5 Trailblazers You Should Know From Oak Park, Illinois

Frank Lloyd Wright, Betty White and Ernest Hemingway are just a few of the famous people who have called Oak Park, Illinois, home

Just 8 miles from downtown Chicago, the village of Oak Park has been a home to people like architect Frank Lloyd Wright, author Ernest Hemingway and Dr. Percy Julian, a researcher who helped develop treatments for glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

More recent residents include Ludacris, Betty White and NBA player Iman Shumpert.

But the village has helped mold other historic figures too. Here are five more you should know.

Harriette Gillem Robinet, Author

Born and raised in Washington D.C, Harriette Gillem Robinet had a full career as a microbiologist before moving to Oak Park. There, she launched her second career as a children's book writer. Robinet has written nearly a dozen award-winning books of historical fiction that feature children during notable periods of American history. Some of her books include "Jay and the Marigold," "Ride the Red Cycle" and "Children of the Fire."

Ray Kroc, Businessman

Ray Kroc, who built the McDonald's hamburger chain to an international operation with more than $3 billion in annual sales.

Ray Kroc grew up in south Oak Park and is credited with spearheading the global expansion of McDonald's. He bought the fast food company from the McDonald brothers in 1961 and served as its CEO from 1967 to 1973. Kroc is known to have created a new category of "fast food restaurant" and pledged consistent quality, service, cleanliness and value. After retiring, Kroc owned the San Diego Padres baseball team.

Grace Wilbur Trout, Suffragist

Grace Wilbur Trout, president of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association; probably in Chicago, Illinois, July 18, 1914. (Photo by Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Grace Wilbur Trout and her family moved to Oak Park in 1903. She strongly believed in voting equality and served as president of two well-known suffrage organizations, the Chicago Political Equality League and Illinois Equal Suffrage Association. She was instrumental in the passing of the "Illinois Suffrage Act," which gave women partial suffrage by allowing them to vote in local and national elections in 1913. 

Dr. Bernard Fantus, Physician

Dr. Bernard Fantus, a Hungarian American physician, established the first blood bank at Cook County Hospital in 1937. Before the blood bank, emergency blood transfusions were limited because blood could not be stored and transfusions required the immediate availability of the donor. Hospitals around the world now use this method to store blood. Fantus lived in Oak Park until his death in 1940. 

Geraldine McCullough, Artist

Geraldine McCollough was a renowned sculptor and painter. She rose to fame after her steel and copper sculpture, "Phoenix," won a George D. Widener Gold Medal in the 1960s. McCollough was a distinguished guest artist of the Russian government and her work was exhibited at such respected institutions as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the National Woman’s Museum.