The Oak Park Connection

What do Carol Shields, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway all have in common? They all lived in Oak Park Illinois. 

In February I visited the home of writer Ernest Hemingway in Key West Florida. I wrote about it in a blog post called Six Toed Cats, A Spanish Birthing Chair and His Last Penny. I was surprised to learn on my tour that the Nobel Prize winning writer had been born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. 

Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park

Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park

I had visited Oak Park in December of 2011 and toured the studio of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I wrote a post about that visit during which we saw many of the beautiful homes Frank Lloyd Wright had designed in the Oak Park neighborhood.  

I had written a newspaper column about Carol Shields shortly after her death.  I discovered that she was revered, not only in Canada, but also in Hong Kong where I made my home at the time. I later posted a version of that column on my blog and realized that like Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway, Carol Shields too had lived in Oak Park, Illinois. It is where she was born.

That seemed too much of a coincidence to me so I decided to find out if any other famous people had called Oak Park Illinois home. Was I ever surprised to learn that……

Comedian Bob Newhart was born and raised in Oak Park. 

and so was Ray Kroc the founder of the McDonalds franchise. 

comedic actress Betty White was born in Oak Park too

and Edgar Rice Borroughs who wrote the Tarzan series of books was raised there. 

And that wasn’t all. Wikipedia listed more than a hundred people who made a name for themselves in politics, sports, entertainment, literature and science and spent part of their life living in Oak Park. 

I’m not sure what made Oak Park such a breeding ground for successful people. Perhaps most cities produce their share of the rich and famous. Taking a look at the Wikipedia list for famous people from Winnipeg, I discovered it’s even longer than Oak Park’s!

Other posts about famous people…..

Getting Up Close and Personal with Thomas Edison

Dikembe Mutombo Has My Book

Meeting a Famous Children’s Author

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