Van Bergen Month Release



Press Contact:  Jean Sogin

Highland Park Historical Society

Phone:  (847) 432-7090


“October 2012 is John Van Bergen Month in Highland Park!”

The Highland Park Historical Society and the Historic Preservation Commission designate October 2012 as John Van Bergen Month.

John Van Bergen Month in Highland Park, October 2012 – Architecture

The Highland Park Historical Society and the Highland Park Historic Preservation Commission have designated October, 2012 as “John Van Bergen Month” in Highland Park.   We are recognizing Van Bergen’s significant contribution to the Prairie School movement and his presence in Chicago architecture and in Highland Park in particular.

Van Bergen began his career working for Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park.  When Wright left Oak Park for Wisconsin, it was Van Bergen who completed many of Wright’s unfinished projects before establishing his own practice, first in Oak Park and then in Highland Park.

Van Bergen lived and worked in Highland Park for over twenty years, during the height of his creative period.  Van Bergen built Braeside School and West Ridge School as well as additions and remodel work at Ravinia School and Lincoln School.  The clock outside of Lincoln School is his design.  He was involved in many civic organizations and worked for District 108.  He was good friend with landscape architect Jens Jensen and they collaborated on several projects.

Events throughout the month include:

1)    Establishing the Van Bergen Homeowners Association. There are approximately 30 Van Bergen buildings in Highland Park. Creating a collaboration between the owners creates pride and promotes maintenance of the structures.

2)    Map and Driving Tour of Van Bergen Buildings

The Historic Preservation Commission will develop a driving tour brochure of Van Bergen buildings in Highland Park.

3)    The Historical Society’s Fall House Tour, October 21, Fee.

In October, the Annual Historical Society House tour will focus on Van Bergen buildings, including Braeside School.

4)    Van Bergen Exhibit. Opens September 30th, free.  An exhibit of John Van Bergen documents, pictures and artifacts from the collection of Marty Hackel will be divided between the Historical Society’s museum and the Library.

5)    Lecture and Panel Discussion on Van Bergen at the Library, October 14th, free.

6)    Teaching Toolkits for District 112 Curriculum. The City and the Historical Society will provide  educational packets that include brochures, buttons and QR codes to teachers to assist them in teaching about the history of Van Bergen and his architecture in Highland Park and Chicagoland.