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Village Center

Perhaps nowhere else in Orland Park is the character of the community so thoroughly defined as in its Village Center, a dramatic showcase of structures devoted to community service. Striking for its architecture, the 100-acre Village Center is the focal point of Village government, a place for healthy recreation and a gathering point for business and community interests.

Dedicated in 1989, the Village Center is located on property that was once part of John Humphrey’s family farm and is adjacent to the Humphrey Woods and the John Humphrey Sports Complex that debuted in 1981. It is nonpolitical in character with no imposing classical ornamentation and no ostentatious effort to look “governmental.” When the Village Center opened in the late 1980s, people from around the world and across the country visited to admire its innovative architecture.

The Village Center includes three buildings that surround three sides of a small picturesque lake. Designed by Architect Ralph Johnson of the Chicago firm of Perkins and Will, the center structures strongly reflect the influences of Frank Lloyd Wright and his Prairie School of Architecture as well as the ideas of Dutch architect Willem Marinus Dudok. The design unifies soft, curving lines and contrasting angular ones to create a memorable visual impact.

The 42,000-square-foot Frederick T. Owens Village Hall, named for the late mayor who championed the development of the Village Center, is the most prominent of the three buildings. It houses the offices of the mayor, Village clerk, trustees, Village manager and several Village departments. The building’s soaring clock tower is a point of reference for the surrounding area. The u-shaped building wraps the offices of Village officials around a two-story lobby, behind which is the two-story meeting room of the Board of Trustees. Windows covering the north wall flood the board room with natural light, creating a pleasant view of the lake and woods beyond.

The 34,000-square-foot Franklin E. Loebe Recreation Center was named in honor of the late Franklin Loebe, who served as village treasurer for 65 years from 1929 until 1994. The name Loebe has long been synonymous with commerce in Orland Park, as Loebe’s father and uncle opened Orland Park’s first general store in 1898 in Old Orland. Loebe’s office in the Village Hall at one time overlooked the building named for him. Home to the administrative offices for the Village’s Recreation Department, the Loebe Center houses a full-sized gymnasium, a mezzanine running track, classrooms, dance studio, wrestling room and an indoor playground.

The late Village Trustee William R. Vogel was known as “Mr. Orland Park” because of his involvement in so many civic organizations. The 11,000-square-foot Civic Center was dedicated to his memory shortly after his 1996 death. The building includes a large exhibition hall, a unique circular rotunda room, an outdoor terrace that overlooks the lake and the dividable Jane Barnes Annex, named for the late state representative who helped the Village secure the funding for the building in the mid-1980s.

The Orland Park Civic Center can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 1,000 people for meetings, conventions, shows and exhibitions. It is also the ideal setting for training seminars, sporting events, trade and consumer shows, theatrical, cultural, civic, education and commercial activities. Many area residents utilize this contemporary facility for private weddings, showers, christenings and other personal events and reunions.

An arcade-style covered walkway connects the three buildings and provides access to the Village’s outdoor amphitheater, the acoustically perfect coliseum type structure in the middle of the Village Center.

Another striking edifice adorning the Orland Park Village Center is the richly symbolic Veterans Memorial designed by world renowned sculptor Virginio Ferrari. Dedicated on Veterans Day, 1995, the stainless steel sculpture is called, “Ara Pace – Place of Peace,” and lists the names of veterans from throughout the region, both living and deceased. Orland Park’s memorial is believed to be the first of its kind in Illinois and possibly the U.S. to honor all six branches of the armed services.

The Village Center uniquely defines Orland Park as a sophisticated, striking, inventive and spirited community with confidence in itself and in its future. Orland Park’s Village Center is part of the larger civic corridor that includes the Orland Township Center, the Orland Park Public Library and the national award-winning LEED Gold Certified Orland Park Police Station, the first of its kind in the country.

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