Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Object of the Month, January 2014
"Sheet Music: Des Plaines"
by curator Philip Mohr

Des Plaines adopted the slogan “You Will Like Des Plaines” in 1919. At the time, the Village of Des Plaines was a growing satellite community of Chicago. Trains passed through several times per day carrying freight or passengers. Commuting to and from Des Plaines and other towns had already become a fairly simple task. The village’s promoters competed against similar suburbs trying to attract residents around Chicago. “You Will Like Des Plaines” was a simple appeal to people considering settlement in the growing suburban communities.

Many individuals and organizations used this slogan to boost Des Plaines. Robert F. Risser, president of the Des Plaines Commercial Association, suggested adopting the tagline in 1919. It had been in use by local realtors for at least a few years already. Soon after, Jack Eaton wrote a poem that incorporated “You Will Like Des Plaines” into its chorus and fourth verse. Eaton was not actually a member of the Des Plaines Savings & Loan Association, but was closely associated with it through friendship. He was also a prominent figure in Elks Lodge No. 1526. Resident Savena Ahbe arranged the words to a popular hymn. This printed sheet music based on Eaton’s words became the official song of the Lions Club of Des Plaines in 1924.

If you’re wondering where most of this information came from, you need not look much farther than the printed music itself. At the top of the page are the regular credits, who wrote the music, who wrote the lyrics, who arranged them together. The language for the lyricist is ambiguous. In 1964, workers at the Des Plaines Public Library asked for the name of the lyricist. A few month later, the paper published the answer from someone who had moved away but still received the Des Plaines Suburban Times. Knowing that the lyricist was Jack Eaton and a member of the Des Plaines Savings & Loan Association gives us clues about Jack’s biography and the origins of the song.

More information about the music’s publication is at the bottom of the page. This is where we can see the Lions Club’s adoption of the song. We can also look at the opposite page to see the businesses and organizations that the publisher (the Lions Club) fit the theme of “You Will Like Des Plaines.”

Still, the side of the folder opposite the music offers more Des Plaines history. It lists many reasons for living in or doing business in Des Plaines. Researching and discussing this list would be an entire project itself. If you have more information on any topic in this blog please contact the Des Plaines History Center at 847-391-5399 or


  1. I just updated this blog entry with information from Jack Eaton's daughter, Jeanne Fletcher. Jack was not a member of the Building and Loan Association as the sheet music suggests. Jean says in a letter dated January 12, 2013, "He was not a member of Building and Loans but close friends with those who worked there."

  2. Wow this is wonderful information! I'd appreciate if you'd contact me at your leisure regarding some of this history. The Jefferson information is of particular interest to me.

    Tom Z.