When first learning that the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles was built in 1954 after Col. Edward J. Baker provided a $1.25 million gift, I was quite surprised its origins didn't date back to at least the 1920s.
Shows you how much I know about architecture. But it is true that the Methodist church's roots go back much farther -- to 1837 in fact.
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The Baker congregation plans to celebrate its 175 years in the city, starting with inviting the public to an open house from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 29, at the church at Main Street and Fourth Avenue.
Visitors can get a closer look at the church's artwork and Christian symbols during guided tours at 3 and 5 p.m.
The church has come a long way since Methodists in St. Charles first met for services in a schoolhouse at Fourth and Cedar avenues.
As much as anything, music has allowed Baker Memorial to stay in the public eye. And what wonderful music it is, coming out of six choirs and various other ensembles under the direction of Jeff Hunt. Visitors can hear for themselves at concerts during the open house, and from noon to 12:30 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 24.
Quick fixes for bikes: The last thing a woman needs during a bike ride is for something to go wrong with the bike, leaving her stranded on a trail.
Jenaiya Stolper, manager of the All Spoked Up bike shop in Batavia, wants to make sure women aren't helpless when it comes to fixing their bikes.
She's offering her second annual free Women's Bike Basics clinic from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, at the store, 3 Webster St.
"I will be showing pretty basic stuff, but if someone would like more advanced information, we can provide that by request," Stolper said.
Women will learn how to repair a flat tire, adjust brakes or make minor gear adjustments, Stolper said.
"Your brakes or gears can encounter problems right in the middle a ride on occasion," she added.
"Most women don't even know how to remove a tire or get the wheel off a bike," Stolper explained.
In addition to providing repair basics, Stolper will inform clinic attendees about basic tools they should have with them on bike rides.
"You really do need to be prepared," she said.
Though I tend to walk area trails rather than ride a bike, I have seen many men and women walking a broken-down bike along the trail. So bikes aren't immune to having unforeseen problems.
Stolper wants to make sure women have a fighting chance to remedy bicycle problems and get back on the trails.
Great timing for turf: You knew the timing of Geneva High School placing artificial turf on its football field would have an interesting twist.
Some might be inclined to think it ironic that the school installs a synthetic surface during a year in which a drought gives the impression that muddy fields may not be an issue, even in the fall.
But can you imagine playing on a dry, rock hard natural field in another five or six weeks? That's a formula for injuries, it would seem. And can you imagine the damage an already lousy field would have suffered from this drought and then having hundreds of football and soccer players running around on it? Burgess Field is far better off with the fake grass.
No pies -- just parts: Now this makes sense: An abandoned restaurant site being turned into an auto-parts store.
There surely couldn't have been much interest in turning the former Baker's Square restaurant site on the east side of St. Charles into another restaurant, considering how places have been opening and closing at breakneck speed in the weak economy.
The former restaurant site already has been reduced to rubble to make way for an Advanced Auto Parts store, which seems to be a good move for the city.
Now, what happens to the former Rex's Cork 'n Fork across in the same general vicinity?
Some Sam I am: Steel Beam Theatre is getting ready to do its part for the St. Charles Summer Theater Festival with the production of "Seussical Jr." Of course, one has to have some green eggs and ham to celebrate. Well, how about pancakes?
The theater is hosting a Green Eggs and Ham Karaoke Pancake Breakfast from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 28, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 29, on the First Street Plaza. Even Sam-I-am would go for this event at $5 per person or $20 per family.
Antiques and history: Folks passing through Geneva the past two days may have noticed a tent sale unfolding at Antiques on State.
The shop at 422 W. State St. is celebrating five years of business "in a challenging economy," but manager Karen Klaske said the store also would donate 5 percent of its sales from the anniversary weekend to the Geneva History Center. The tent sale continues Sunday with a drawing for a $100 store gift certificate. In addition, the store plans to continue storewide sales through Aug. 5 as part of the fifth anniversary celebration.
Planting in pink?: It seems Wasco Nursery is preparing to go pink again.
The nursery's second annual Pink Night fundraiser to benefit breast cancer research is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26.
In addition to raising money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Wasco Nursery event donates funds to support the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center and the Delnor Center for Breast Health.
The event features raffles, refreshments and special events. T
he cost is $5 per person, which includes one raffle ticket if paid in advance. More information or registration is available at the nursery on Route 64, six miles west of Randall Road, or by calling (630) 584-4424.
Event organizers remind those planning to attend that Route 64 construction is farther west and won't affect access to Wasco Nursery.