This is a big year for you Brookfield — 125 years, in fact. As one might well imagine there has been much progress and many changes in the village originally called Grossdale until it was changed to Brookfield in 1905.
It was Samuel Eberly Gross, a lawyer turned real estate investor, who “founded” the community, hence the name Grossdale. The year was 1888.
In 1889, he began selling lots and in 1893 its new residents voted to officially incorporate the municipality, hence the reason for this year’s celebration. In 1905 the village board voted to change the name to Brookfield, but the founder’s name can still be seen on the former main train station, which is now home to the village’s historical museum as well as S.E. Gross Middle School.
It has been nice to observe Brookfield’s growth and change over the years, and having grown up in Riverside, I have observed many of the changes up close.
Eight Corners is a fun place to explain to newcomers or outsiders. At one time, the roundabout was not there, and when people asked how we navigated it, I would simply reply that you would close your eyes, point your car in the direction you wanted to go and step on the gas. It now is more navigable, if people aim to be polite as they venture around.
I also remember going to the Jewel, now CVS, or Fingerhut Bakery, now Mary’s Morning Mix-Up and Fisher’s Drug store, now Brookfield Ale House.
Our favorite? Sir Gerold’s Pub located on the north side of the tracks where a condominium building now stands. It was a great restaurant and had a separate bar area where area people would meet, socialize and imbibe.
Walking into the establishment, you would be see a large suit of armor almost like a sentry. I think there may have been a few attempts to abscond with the armor, which may have happened after someone had over socialized.
Sir Gerold’s was owned and operated by Blanche and Lou Kucera, who made “regulars” feel like family. For many years it was where the Riverside Kiwanis met.
I have patronized many of the shops in Brookfield over the years. For the Birds near Eight Corners is one of Husband Joe’s most frequently stops, getting his bird seed and an occasional gift for me (that is not bird seed) since the shop has many nice gift items.
Well congrats, Brookfield. There will be more to write as you continue your celebration. I’ll be glad to celebrate with you!