A “gentleman, churchman, and man’s man,” the Arlington Heights Garden Club honored Gilbert Krohn with a Memorial Stone in 1971 placed in the ‘Welcome to Arlington Heights Garden’ on NW highway and Highland Avenue. Over time Northwest Highway grew to four lanes putting the Memorial Stone near the edge of the curb and 47 years managed to bury half the stone under ground. With the coordinated efforts of Ashley Karr, the Village Forestry Crew Chief, the Arlington Heights Garden Club and Dan Schoeneberg the Museum Administrator
the stone was lifted from where it was resting for 47 years and moved to a prominent place in the Museum garden.
We should all be blessed with Gil’s green thumb and landscaping talent! If you visited his home at 542 South Dunton, the Fuji dogs would have been guarding the bridge to the Japanese garden. Huge rocks and a waterfall added to the visual and auditory creation of that garden; in addition dwarfed evergreens and strange shaped trees were planted in the Japanese style. Visiting Gil’s garden would also allow you to see the detail in his pagoda-shaped garage! On the south end of the garden was a mass of color and fragrance from the rows of rose bushes each labeled with the name of the species. The roses were also a former test garden for the famous Jackson and Perkins rose breeders. The roses bloomed for a second time that summer before he died of a fatal heart attack in August 1969.
Gil was a retired steel salesman for Babcock Wilcox Company of Beaver PA for 40 years before retiring in 1967. But he will always be remembered for his leadership on the AH Beautification Council which under his direction saw the first planting into the barren earth that lined the railroad tracks along Northwest Highway so the ‘roads that lead into Arlington Height should be beautiful’. His dream was to begin making Arlington Heights the kind of town where every block had a pleasant spot of beauty created through design and natural growth.
Gil worked with Carl Klehm on the design of the NW Highway plantings. One of the earliest AHGC projects on record was completed in 1961 with 25 members working with the Arlington Beautification Council to plant crown vetch on the hillside near the railroad tracks. As a founding member of the council Gil worked with the railroad and Village from 1964-66 to beautify land along the RR tracks which was filled with billboards and car dealerships.
Gil secured the agreement with railroad to beautify the ‘right of way’, received approval from the Village Board, persuaded the Railroad to remove railway ties, trees, level the grading, and remove telephone lines. Gil filled the land along the RR tracks with wild flowers and bushes.
Gil was an active member of the AHGC, the AH Beautification Council and had been president of both. St. Simon’s Episcopal Church benefited from his talents as he was in charge of the landscape planning. Gil will now always be remembered here in our Arlington Heights Historical Museum Garden. He was a man on a mission to beautify our town. Stop by the Museum and find the stone that honors one of Arlington Heights special citizens.