People often ask about our stories. Many are sourced by our readers, writers, recommenders, and Barrington stakeholders. Others we base on the rhythms of community life. Some stories look forward. Others capture our past. And then, without trying, parallels emerge between our feature stories. Here’s a look at the May/June features.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Penwern
Frank Lloyd Wright, the “greatest American Architect of all time”, was breaking ground at Lake Delavan for his Chicago client, Fred B. Jones, in 1900. Barrington’s longest-serving haberdasher and all-around Renaissance man, Peter Yankala, takes us to that little-known Wright property. A client from years past owns the Penwern property, and Peter reconnected with him and his wife while doing research. Peter is in the process of documenting the historic Wright home with his words and photos in a forthcoming book.
John B. Sanfilippo & Son
In 1922, Gaspare Sanfilippo and his son, John, started a pecan-shelling business with a small storefront in Chicago. On March 14, this year, Gaspare’s great-grandson, Jeffrey Sanfilippo, rang the closing bell at Nasdaq to commemorate the John B. Sanfilippo & Son (JBSS) company’s 100th year. This story is of a family working across four generations to keep their company strong. Jeffrey Sanfilippo is also a prolific collector of antique perfume bottles, with an extraordinary set of galleries curated within his beautiful Perfume Passage. Many of the perfumes reflect a time of vast change in American culture during the Roaring Twenties.
Prohibition drove criminal gangs into great power and Chicago was the epicenter in the 1920s. Gangsters kept the boozing alive. During the Great Depression, when people lost their money, businesses, and farms due to a collapsing banking system, robbing banks made gangsters into folk heroes. They traveled along Illinois’ storied Route 14—Gangster Highway.
The Roaring Twenties was a massive, collective gasp of relief after the shocking and overlapping World War I (1914-1918) and the Spanish Flu (1918-1919). Estimates say that more than 50 million people died from the “Great Influenza Epidemic” which targeted young, healthy people and children. The Roaring Twenties was a time of celebration, growth, and cultural change. It will be interesting to see how we respond to current events, and whether or not any aspects reflective of that era will repeat in our ‘20s.