The German Village Society's history is full of passion projects. It is pretty much the central story in our 58-year success story.
You won't want to miss the result of the most recent one, labored lovingly over for the past 18 months by my predecessor, Katharine Moore.
Katharine is chairwoman of Friends of Schiller Park, who from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 2, will hold a launch party for "Schiller Park Across Time -- Celebrating 150 Years."
The book is 188 pages of art, photography and stories of the 150-year history of Schiller Park.
And, because Katharine has a knack for making for making things special and lovely, it is printed on elegant paper and boxed in linen.
I learned about the project about a year and a half ago, when Katharine had sent an email and asked: Do you know anyone in the publishing industry? This book project is going to need a pro.
I was at a loss, and after a few introductions that didn't pan out, Katharine turned herself into the publishing expert.
There have been precisely ZERO weeks since that she hasn't worked to make the book a reality.
First there was a grand call for artists -- from students at the schools on the bricks to current artists painting with the book specifically in mind; from diving through the city's old photography of the park to making a call across the village for residents who might have Schiller art on their walls to contribute.
Then there was a jury to pare down the final content.
John Clark helped pull history. Larry Hamill photographed art and helped research.
"It was a lot of fun to celebrate little discoveries with her, like an old photo neither of us had ever seen before, or some interesting, little tidbit about an old event at the park," John told me.
Then Katharine was introduced to a treasure trove of info, photos and knowledge.
Terry Sherburn had stereopticon images of Schiller Park and more than 188 pages of knowledge about the 23 acres' history.
"I love seeing her get excited over tracking down details of a new story that she's just learned about," said Jan Clark.
"I've seen her in a laughing fit over some of the photos, and get teary eyed over some of the sweet, moving stories about events that have occurred in the park."
Once the content was set, the design began. Many, many, many hours were spent revising, editing, improving and proofing as Katharine & Co. mapped the final product.
"Schiller Park wouldn't be the same without her," said Connie Swain.
"With this book, she didn't set out to do the history necessarily, but celebrate it as a place of beauty and community gathering and fun. I don't know how she gets done everything she gets done."
To be sure, nothing gets done in the park -- heck, in the 'hood -- without Ann Lilly, Connie Swain and John and Jan Clark.
Jeff Stahler helped find artists and painters.
They were the team Katharine could turn to in getting across the finish line.
But make no mistake, this is Katharine's effort, vision, knowledge, network and hard, hard work to get it done.
You won't want to miss it.
This limited-edition coffee table book documenting the crown jewel of the German Village Historic District with the earliest park photographs available, carefully chosen works of art, and contemporary pictures taken by both amateur and professional photographers.
Join us at Barcelona at 10 a.m. Dec. 2 to purchase a limited-edition copy, or buy it the next night during Village Lights inside the old Caterina Ltd. space.
And when you love it -- and I know you will -- thank Katharine for making it happen.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.