Olympia Fields, Illinois is a small village located in Cook County, about 25 miles south of Chicago. Despite its small size, the area has a rich history and has been the site of several significant events. From political scandals to famous robberies, here are seven historical events that have taken place near Olympia Fields.
1. The 1972 Democratic National Convention - The Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago in 1972 and served as a platform for anti-war protests and clashes with police. While the convention itself was held in downtown Chicago, many protesters were housed at the former Sheraton Hotel (now Holiday Inn Chicago Matteson Conference Center) in Olympia Fields.
2. The Infamous Great Train Robbery of 1853 - This legendary robbery took place on October 6, 1853, when a gang of thieves stopped a train near the modern-day intersection of 203rd Street and Governors Highway. The robbers made off with a large sum of cash, but most were eventually caught and brought to justice.
3. The Rise of Olympia Fields as a Summer Resort Town - In the late 19th century, Olympia Fields and the surrounding area became a popular destination for wealthy Chicagoans seeking a rural getaway. Many large estates and vacation homes were built in the area, including the Schlosser Mansion, which is now a historic landmark.
4. The Trial of Illinois Governor Otto Kerner - Otto Kerner was the governor of Illinois from 1961 to 1968, when he resigned after being convicted of bribery and other corruption charges. Kerner's trial was held in nearby federal court in Chicago, but he was a longtime resident of Olympia Fields.
5. The Formation of the Olympia Fields Park District - In 1953, local residents formed the Olympia Fields Park District to provide recreational opportunities for the community. The park district still operates several parks, swimming pools, and athletic facilities in the area today.
6. The Flight of US Airways Express Flight 5481 - On October 19, 2004, a small commuter plane crashed in a residential area of nearby Chicago Midway Airport, killing all 20 people on board. Many residents of Olympia Fields witnessed the crash and the aftermath.
7. The Founding of the Olympia Fields Country Club - In 1915, a group of local businessmen founded the Olympia Fields Country Club, which quickly became a popular destination for golfers and socialites. The club has hosted several major golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
These are just a few of the many historical events that have taken place near Olympia Fields. While the area may be small, it has played a significant role in the history of the Chicago region and continues to be a lively and vibrant community today.
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