Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Lois Wille  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1931 in Chicago

-- Lois Wille on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Lois Wille was born in Chicago and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Lois spent her entire 35-year newspaper career in Chicago. She was a reporter on the Chicago Daily News from 1956 to 1977. In 1978, Lois went to work for the Chicago Sun-Times until 1984. She then went to the Chicago Tribune and from 1987 until her retirement in May of 1991, she was editorial page editor of the Tribune.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront

Regnery. 1972

Of the thirty miles of Lake Michigan shoreline within the city limits of Chicago, twenty-four miles is public park land. The crown jewels of its park system, the lakefront parks bewitch natives and visitors alike with their brisk winds, shady trees, sandy beaches, and rolling waves. Like most good things, the protection of the lakefront parks didn't come easy, and this book chronicles the hard-fought and never-ending battles Chicago citizens have waged to keep them "forever open, clear, and free."

Illustrated with historic and contemporary photographs, Wille's book tells how Chicago's lakefront has survived a century of development. The story serves as a warning to anyone who thinks the struggle for the lakefront is over, or who takes for granted the beauty of its public beaches and parks.

"A thoroughly fascinating and well-documented narrative which draws the reader into the sights, smells and sounds of Chicago's story. . . . Everyone who cares about the development of land and its conservation will benefit from reading Miss Wille's book."—Daniel J. Shannon, Architectural Forum

"Not only good reading, it is also a splendid example of how to equip concerned citizens for their necessary participation in the politics of planning and a more livable environment."—Library Journal

At Home in the Loop: How Clout and Community Built Chicago's Dearborn Park
ISBN: 0809322250

Southern Illinois University Press. 1998

Lois Wille’s illustrated account provides behind-the-scenes insight into how a small number of Chicago business leaders transformed the dangerous and seedy South Loop into an integrated and thriving community in the heart of the central city.

The obstacles to the evolution of Dearborn Park were quite formidable, including a succession of six mayors, huge economic impediments, policy disputes engendered among people used to making their own corporate decisions, the wretched reputation of the South Loop, problems with the Chicago public school system, and public mistrust of a project supported by the wealthy, no matter how altruistic the goal. It took twenty years and millions of dollars, but it will pay off and in fact is paying off right now.

With Dearborn Park, Chicago left a formula that other cities can use to turn fallow land into vibrant neighborhoods—without big government subsidies. As Wille explains, the realization of this vision requires shared investment and shared risk on the part of local businesses, financial institutions, and government. It links private and public influence and capital. Wille explains how these elements worked together to build a neighborhood in a blighted tract of Chicago’s Loop. She also describes how key decisions affecting the public interest were made during a time of profound change in the city’s political life: Dearborn Park was conceived during the final years of the most powerful political machine in America and had to adapt as that machine crumbled and city government was reshaped


-- Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for Public Service in 1963 for a series of ''Chicago Daily News'' articles covering the refusal of public health agencies in Chicago and Cook County to provide contraceptive services for indigent women.

-- Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for Editorial Writing in 1989 for her editorial writing as the editorial page editor for the ''Chicago Tribune''.