had already stepped in dog feces within ten minutes of playing in the family’s River Glen Avenue backyard.

Along the Prairie Path, drivers and path users reported a temporary loss of vision on both Saturday and Sunday as bicyclists, walkers, and joggers blinded each other throughout the day with their winter-white legs. Victims were treated with water and shade and were later released to continue their activities.

On Sunday evening, Bryan Street homeowner Tony Guidry summed up the mayhem in Elmhurst caused by three consecutive days of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60’s.

“I was really looking forward to shooting the puck around with my kids this weekend,” said Guidry, who also owns the property next to his house, where he built a 125-foot by 50-foot hockey rink back in December that is clearly not a membrane structure nor a potential contributor to flooding and is surely covered by his homeowners insurance policy. “I didn’t build this thing for my kids to play soccer in the month of February.  So we’re all praying that Elmhurst can return to normal weather before people lose their minds.”

According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in Elmhurst is expected to be 66 degrees both Monday and Tuesday.

Ask an Elmhurst Historian

Lifelong resident and local historian Marge Beamer answers questions from readers about the history of Elmhurst.



Q:  My grandfather told me that the cops in Elmhurst have been conducting “safety checks” for decades.  Is he right?
  He sure is!  Elmhurst was one of the first police departments in the country to conduct safety checks as a waste of police resources.  This 1966 photo of York at Schiller Street in downtown Elmhurst shows a police officer looking for impaired drivers and jaywalkers on a Saturday morning.



Q:  I read somewhere that Hamburger Heaven used to be called something else.  What was it called?
“Hamburger Purgatory” opened in May of 1948.  After dismal sales during the first two years of business, the name was changed in 1950 to “Hamburger Heaven”.  Out of spite, the owners repositioned the layout of the building, forcing customers to place food orders while standing just a few feet away from the curb of North Avenue.



Q:  Was there ever a time when residents were pleased with the shopping choices in downtown Elmhurst?

 Not really.  Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, downtown Elmhurst was a thriving business area and had almost no empty storefronts.  A variety of clothing and department stores helped make Elmhurst a well-rounded shopping experience.  But as the median income of residents increased dramatically during the 1980’s, people demanded more banks to deposit all of their money and more dessert shops to spend their disposable income.



Q:  It seems that Elmhurst schools are always facing budget problems.  Has this always been the case?
  Yes!  Back in 1895, students from the Churchville Schoolhouse actually taught each other after budget cuts forced the district to eliminate 75% of the teachers in Elmhurst schools.



Q:  I made a lot of new friends when I moved to Spring Road in Elmhurst back in 2006 by hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Parade viewing party in my front yard.  What can you tell me about the history of this awesome event?
  The parade was never received well by the people of Elmhurst until the early 2000’s, when the city began turning a blind eye toward spectator alcohol consumption.  In fact, the parade was often held on the last Saturday in February in the 1990’s (as shown in this 1998 photo) just to get it out of the way.



Q:  When did the York Theatre open?
  The original York Theatre opened in 1924, and the price of an adult admission back then was only $6.00!



Q:  Was Salt Creek always as scuzzy and disease-infested as it is today?
:  Indeed it was!  These cattle from a 1920 photograph of Salt Creek died just minutes after drinking the water from the creek.