Committee seeks input on best way to memorialize famous author
One of Waukegan’s most famous authors will come home again soon.
A Waukegan group is now seeking unique sculptural ideas on how best to honor Ray Bradbury, one of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century.
Bradbury lived in Waukegan until he was 13. Even after moving to California, he fondly remembered his childhood in Waukegan, poring over books in the stacks of the Carnegie Library, watching movies at the Genesee Theatre, and walking home through the ravine. Many of his writings take place or mention Waukegan, including the 1957 “Dandelion Wine”, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” in 1962, and his last novel in 2006, “Farewell Summer”. He died in 2012 at the age of 91.
“Bradbury should hold a place of honor in Waukegan because this is where he grew up and his passion for learning is an inspiration to the community,” said Richard Lee, Executive Director of the Waukegan Public Library and chair of the Ray Bradbury Statue Committee.
About ten years ago, Waukegan memorialized another famous son of Waukegan, Jack Benny, with a life-sized statue of his likeness, but Lee says that the Bradbury sculpture could be anything from a typewriter to a firefighter.
“We are looking for a way to make Bradbury live forever, like his character Mr. Electrico in “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. We want to honor him in a big way,” said Lee.
The committee is still considering various sites around Waukegan’s downtown area and the chosen sculpture may influence the final location.
Bradbury supported the Waukegan Public Library throughout his entire career. He sponsored the Library’s Creative Contest for 30 years, personally hand-signing the winner certificates each year. And, in 2005, Bradbury permitted the library to use his name and present an annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival around Halloween, his favorite time of year. And last January, the Library was named one of three beneficiaries of his personal estate.
Sculpture ideas may be sent by mail or email to Richard Lee at the Waukegan Public Library, 128 North County Street, Waukegan, IL, 60085 or richardlee [at] waukeganpl [dot] info. For more information or if you are interested in contributing to the project, contact Lee at (847) 623-2041, ext. 250. It is intended that the statue will be fully funded by charitable donations and sponsors. All donations are tax deductible.
The committee meets every fourth Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m. in the Waukegan Public Library board room at 128 North County Street.