The Village of Glenview

Jackman Park bear turns 100


Statue dedicated in 1917
​The symbolic representation of the Village of Glenview -- the Bear -- made his official debut 100 years ago on September 15, 1917. On that day, the "Children's Fountain" was dedicated at an event for which the entire town of Glen View, as it was then named, turned out. The site was the southeast corner of Glenview Road and Pine Street, where today an apartment and retail complex stands. In 1946, when a fire station was built on the site (which was torn down in 2013 for the apartment-retail project), the Bear was moved, and the moved again, before occupying its current perch in a plaza adjacent to Jackman Park.

The Bear became the Village's mascot, and "Hug the Bear" became its motto. It served as a reminder that residents -- individually and collectively -- should continue to give, serve and care about the community. To "Hug the Bear" means in an analogical sense to "hug" the community. The Bear also was pictured on Glenview's official seal.

Refurbishing the Bear statue became a community project for the Village's 100th centennial in 1999. The Glenview Park District Foundation raised $69,000 -- and other donations were made -- to recast the Bear and the fountain, a job undertaken by Glenview resident Terry Dowd and artists Mike Baur and Mari Stanis.

The project expanded to construct a new circular plaza, for which Glenview contractor Angelo DiPaolo contributed services and materials and Northern Trust Bank donated the landscaping and site amenities. Glenview State Bank contributed $25,000 to commission a second statue -- a bronze sculpture of a big sister reading a book to her younger brother, who holds a train -- which was permanently seated near the Bear fountain.

Watch "100 Years of 'Hug the Bear' " -- an original GVTV program.

Special events

"Glenview 1917"
7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12
Glenview Public Library,
1930 Glenview Road
Beverly Dawson, Glenview history expert and author, takes us back to a time when the world was at war and Glenview welcomed the Bear.

Bear Birthday Bash 100
1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17
Jackman Park gazebo
Entertainment, speeches and refreshments in a ceremony reminiscent of the 1917 event. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Rain location is the Glenview Public Library.

The fountain

The fountain of metal and concrete was designed by the architecture firm Holabird & Roche. Sculptor Andrew O'Connor was commissioned by Edwin Jackman to create the fountain. Images of Native American faces run along the top of the pedestal, with animal images appearing on the length of the pillar. The bear at the top holds an iron bar in his mouth, from which two lamps hang.

The fountain originally served three purposes:

  • With the horse and buggy still the principal means of travel in 1917, the lower portion was a large basin, or trough, for the watering of horses. A lion's head once poured water into the trough, which was later converted to a bird bath.
  • A smaller basin near the bottom, which no longer exists, served to water dogs and small animals.
  • Two spigots served both children and adults with drinking water.

A painting by Charles Morgan Del of the fountain was featured on the dedication program, showing a horse and dogs drinking from troughs and two children drinking from the fountains. The author of the poem at the bottom, Frances E. Parker, remains a mystery.

The originator

Edwin Stanton Jackman (1865-1927), who resided at 57 Overlook Drive, Golf,  made his fortune through E. S. Jackman and Company, as the Chicago agent for Firth-Sterling Steel Company. He claimed to "have been selling steel to railroads since his 20th birthday," and celebrated his 50th birthday with a pamphlet that paid tribute "to American railroads and the men who run them."

A philanthropist whose generosity benefited Glen View, he was known to also be fond of children, horses, dogs and history. Exactly why Jackman gave Glenview the fountain and what it symbolizes -- particularly the Bear -- remain a matter of conjecture.

He and his wife, Harriet, had no children but doted on their nephews. In 1919, Jackman donated a second fountain, "The Spirit of Youth," to the Glen View Golf and Polo Club, a bronze sculpture featuring Boy Scouts that was also created by Andrew O'Connor.  More on that sculpture can be found here.

Jackman died in 1927 while on vacation in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The dedication

Virtually the entire Village (population around 700) turned out for the dedication of the Bear fountain in 1917. Everyone from Village dignitaries to school children took part. Music was furnished by a band from Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The slideshow below shows the residents marching in a parade to the dedication site and the dedication ceremony.

 

 

The highlight was Edwin Jackman's dedication speech.

The Village instituted an annual celebration of the event in 1918. Called Fountain Day, the celebration evolved into Glenview Days a few years later.  Glenview Days festivities included water fights between fire companies, tumbling clowns, tricycle parades for boys, doll parades for girls, a Mardi Gras-like costume parade, street dances and baseball games. The last Glenview Days was held in 1957.

The early days

These pictures show the fountain at its original spot on Glenview Road:

    

     (Chicago History Museum photo)

Our mascot

The Bear has become the place to root on Chicago sports teams and celebrate championships:

   

                          Bears - 2007                                                                      Blackhawks - 2015                                                                                             Cubs - 2016

Timeline

1917 -- The Bear fountain is dedicated on September 15, near the southeast corner of Glenview Road and Pine Street.

1929 -- The Glenview Park District purchased its first park site, the land to the north of the former Village Hall at 1930 Prairie Street, and named it Jackman Park.

1946  -- The Bear fountain is moved to an "undistinguished spot" in Jackman Park when a building housing the Fire Department was built on the 1800 block of Glenview Road.

1963 -- The Bear fountain is refurbished and moved near 1930 Prairie Street, which then housed Village Hall and the Glenview Days Community Association.

1967 -- A 1-hour program marked the golden anniversary of the Bear fountain's dedication.

1999 -- As part of the Village's centennial celebration, the Bear fountain is recast and placed in a centennial plaza established at the southeast entrance to Jackman Park.

The celebration has already begun

On July 13, 2017, the Glenview Public Library invited patrons to color a birthday banner for the Bear's 100th anniversary