Mount Prospect will be celebrating its centennial in 2017 and it has a lot to celebrate. The Village motto, “Where Friendliness is a Way of Life”, although not something that can easily be said of its notorious neighbor, Chicago, may quite well be true of this flourishing, northwest suburb.
The Village Hall, Police & Fire Station and Library serve a community of some 55,000 people many of whom use the train to commute back and forth to work and school. The train station parking lot becomes home to the farmer’s market on Sunday mornings as well as Bluesmobile Cruise Nights on Saturday evenings.
You can’t go too far in Mount Prospect without coming across the name Busse; florist, car wash, avenue, road and park, all named after one of the area’s more prominent families.
There are several parks in Mount Prospect, the largest of which is Melas Park which is shared with the neighboring Village of Arlington Heights. Here you’ll find some nice walking paths as well as baseball, football and soccer fields. Melas also hosts the annual 4th of July carnival and firework display.
Clearwater Park, although smaller, has a walking track and tennis courts and is a surprisingly great place to see wildlife, especially water birds, including heron, egrets and cormorants.
Tucked into a corner of downtown Mount Prospect is a miniscule park named after one of the Village’s founding families, the Moehlings. Built in 1880, The Old General Store, once owned by the Moehlings, is the oldest commercial building in the village and was moved in 1999 from its original location to where it now stands, next to the park. It currently houses Campanari’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Many years ago Mount Prospect boasted the first enclosed mall in the Chicago area and the largest enclosed air-conditioned space in the United States. Back when we lived in the city, going to Randhurst Mall was considered something of a treat, a great “day out” especially in the winter when walking around an indoor mall was a comfortable and convenient way to shop.
Built in the 1960’s, at the height of the cold war, the mall included a fall-out shelter that was large enough to accommodate every citizen of Mount Prospect, which must have been a very comforting thought for the residents in those days. The multi-level mall had a food court and a carousel and was anchored by several large department stores which over the years included Weiboldt’s, JC Penney, Bergner’s and Montgomery Ward.
But once Schaumburg’s Woodfield Mall came on the scene followed by other more upscale shopping centers that quickly blossomed in the surrounding towns, poor old Randhurst went into a decline and was eventually torn down to make way for a new ‘lifestyle center’ called Randhurst Village.
Despite its new-found glitz and glamor, however, Randhurst Village has, in my humble opinion, all the personality and appeal of a damp sock. I miss the old indoor mall!
You don’t see this something like this every day, especially in an apartment or condo complex. These columns, sunk into the lake at Huntington Commons were, according to an online source, originally part of the old Federal Chicago Building which was demolished in 1965.
Although technically located in Des Plaines, Friendship Park Conservatory, which sits right on the border with Mount Prospect, is maintained by the MP Park District and is home to the Mount Prospect Garden Club. The Conservatory has a banquet hall as well as a seasonally decorated atrium which makes it a poplar place for weddings. The plant sale, held just before Mother’s Day, is always well attended and the Christmas festivities, I’m reliably informed, usually include a visit from one of Santa’s reindeer, although the only animal I encountered on a recent visit was what looked suspiciously like the Easter Bunny.