Dear Friends!  Please join us for the final EMPIRICAL OPERA field trip of 2009-

Deer & coyote spotting, as well as a restorative walk in a natural setting with friends!

A recent sighting in October (photo by Jason Greenberg)

This field trip will be a walk in the woods on Sunday December 20th, 1pm-3pm.

The walk will start at the entrance to Harms Woods at the foot bridge over the river ; we will meet in the first parking lot that is on Harm’s Road just north of its intersection with Old Orchard Road. Bring a snack and comfortable shoes. Kids/Friends/Families are welcome. Click Here for a printable map of our meeting site. Suggested: Bring a snack, camera, water…

Please R.S.V.P. so we know how many people to expect. Or call Jason at 312.405.6522 so we know you are coming and will wait for you at the parking lot. If it snows, GREAT! That’s even better for frolicking and snowplay. If it is raining, call Jason for a status update on the hike.

The Woods in October (photos by Jason Greenberg)

And for a little local perspective, heres info about The Village of Skokie that is home to Harms Woods.

Per the census[5] of 2000, the Village of Skokie was composed of 63,348 people who formed in 23,223 households containing 17,045 families. Since the 1950s, the Village of Skokie has been home to a large Jewish community. Today the population is very racially diverse and integrated, with over one hundred languages spoken within the village. In 1967, Skokie and Porbandar, a city on India’s Kathiawar Penninsula, became sister cities. Porbandar is Mahatma Gandhi‘s birthplace; in his honor, the Village erected a statue of India’s “Father of the Nation”, on the McCormick bicycling trail. In 2003, Money magazine named Skokie, Illinois, among the 80 fastest-growing suburbs in the U.S.

Besides strong manufacturing and retail commerce bases, Skokie’s economy will add health sciences jobs; in 2003, Forest City Enterprises announced their re-development of the vacant Pfizer research laboratories, in downtown Skokie, as the Illinois Science + Technology Park, a 23-acre (93,000 m2) campus of research installations (2-million ft.² [180,000 m²] of chemistry, genomics, toxicology laboratories, clean rooms, NMR suites, conference rooms, etc). In 2006, the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare company announced installing their consolidated data center operations at the park, adding 500 jobs to the economy; also, map maker Rand McNally and online grocer Peapod are headquarterd in Skokie.


In 1888, Skokie was incorporated and named Niles Centre. Around 1910, the spelling of the Village’s name was changed to Niles Center. The Village’s name caused confusion with the neighboring village Niles, Illinois, another village within Niles Township. In the 1930s, a village-renaming campaign emerged. On 15 November 1940, Niles Center became the Village of Skokie.

In the real estate boom of the 1920s, the lands of the Village were much subdivided; many two- and three-flat apartment buildings were built, with the Chicago-style bungalow a dominant architectural specimen, until the Great Crash of 1929, and consequent Great Depression, stopped the boom, rendering the Village homeostatic. It was not until the 1940s and the 1950s, when the baby boom generation moved their families from Chicago to the suburbs, that Skokie’s housing development began again. Consequently, the Village developed commercially, an example being the Old Orchard Shopping Center, currently named Westfield Old Orchard.

During the night of November 27-28, 1934, after a gunfight in nearby Barrington that left two FBI agents dead, two accomplices of the notorious 25-year-old bank-robber Baby Face Nelson (Lester Gillis) dumped his bullet-riddled body (9 gunshot wounds) in a ditch along Niles Center Road adjoining the St. Peter Catholic Cemetery,[6] a block north of Oakton Avenue in the town.[7]

History of the Name

Virgil Vogel’s Indian Place Names in Illinois (Illinois State Historical Society, 1963), records the name Skokie deriving “directly from skoutay or scoti and variant Algonquian words for fire. The reference is to the fact that the marshy grasslands, such as occurred in the Skokie region, were burned over, by the Indians, in order to flush out the game” and “Several persons declare that Skokie is the Indian word for marsh ”.

Allowing for inevitable usage corruptions, this seems correct, because, until about thirty years ago, maps named the Skokie marsh as Chewab Skokie, a probable derivation from Kitchi-wap choku, the Potawatomi term denoting great marsh. Though undocumented, this explanation is credible, because it is consistent with the Skokie area’s former physiography. Like-wise, Skokie might derive from the same Algonquian roots as derives the word Chicagozh’gak and sh’kag, two, different voicings of the base words for skunk and wild leek in languages of this group. Moreover, in Native Placenames of the United States (U. of Oklahoma Pr, 2004), William Bright lists Vogel’s Potawatomi derivation first, but adds reference to the Ojibwa term miishkooki (marsh) recorded in the Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary (Mouton, 1985), by Richard A. Rhodes.