Bring your copy of the book to the Naper Homestead, sit at one of the benches and read the story of the pioneers' journey.
The last chapter, The DuPage River at Last, occurs on this very spot!
Here you'll find - chronicled in pictures and video clips - the steps in making the Naper Homestead park a reality.
Of course, not shown here are the many hours of planning and organizing performed by a partnership of civic, cultural and private groups before and during the actual construction that you see in pictures below.
A key individual in particular, Bryan Ogg, whose picture can be found here, was the driving force in facilitating the creation of the park and statue. Kate, in researching her book on the homesteading voyage, spent many hours in the Naper Settlement library where Bryan curates, and she acknowledged him in her book for his encouragement and expertise.
Enjoy the pictures and video. When you have ocassion to do so, visit the Naper Homestead park and walk among its history.
July 6, 2011: The warm sunny day's festivities began with speeches from numerous dignitaries, beginning with Mayor Pradel. Senator Dillard spoke to us about his special affinity to history. His father was a history professor. Incidently, he wrote Kate a very nice note after having read "Ruth By Lake and Prairie" to his daughters.
Naperville Mayor George Pradel
Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger
Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard
Homestead Committee Chair Dave Kelsch
Dignitaries at the Groundbreaking
Kate Gingold, Bettye Werhli and Mayor Pradel hamming it up
If you travelled along Jefferson Avenue a few blocks west of downtown Naperville from July through October of 2011, you saw a construction site surrounded by cyclone fence.
What you saw being created was the Naper Homestead, a new park being built by the city to remember our founding family, Joseph and Almeda Naper, at the very spot where they settled in July of 1831.
Foundations Run Deep
South End of Park
Forms and Walkway Pavers
Pouring the Pump Wall
New Sidewalk to the Park
Joseph Standing Bear Schranz performs a blessing ritual...
... and leads us in a prayer.
Well-attended Ribbon Cutting
The Mayor chats with Abe Lincoln
NHS CEO Peggy Frank
NHS Chair Chris Birck
State Rep Michael Connelly
Hitchcock Design's Craig Farnsworth
Copenhaver Construction's Ken Copenhaver
Here are some of the features of the new park. But don't take our word for it! Come visit! Get directions from Google Maps.
Beautiful, Explanatory Signage
To have signs for the public to see during the ribbon cutting, workers placed these temporary signs at each of the points of interest in the park. They have since been replaced with the permanent versions.
The signs enrich your experience with wonderful bits of history and a little trivia too.
The view from the corner of Jefferson and Mill Streets, welcomes you to the park from the city.
This gives our children an understanding of life in the early days, before running water (or bathrooms!) in the home.
In this clever effect to keep the park open yet instruct on the location of original structures on the property, the designers marked the house walls with these limestone blocks. Stroll through the home of our founding family!
These stones mark the borders of the Naper's first log house. The entire family lived within these walls, and often guests as well.
The new park opens from the North side, but imagine Joseph looking up the hill from the saw mill at the river to see his home and his family.
At the ribbon cutting, Peggy Frank announced a fundraising initiative: a larger-than-life statue of Joseph Naper pointing the way into his town from the northwest corner of the new Homestead.
Peggy unveiled a picture created by Dick Locher, famous artist of the Dick Tracy comic strips. In it, Joe Naper with his platts and his books, welcomes people into town.
If you look closely at the photo of the picture on its easil you'll notice a reflection. It's of the artist himself, who was standing next to the eisel as the photo was taken!
A two-piece bronze statue arrives.
Surveying the survey equipment.
Hoisting Joe off the flatbed.
A bronze plate decorates the statue maker's truck.
Bryan Ogg talks to Dick Locher and Peggy Frank.
City crew sets up a boring tool to drill out 2" holes.
This is the core that's drilled out. 4 of them were dug.
Foot-long 1.5" wide screws in Joe's shoes will form the anchor.
Crew fills hole with super-grade epoxy...
... then lower the posts into the holes.
The statue maker Jeff Adams with his son and wife.
Kate with Dick Locher, Dick Tracy artist and Joe Naper statue designer.
Audience anticipating the unveiling