For many years the name of Glenview was chiefly associated with the Naval Air Station there. From 1923 to 1995 the air base operated training aircraft and seaplanes on nearby Lake Michigan. During World War II some 9,000 aviation cadets did their primary training at Glenview. In later years the base was also used as a staging point for many of the aircraft participating in the annual Chicago Air and Water Show.
In 1993 the BRAC Commission, which was looking for ways to reduce the number of excess military facilities, decided to close down the Air Station and by 1995 the base was demolished and The Glen, consisting of homes, offices, a shopping mall and sports centers, took its place. The only remaining piece of the old Glenview base is part of the control tower that is now incorporated into one of the stores in the mall.
I was pleased to see that the memory of all those who served at the Naval Air Station had not been totally forgotten as there is a fitting tribute to them in the approach to the mall and there are plaques dedicated to the many units that were based at the station placed prominently on the exterior walls of the surrounding buildings.
‘The Glen’ covers almost 15% of the area of Glenview and includes Kohl Children’s Museum which is a popular spot with youngsters from the surrounding suburbs. This is definitely a hands-on museum and participation in everything from art to grocery shopping is strongly encouraged.
Among the more popular exhibits are the Water Works, Pet Vet, Baby Nursery and Play Cafe. Children can also get a taste of what it’s like to be on stage, make music and explore nature. Having taken our grandchildren there on several occasions we can absolutely vouch for its kid-worthiness.
Another place of interest that we discovered in Glenview was The Grove National Historic Landmark which is maintained by the Glenview Park District. Covering 143 acres, this facility contains nature trails and historic buildings including Kennicott House built in 1856 by agriculturist and doctor, John Kennicott.
Among other buildings on this site is The Redfield Estate, built in 1929, which can be rented out for weddings and other functions.
The nature area consists of woodland, wetlands and prairie settings in which you may come across a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin and a native American village.
The Grove Interpretive Center houses several species of turtle including a 150 year-old giant alligator snapping turtle named Al who, so the story goes, was rescued from a restaurant in downtown Chicago where it was on sale for so much per pound, presumably destined for some exotic dish.
Our final stop in Glenview was The Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have always been fascinated by church architecture and this is a beautiful example.
Building of the gray marble Temple began in 1983 and it was officially opened in 1985.