Naperville Art: Naperville’s Own
The Century Walk initiative started in 1996 with three works of art: “River Reveries,” “The Printed Word” and “Naperville’s Own.”
“River Reveries” is a grouping of two mosaic-adorned benches across from the Riverwalk near Egg Harbor Restaurant. “The Printed Word” was originally painted on the a wall of The Sun newspaper building until it was torn down and then repainted on a wall at Ellman’s Music until it also came down to make room for Q-BBQ. The third piece, “Naperville’s Own,” is on the wall of what is currently US Bank at the corner of Washington and Jefferson.
Back in 1996, the building was a Firstar Bank and artist S. Michael Re said he was subject to some suspicious stares as he drilled into the bank’s wall to mount the sculpture.
That corner of Washington and Jefferson has long hosted a bank, although the name and even the architecture has changed over the years. Willard Scott, and later Willard Scott, Jr. started a bank in their Washington Street store in 1854. By 1907, the First National Bank was operating on that location.
Re’s sculpture celebrates one of our community’s treasures: the Naperville Municipal Band. Originally known as the Naperville Brass Band and later as the Naperville Light Guard Band, this organization also dates from the time of Willard Scott as it was started in 1859.
The relief sculpture is meant to show band members marching through history, from the “old” bandstand on the left side to the “new” band shell. There have been several performance centers over the years. The first bandstand was built in the 1880s. You can see a replica of it at the Naperm Settlement today. It was replaced by another wooden structure in the 1920s which was in turn replaced in the 1960s by a bigger band shell. That is the one depicted on the right side of the sculpture, the one still in use in 1996.
Today we enjoy an even newer Community Concert Center which hosted its first Naperville Municipal Band concert in the summer of 2003.