Walking WilmetteJuly 15th, 2012 at 4:00 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
This is the most prominent landmark of Wilmette, Illinois, the Baha’i Temple, located by Lake Michigan. Here’s more on the Baha’i faith and the connection to Wilmette. The temple is easily seen if you’re flying into O’Hare from the east. Here’s some famous people from Wilmette. The population of 27,087 is down about 2,000 from when I was in school here – people are having smaller families. The town is 11% Asian-American. The family next to us for many years was from Japan and they were just wonderful neighbors. Friday evening, I walked several miles through Wilmette and the smaller suburb to the north, Kenilworth. It had rained a little, which cooled the air down to the mid 70s, but the dewpoint was also near 70, so the air was thick. I stopped by Homer’s Ice Cream where we hung out in high school. The place was full on a warm, summer night. I didn’t recognize anyone. I hadn’t really lived here since the late 1960s and anyone from my high school days would look different. I passed a house with a small in-ground swimming pool in the backyard (very rare in east Wilmette where you don’t have the room) and kids there were laughing and playing. With the drought, there are no mosquitoes. I watched a black cat pouncing on a critter. It might have been a tree frog. There were people riding bicycles and walking dogs. I briefly talked to a woman and her two daughters who were walking their four rescue-dogs. The Crystal Cave (glassware) had gone out of business. I watched people get off one of the trains. The train tracks from Chicago to Milwaukee are backwards because it was owned by a British Company…so northbound is on the left and southbound is on the right. My parents moved to Wilmette from Evanston (next door) when I was three, building a small house on a small lot. Housing was much cheaper here back in 1954. Today, the prices (and taxes) are high. In the Thursday Chicago Tribune, they published the highest annual taxes in Wilmette. These are mainly for homes on Lake Michigan or across the street from Gilson Park (the beach park). The highest annual tax bill was $156,456.10. This is one year of Wilmette property tax for a lot that was not terribly big. #2 was $151,327.56. Yikes! Kenilworth has an average home listing price of $1,282,500 and there were no foreclosures in Kenilworth last year. Twenty-four properties were sold in Kenilworth all of last year. Wilmette had 334 sales and home values generally decline as you move away from Lake Michigan (my mother has a condo about 2 miles west of the lake). I much prefer W. Michigan. You get twice the house for half the money. The prevailing southwest winds usually give our side the lake the warmer water and we get more snow to play in during the winter and a few degrees of added warmth as the air crosses Lake Michigan. I’m always impressed with the quiet here in Wilmette, with the exception of the right now, when the cicadas (the annual ones) are making lots of noise in the evening. However, they abruptly stop about 1/2 hour after sunset, like flipping a switch. Wilmette is getting lots of tear-downs…with new houses built in their place. We lived in 2 houses in Wilmette…the first one my dad was general contractor for and was a small 2-bedroom with my brother and I sharing a room that fit a bunk bed and a desk and that was it. When my sister was born, we moved to a home about a mile away with 3 bedrooms. The house (built around 1914) didn’t have ducts and had baseboard, hot water heat (so, no air conditioning). Saturday, we visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens (my mother is a member). We saw a Food Network demonstration that featured Michigan blueberries! I met the representative from Michigan who recognized me and I talked to several ladies who came by bus from Kalamazoo. Each family got a free lemon basil plant. We head back home this (Sunday) evening.