WWOC 15: Playscape

Rita Fredenhagen Harvard, image from Positively Naperville

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Rita Fredenhagen Harvard’s love of Naperville was well-known and indelibly shaped the downtown landscape. Her family founded and owned Prince Castle, which later became the Cock Robin ice cream store. Rita began working at her family’s business at age 12 and would serve as the secretary and treasurer. In 1996, she and her brother Ted donated the store land to the community. The site of Cock Robin became the Grace and Walter Fredenhagen Park. She was also an avid volunteer, serving on the institutional review board for Edward Hospital, Police and Fire Board of Commissioners, Grace Methodist Church steering committee, and North Central College Board of Trustees. Her father was a founding member of the Naperville Rotary Club in the 1940s. Rita would become its first female member in 1987 and first female president in 1994. She has won numerous awards from local organizations, all noting her commitment to the community. She, along with her husband John Harvard, left a generous gift for Naper Settlement’s early childhood education center.