Dekker: Tinley Park Historical Society seeks your help
By Julie Dekker Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org July 18, 2013 1:20PM
Marialys Goesel, a 25-year volunteer at the Tinely Park Historical Society died June 3. | Supplied photo
Updated: August 22, 2013 6:10AM
I find history a fascinating subject. Knowing what and where we’ve come from helps us realize just how much progress we’ve made over time. Or how little.
At the Tinley Park Historical Society, they keep track of life here in Tinley Park, continually documenting our notable local events. What happens today is tomorrow’s history.
Because of the historical society’s diligent work, generations to come will be able to see how our town has progressed from its inception in the mid 1800s as a small settlement called Goeselville to its present day.
The society also spends a lot of time piecing together bits of information from the past, trying to establish a true history. Some pieces of our village’s past have proved difficult to find, and the sense of urgency in the search was recently brought to the forefront with the passing of a longtime historical society volunteer, Marialys Goesel.
She was a special lady for many reasons. As a volunteer at the historical society for almost 25 years, the 93-year-old Goesel brought much to the table. Her wit, wisdom and lifetime of memories were priceless.
As a part of the Goesel family, Marialys provided the society with several volumes of information on the family’s history as well as that of the Goeselville area, the earliest roots of present-day Tinley Park.
Our opportunity to glean information from Marialys Goesel is gone, but the historical society hopes that there are others who have information to share. Our eldest citizens may provide the only living memories still available.
Your memories are valuable, and the historical society would be eager to record an oral history or to see any old documents and photos of early life in Tinley Park that you may have.
There are surprisingly few photos of Tinley Park from the 1950s’, ’60s and ’70s and very few of the Goeselville area in general.
For example, the society has not been able to obtain a photo of the Bachelor’s Grove Dance Hall and roller rink that were located at 145th Street and Oak Park Avenue. It opened in the 1930s, closed in 1942 and apparently in its heyday was a hub of entertainment for our area.
The society is also looking for photos of the old Dog n Suds drive-in that was located at 166th Street and Oak Park Avenue and the A & W drive-in that was at 176th Street and Oak Park Avenue.
Does anyone know if the I-80 drive-in movie theater had another name or was it just called the I-80?
The Tinley Park Historical Society would be most grateful to see your photos and hear any information you have about early life in our town. The society also accepts donations of items to be displayed in its museums.
If you haven’t been through the society’s two museums, you owe it to yourself to take a visit. They are an absolute treasure trove of Tinley Park’s past. You can see the horse-drawn hose cart that our first firefighters used, wedding dresses and suits that were worn by early residents of the village, handwritten census and burial records from the late 1800s and much more.
The historical society will hold a special open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 4, featuring a slide presentation and book-signing by author Nicholas Selig. His book, “Lost Airports Of Chicago,” features a chapter on Tinley Park’s Prosperi Airport.
The airport was located along Harlem Avenue at the southern end of Tinley Park. It was opened in 1942 by Ed Prosperi and closed in 1966 when I-80 was built right through it. Come hear the rest of the story, enjoy light refreshments and take a tour of the Tinley Park Historical Society, 6727 W. 174th St.
If you or a loved one have memories to share, please contact the society at (708) 429-4210. Your contributions will help to complete the story of our past and will be appreciated for generations to come.