Naperville Riverwalk Turns 35

In 1981 the city was celebrating 150 years and wanted to gift itself with something to enjoy for generations to come; The Riverwalk.

To get the project started, Harold Moser, builder of Cress Creek County Club held a breakfast.

“There’s no such thing as a free breakfast and the thing is you people made a lot of money in Naperville, there were concrete people and electricians and now it’s time to give something back to the city so what can you do. People got the idea and then they said I’ll give you this or I’ll give you that and before you know it we had enough to start construction,” said Architect on the Riverwalk, Charles “Chuck” George.

That’s what they did. Mayor Rybicki gave the team free rein to do as they pleased.

“There were just a small group of us, Jim Moser, myself, Bill Lewis from the city, Hal Dickson and Larry Gregory so there were five or six of us that were really the heart of the whole thing and we met once a week, it was a beautiful way to do business,” said George.

As word got around people wanted to volunteer, for what was quickly becoming a community project. Chuck’s son, Bruce remembers.

“I spent the whole summer laying bricks just around the quarry, over between the concessions building and Eagle Street over there. Every time I walk around down over there and see those bricks I know I laid a good percentage of those. But that’s what we did; every morning there would be people what would show up to volunteer,” he said.

The group worked to build what is known today as the center piece of our city; taking inspiration from all over and making it unique to Naperville.

From the covered bridges, “The lumber was all donated by Jim Moser, and he was a shy guy so he didn’t want anyone to know that but he donated all the materials for it and for Mr. Garber to build it,” said Chuck George.

To the dandelion fountain modeled after a famous French artists’ work.

“An artist by the name of Harry Burtoya who was really well known and he created what we call the dandelion fountain but it has a fancy name it looked nice and we thought it would be appropriate in that condition so we lit it up and it draws you to that area, but that’s where it came from,” George added.

Combining inspiration, vision, and a volunteer spirit the group gave the city the gift of a lifetime.

Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.

 

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