St. Charles Scoop: Leroy Oaks

Leroy Oaks is a beautiful forest preserve that attracts a lot of visitors every year even during the winter time. Leroy Oaks doesn’t just play home to visitors it’s also the home of high school cross country races during the high school season and is a place many people flock to for wedding photos, prom photos, family photos, and simply to enjoy nature. The barn at Leroy Oaks is a landmark many people know of quite well, it’s the most popular spot for people to take photos of groups or individuals, the forest preserve also sees lots of runners, walkers, and bikers. Leroy Oaks is maintained by the forest preserve crew and they do controlled burns, clear out ruts of logs, and keep the forest preserve nice and clean for many to enjoy. Another big attraction in Leroy Oaks is the creek where many people like to visit in the summer whether it’s to play in the creek on sit on the bank of the creek and enjoy a book or enjoy some family time. Leroy Oaks is a great place to visit to get away from the day to day grind as a place to go to and unwind and enjoy all of it’s beauty. Leroy Oaks is also located near the great western trail which is a path that goes for miles and miles that starts near the parking lot and is a variation of crushed limestone and pavement that many people enjoy for walks, runs, bike rides, and even sees people practicing skiing during winter. As summer is in full swing there is nothing better than to go enjoy all  that Leroy Oaks has to offer whether you plan to go play in the creek or take a nice walk along the paths. Of course, on a day like today is a great day to play in the creek.

St. Charles Scoop: Colonial Cafe

Colonial Ice Cream has been around for over a hundred years and was founded in 1901. Colonial started out as a delivery service for milk and eventually ice cream, they used to pack the milk and ice cream with ice that was harvested by workers and packed. Colonial has transformed over the years from a dairy business to a restaurant and attract people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner offering a wide variety menu. Their still most famous for their ice cream and the famous kitchen sink, a concoction of different ice cream and topping placed in a kitchen sink and if you finish the kitchen sink you get a bumper sticker saying, “I finished a kitchen sink” Colonial Café. The Café has moved to a new location on Randall road near the circuit court. The menu offers people many beverages, and food options with so much diversity but most people have their favorite dishes they go to whenever they go there. The Colonial Café has been a benchmark of St. Charles being one of the oldest business to exist for over a hundred years and to this day is a local hot spot that many favor. For many people Colonial Café is just more than a restaurant and café to them, it’s their favorite place in St. Charles to get something good to eat or simply to enjoy their famous ice cream which lots of St. Charles residents have fond memories of.

St. Charles Scoop: Running Clubs

There are plenty of running events throughout St. Charles every day because, let’s face it, working out and running by yourself can get boring; having people to run with makes it more fun! Two of the most popular groups are great places to meet and run with people who like to exercise and socialize. The first is the Fox River Trail Runners, who run on the Great Western Trail every Wednesday night and host many other runs and races throughout the Kane County area. Another way to meet runners is through a visit to Dick Pond Athletics. Dick Pond has many programs for runners, and even if you aren’t quite a runner yet they have a run to walk program which prepares you for the transition from walking to running.

Dick Pond is also a shop full of great running gear for all levels of athlete. Glenn, the owner of Dick Pond, has done a lot for the local running community of St. Charles, and his staff is very knowledgeable and can help find the best shoe for you. The Fox River Trail Runners group as well as Dick Pond Athletics aren’t just great opportunities to enjoy runs with others: they are also perfect for you to meet new people, make friends, and socialize. No matter your skill level, both groups welcome all people who want to run. St. Charles has a vibrant running community, and both the Fox River Trail Runners and Dick Pond Athletics are great ways to become a part of this welcoming community. 

St. Charles Scoop

Pottawatomie Park has been around for a long time, and has something for just about everyone whether it’s mini golf, swimming, golfing, events at the community center, paddle boat tours, or just relaxing in the park. Especially now that summer is in full swing there is lots of fun to be had at the Park. Fancy a round of golf? The Pottawatomie golf course is for you. With a nine hole variety course, it is a great place to hit the greens. Maybe you’re looking to do something with friends:  perhaps a round of mini golf or a ride on the paddle boats that you can take out on the river. Summer heat got you beat? Consider a nice day at the swimming pool: take a dip, relax on a on a chair, and let the day pass by. No matter who you are there is something fun for you at Pottawatomie Park!

 

 

Image courtesy of St. Charles Park District 

Image courtesy of St. Charles Park District 

How to Get North on the Westside?

Guest Blogger-Archie Bentz

Archie Bentz was the last owner of what is now the St. Charles History Museum and over the last few year's he has been compiling a list of the Tri-Cities service stations. When the Museum was creating its new exhibit Serving Gas to Preserving History, Archie was a wealth of information but it also sparked some new questions and we are looking to the community for help.

This is a current Google Earth photo of  311-313 N 5th Street  in St Charles, the present home of Boyle Body Shop.  

This is a current Google Earth photo of 311-313 N 5th Street in St Charles, the present home of Boyle Body Shop.  

I am currently working on compiling a history of Tri-City service stations and automobile dealerships.  I have a limited history of this site going back to 1932 as shown below and would appreciate any information to fill in the gaps in dates and names of those in operation. 

My Remembrances...

Here is what I remember of this area in St. Charles as a kid; The main north-south highway that we know of today as Route 31 or Second Street in St Charles did not pass under the railroad tracks about 3 blocks north of Rt 64.  There had been no provision for a tunnel or underpass of the railroad right-of-way.  I believe there only two ways to go north of St Charles on the west side; 1) travel west on Dean Street and drive over the tracks, 2) there was a tunnel under the tracks either on north 5th or north 6th.  I believe that since there was this early filling station on north 5th it would stand to reason it was constructed to service the northbound traffic leaving town. 
The original filling station would have been the right side of the building prior to the addition of service bays.

313 North 5th Street History

  • 1932 Wheeler's Shell Oil Station?       
  • 1940 Jones Harry (my cousins paternal grandfather, later the operator of Brilliant Bronze on Main St.)
  • 1947-56 Myers Phillips 66 Ph 3595-Clarence C Myers (same Myers @ 611 E State Geneva?)
  • 1958-62 Schulz Phillips 66 and used cars?
  • 1970’s Schulz Body Shop Mike Schulz
  • 1996-Present Boyle Body Shop-Denny Boyle

What Do You Remember?

Who remembers when north 2nd Street and the railroad underpass were constructed and the highway was designated Route 31?

Does anyone have early photos of this location that could be shared with the Museum and myself? 

 

History in the making: Jeans and a Cute Top Shop

Fashion over forty shouldn’t be formidable. This sentiment inspired Jill Card to open the first Jeans and a Cute Top Shop in Wheaton in 2009. She and her friends often felt caught between stores targeting their daughters or their mothers. Jill wanted to create a warm, inviting space where women of all ages, shapes, and sizes could find on-trend clothing and accessories. It worked! Customers responded in droves and the St. Charles and Downers Grove locations soon followed.

Women respond to the store because the store responds to them. You never have to shop alone (unless you prefer it, which is great too!). Friendly associates will help you find the right denim and create contemporary outfits that fit your lifestyle and flatter your body type. They’ll take your style to the next level by pairing the perfect necklace, scarf or boots, all affordably priced so you can leave with a complete look without breaking the bank. Trust us, you’ll walk out feeling great and looking fabulous.

New inventory arrives daily so you’ll find something fresh and fun every time you stop in. Everyone wants to age gracefully and stay current. Jeans and a Cute Top Shop helps you do just that. So stop by…and fit in!

For more information about what Jeans & a Cute Top has to offer visit
http://jeansandacutetopshop.com/

History in the making: Johnny Q's Backyard BBQ

The road on the east side of the Fox River, from St. Charles to Elgin, was not the main route between those two towns. It was actually an interstate route 430 that later became Rt. 31. But that didn’t mean the country road that became Rt. 25 was unused or unknown. Rt. 25 was a local shortcut that continued north from where Dunham Road entered into Wayne, Illinois. Rumor has it that many bootleggers during Prohibition used the Fox River to move their whiskey on its way to thirsty customers in St. Charles, Geneva, and Aurora – as well as into Chicago. And those boats unloaded on the east side of the river – away from prying eyes.

But over time, Rt. 25 became a welcome alternative to the crowded Rt. 31 highway to or from Elgin. And many small businesses sprang up along the route to serve hungry customers. Johnny Q’s BBQ continues that tradition today, serving all sorts of smoked meats, sausages and sides like fries and coleslaw. Also ribs only on Friday and Saturday.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/johnnyqs4u/

History in the making: 2570 Foxfield Road, St. Charles

One might not know a lot about this building; however, it houses a unique St. Charles business and one St. Charles resident that has made a name for herself within the Museum family and St. Charles community.      

Dayspring Pediatric Dentistry

Providing specialized dentistry for children and adolescents in a "child-friendly" environment.  As pediatric dentists, we focus on preventive care to help each child grow a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Serving infants, children, teens, and children with special health care needs.

Our office is designed to enhance your child's experience with state of the art equipment and entertainment. We are sure to leave a lasting impression on your child in order to promote lifelong oral habits!

Anna Meltzer

Anna first came to the St. Charles History Museum in 2016 after meeting our board president during the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Our relationship with her grew in 2017 with her joining our fundraising committee, becoming a business member, portraying  Amelia Anderson at our Grave Reminders program during Scarecrow Fest.

Here is a little Anna has to say: "I recently relocated to the western suburbs and quickly fell in love with the St. Charles area. I am involved in several partnerships with the community and love spending my free time serving those committees. I also enjoy reading, being active and staying fit, cooking and spending time with my three grown children. I have an open door policy and welcome questions, comments, and hearing feedback."

 

History in the making: Chic Boutique

St. Charles is a historic town known that once was known for its antiques.  Nicki Turnbull decided to take a different approach by first bringing workout apparel and then boutique clothing for both men and women to town.     

Here is a little about what Nicki has to say about Chic Boutique:

"When the boutique initially launched, I had one intention. I wanted to carefully curate a collection of women's styles that would be on-trend and flatter all shapes and sizes. Both my family and husband saw the drive behind this project of mine and encouraged me to take the leap to open the boutique.

I was determined to seek out designs that not only looked incredible but also were available at a reasonable price. It was important to me to ensure that the shop had both splurge/luxury styles, and the classic pieces that wouldn't break the bank. Less than a year after my husband and I were married, the store opened. In June of 2016, my dreams officially became a reality in the vibrant scene of downtown St. Charles, IL."

For more information about everything Chic Boutique has to offer visit http://www.achicboutique.net/

History in the making: Two Wild Seeds

Our Story …

Sisters Leslie Sabella (the artist) and Katie Kritzberg (the baker), a.k.a. the Two Wild Seeds, were born and raised in the Midwest where they learned to appreciate a very self-sustaining way of life from their mom, Susan Kritzberg. Both creative souls, the sisters always dreamt of creating a space that celebrated their love of nature, local food, art, and the bohemian lifestyle.

When Leslie moved to California in 2014, their desire for a way to stay connected across the miles became even more clear, and that’s when the concept for Two Wild Seeds was planted. However, it wasn’t until Katie and their mom looked to open their first brick-and-mortar bakery in Illinois that the dream finally came to fruition.

Like seeds, from which all things root and grow, Leslie and Katie are the seeds of those who came before them. Their deep connection to where they grew up has allowed them to infuse a certain passion and authenticity into everything they do, from cooking a meal to creating a piece of artwork. This keeps them inspired each day, all with the goal of sharing it here on TWS.

Today, even though life has taken the sisters in different directions, and they’ve scattered like seeds to opposite sides of the country, their roots will always be grounded where it all started — at home.

Susan Kritzberg: Proud mother and Co-owner/Pastry Chef of Two Wild Seeds Baking Company. Susan was born and raised in the small, (once) rural town of Yorkville, Illinois. She grew up on 4 acres of property that her father purchased in the 50s, which also happens to be where Susan raised her three children and still resides today.
Some of her fondest memories of her country childhood include horseback riding, swimming in their ponds, exploring the woods, learning to garden from her Dad, and drawing, which ultimately led her to study art at Northern Illinois University. With a B.F.A. in drawing and painting, Susan pursued her love of art by teaching privately for more than 25 years, becoming a published colored pencil artist and even opening her own art gallery in downtown Yorkville. In addition to her artistic nature, she has always been known for her gourmet cooking and baking, which to no surprise, is of exquisite quality and taste due to her eye for detail and refined palate.

or anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting Susan, you’ll instantly feel as though you’ve been friends for years. Her genuine love for all things nature combined with her passion for creating beautiful food and desserts is unparalleled and every bit authentic.

When Susan isn’t helping run Two Wild Seeds Baking Company with her daughter, Katie, she enjoys raising her flock of chickens, caring for her two dogs (Midgy & Beau), tending to her ever-expanding garden, and most of all — spending time with her family and new baby grandson, Emerson.

Leslie Sabella: The first “Wild Seed,” Contributing Editor to Two Wild Seeds & Owner of True Spirit Art.

After graduating from Northern Illinois University with Honors in Art History, Leslie decided to switch gears and, with the support of her parents, realized a dream of opening her own eclectic shop filled with products to inspire the soul. For five years, Blue Orchid Studio was an outlet for her creative and entrepreneurial passion, and provided her the opportunity of learning about building the foundation of a business. Leslie carefully hand-picked each and every item for the shop, scrutinizing the design, packaging, message, and quality. Although it was difficult to close her shop’s doors in 2011, new pursuits were on the horizon for both she and her husband, Jonathan Sabella, a CG artist. After living in Vancouver and Los Angeles, they currently call San Francisco their home-away-from-home.

Along the way, she decided (with much encouragement from Jonathan), it was time to do something with her love of drawing. In 2012, she opened her Etsy shop under the name Leslie Sabella and hasn’t looked back since. Today her brand True Spirit Art offers fine art prints, greeting cards, recipe cards, and newly released adult coloring book “Boho Soul” worldwide. “Knowing my art is lovingly appreciated by people from all corners of the world is humbling.”

With the 2016 launch of Two Wild Seeds online, and the brick and mortar bakery location in Illinois, Leslie is excited to showcase her brand True Spirit Art for new buyers, as well as helping hand select retail products and design TWS’s marketing materials.

When she’s not immersed in her world of art, she loves spending time with her husband and dog, Bella, traveling to new and old places, cooking vegetarian dishes, knitting, practicing yoga and seeking out the comfort of natural open spaces in this busy world.

 Katie Kritzberg: The second “Wild Seed,” Contributing Editor to Two Wild Seeds & Co-owner/Pastry Chef of Two Wild Seeds Baking Company.

Katie is a bonafide Midwestern girl. Born and raised in the rural suburbs of Chicago, she grew up on four acres of property that can only be described as a magical oasis. From running around barefoot eating wild raspberries and foraging through the woods for morel mushrooms, to cracking walnuts with her grandpa and picking green beans from her mom’s garden, Katie has always felt “at home” in the outdoors — and with food, of course.

Though she’d always dreamt of doing something culinary-related, Katie followed her lifelong love for writing and graduated with honors in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She then moved to Chicago to pursue a career in food writing, and it was only a short while after dining in some of the city’s best restaurants that she decided to follow her passion for cooking by attending the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

After a few years of working for some of the top farm-to-table restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, Katie grew tired of the city’s fast-paced lifestyle and returned home in search of something more personal … something that would feed her entrepreneurial spirit and desire for a simpler way of life. That’s when she and her mom had the opportunity to launch their gluten-free baking company, which is now one of the most sought-after GF bakeries in the Chicagoland!

Katie is thrilled to return to her roots by combining her passion for both food and writing here on Two Wild Seeds with her older sister, Leslie, and mom, Susan. 

When she’s not in the kitchen or nose-deep in cookbooks, Katie strives to lead a self-sustaining, natural lifestyle and enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors and spending time with her dog, Lola. 

 

For more information and the daily menu visit http://www.twowildseeds.com/