"Finding Frank"

     will explore places throughout the country

     where Frank Vanderlip lived and worked,

       and will explore communities Frank developed.

Finding Frank - The Search Begins

     "General Sherman was marching his troops through Georgia toward the Civil War burning of Atlanta when Charlotte Woodworth Vanderlip traveled to her parents' home on South Lake Street in Aurora, Illinois, about forty miles west of Chicago, to give birth to her son. Frank Arthur Vanderlip was born there on November 17, 1864."
     These are the first words I wrote on what I thought would be a short tour through the life of Palos Verdes founder Frank Vanderlip. Little did I know what a long and eventful journey I had just begun.

     Nine months later, I published a book that weighs in at almost 400 pages. Could have had a baby in that time - instead, I had Frank. I learned a lot about a lot of rather obscure (to me, at least) subjects. The Chicago Exposition, President Garfield's funeral, the Spanish-American War, the Haymarket Riots, several Bank Panics, segregation in 1900s Washington D.C., peafowl, Teapot Dome, the Great Kanto Earthquake. And, of course, the Federal Reserve.

     On each subject, I had to absorb enough knowledge to be able to explain several points to a reader such as myself - why each fact was important not only in Frank's life, but why it was important to the reader. It wasn't just Frank's story; it was the story of 70 years of our country's history as seen from his perspective.

     Now that "Frank A. Vanderlip - The Banker Who Changed America" is finished, Frank has, so to speak, a new lease on life. As I travel and lecture all over the country in places that he developed and where he lived and worked, a new generation is learning about his important role in forming America as we know it today. At the same time, I am learning even more about the man by visiting sites he knew well and walking, almost literally, in his footsteps. It is surprising to see how many of the places he knew and loved are so unchanged from his time, even going back to his birth 150 years ago.

     This series will walk in my footsteps as I follow in his. The entries will not be chronologically posted according to Frank's life, as I never know where and when I will give my next talk in a place Frank formerly experienced. We (the readers and I) will see places that Frank saw, and meet a wonderful cast of present day inhabitants, including archivists, historians, and the full range of people who now live with or in the environments Frank created. We will investigate stories found after the book's publication, as well as some that were not included in it.

     After living with Frank on my computer for nine months, I do admire him very much, but certainly do not hold him in anything like awe. He was a quite normal, Midwestern man who studied and worked hard, and proudly made something of himself.

     So, as we start out on the journey of Finding Frank, let us hope that we will find, not atmosphere that he breathed, but clues to what kind of man he was, and to how his life can help us better our own and appreciate the environment he left for us to enjoy.

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