The Century Walk Corporation


July 14, 1998 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: Tim West

When one thinks of the subject of statues, the first thing that comes to mind is a famous statesmen in an oratorical pose in a public park, or a bronze general on a bronze horse holding a bronze sword and, under the weight of all that metal, unable to shoo away the pigeon that's sitting on his head.

It is not often that journalists are the subject of the sculptor's art, but in the near future a Naperville original will have her place in the sun, which is fitting because she had a place in The Sun for 40 years.

Genevieve Towsley, who passed away in 1995 at the age of 88, after a long and storied career as a feature writer, columnist and local historian for The Naperville Sun, will have a statue honoring her as part of Naperville's Century Walk.

Pamela S. Carpenter, the sculptor who has been chosen by the Century Walk committee to depict Genevieve, explained the work she is doing to learn her subject at last Thursday's meeting of the Rotary Club of Naperville.

Carpenter is trying to learn about her subject before she begins, by conducting interviews with Caryl Moy, Genevieve's daughter, and Rita Harvard, Genevieve's niece, and studying the stories Genevieve wrote over the years, as well as her book, "A View of Historic Naperville."

The sculptor told me that she intends to depict Genevieve sitting at a table working on notes for a story, and that she is going to use Caryl Moy as a model for her mother.

The site for the sculpture will be at the front of the new Washington Corners building, currently under construction on the northeast corner of Washington and Chicago Avenue.

The other new Century Walk project discussed Thursday is a mural, planned for the side wall of Anderson's Book Store on Jefferson Avenue, west of Main Street, that will be done partly by 250 Kennedy Junior High School students.

A lot of the subject of that mural will be centered on diversity.

It is interesting, and fitting, that this mural will be done at the same time as Genevieve's statue, because she used her column to address topics such as poverty, medical care for migrant workers, homelessness and racial prejudice.

In that last regard, in 1954, she took up the cause of blacks who, while attending a conference at North Central College, were refused admission to Centennial Beach, which at that time was run by the city.

Genevieve did a little social engineering at the packed City Council meeting that resulted from all this by arranging to have each council member's clergyman in attendance, sitting in plain view of the council.  Thus was Centennial Beach officially integrated.

I think Genevieve would have appreciated the statue, though she might have wondered what all the fuss was about, and she particularly would have liked its going up at the same time as the mural on diversity.

A statue of a champion of racial justice juxtaposed with a mural on diversity will be appropriate additions to Century Walk.

Tim West is the commentary editor for Sun Publications.

His e-mail address is tjwest(at)chicago.avenew.com.


Section: NEWS — Page: 8