While they share the same name, the village of Riverside should not be confused with the Township of Riverside. For example, have the Riverside Township Hall, which many refer to as the village hall. But it’s really simply the location of the offices for the village of Riverside. Have I confused you enough?
To simplify matters, when you walk in the front door go to the office on the left if you have township business. If you have village business, enter the doors on the right.
But there is so much more to the building, no matter what you call it. If the walls could talk, they would tell some very interesting tales.
The first floor alone has been the site of many meetings, village and otherwise. At one time traffic court was held on the first floor. I remember telling myself not to go into the building on Fridays lest someone think I had a traffic ticket.
Upstairs, the auditorium is known for its fascinating, rich, dark wood trim work and the wood arch over the stage. How many local children have been up on that stage for one thing or another?
“Fortnightly” was held for the junior high-age children in the “big” room, where adolescents were taught the social graces and traditional dances.
Ironically, the room was also the site of the Youth Center (before the building next door went up) where area teens would get together to socialize and dance. Needless to say the formality of Fortnightly went right out the window at the Youth Center.
It also hosted Hauser graduation parties, Pinewood Derby, Lions Club chicken dinners, Junior Woman’s Club meetings, fashion shows, movies, large group meetings (political and otherwise), presentations by the radio players and the plays, plays, plays.
The late township Supervisor George Glaser was the first to host plays in the township hall aided by his son, Darel, and Jeanne Sheehan of Riverside, who assembled a troupe of performers and technical people and put on musicals and plays which rivaled many professional theaters.
After a hiatus of a few years, the team of Sheehan and Glaser brought back childrens’ theater to the township hall and the Junior Theater Guild is to be applauded following their last original production “Babes on Broadway.” Hopefully, it will signal the return of more productions.