Rod Sellers
Southeast Historical Society
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Southeast Historical Society News
January, 2002                                            Volume XV No. 4

A Few Words From the President

The last few months have been rather busy for your officers and volunteer museum staff. 
     Near the end of November I had the privilege of visiting with Mrs. Ruth Sampson and viewing her family’s Civil War items.  Of major interest was the diary of John S. Hamilton who had met Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during his famous address at Gettysburg.  Later Mr. Hamilton served with the U.S. Cavalry until June 1865.  This gentleman was the great-grandfather of our local East Side Lion, Paul Sampson.
     December 1st saw some of your officers participating in the East Side Chamber’s Santa Claus Parade.  We went in style – riding in my 1991 Plymouth – no marching in the brisk wind for this group!
     Our museum was open on the first Sunday of  December as announced in the October newsletter.  Quite a few people visited and were pleased to view our collections.  We asked them to pass on the word about our new Sunday hours.  A long-time member, Kathleen Moore, came to pay her past dues and was pleased to converse about our community history.
      We thank Prof. Dan Cook of the University of Illinois for furnishing transcripts of some of our oral history tapes.
      We also thank the Knights of St. Florian Society No. 44 for their generous gift of $1,000 to our society that was presented to Alex Savastano, our Past President, at their recent dinner.
     Later in the month, I had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Gloria Eicki, a long-time resident of the East Side.  As a result of our meeting she showed me some wonderful floral pencil drawings dated 1885 by a distant relative, Mr. John Wegener.   I intend to frame and mat them to preserve them for future viewing.
     We still are in dire need of someone to handle and put out our quarterly newsletter – any volunteers?
     Finally, have you seen the outstanding new book, Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited by our fellow member and officer, scholar and very dedicated South Sider, Rod Sellers?
     Happy New Year!
by Joseph A. Mulac

Museum News Items

       Dan Radakovich, a long time East Sider and member of the Southeast Historical Society, recently paid the Museum a couple of visits.  He donated to the Museum several newspaper clippings which told of his days as a professional baseball player in the New York Yankee farm system.  He was drafted by the Yankees before World War II and played for the organization through the 1940's.  He was a highly rated catcher and during one season he led his team in hitting.  He played for the Buffalo Bisons of the International League.  Many of the articles make for very interesting reading.  They show how the game of baseball and the times have changed.  Come in to the Museum during the cold months (“The Hot Stove League”) and have some fun reading about the local flavor in America’s favorite sport. 
 We have numerous photos and articles about the great sports teams on the Southeast Side.  We have trophies, team photos, uniforms and more.  Do you remember the East Side Maroons, the Sundodgers, Marty and Joe’s Chiefs, the  Bonivirs?  Do you have any sports memorabilia which can be donated to the Museum or loaned to the Museum for displayt and duplication?  Bring articles in to the Museum on Thursday between 1:00 and 4:00 PM. or call 773-721-7948.
by Barney Janecki

Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited

Our second pictorial history has been published and is now available.  See the announcement about our “Kickoff Event” and the order form included in this newsletter.  The book may be purchased at the Museum during regular operating hours.  Spread the word about the book to your relatives and  friends and especially to former residents of the area. 

Are Your Dues Current?

The Southeast Historical Society is in the process of converting our membership list and financial information to computer files.  Are your dues paid up to date?  Annual dues are only $5 and the membership year runs from March to March.  A Life Membership only costs $50 at present and you will never have to worry about paying dues again.  Dues may be paid at the Southeast Historical Museum any Thursday during regular operating hours (1:00 PM to 4:00 PM) or at the Annual Meeting which will take place at the Southeast Historical Museum in the Calumet Park Field House on Saturday, March 16, 2002 at 10:00 AM.  Our dues are used to cover the cost of our quarterly newsletter and other mailings.  If you have moved recently please notify Museum personnel of your new address. 
Museology Update
Our Museology class continues to add to the materials available to the public from Chicago’s Southeast Side.  During the first semester, students have been working on the web site (  They have added pages on Bessemer, Russell Square, Mann, and Trumbull Parks, taverns and saloons in Hegewisch, the East Side and South Deering, the development of the 106th Street business district, Acme Steel, Jeffrey Manor, and more.  If you have not seen the web site you are in for a treat and if you haven’t visited the site for a while there is a lot of new material to see.  We continue to receive e-mail from across the country and even from overseas about our web site. 
 During the second semester the Museology class will be working on a project entitled “Cultural Institutions on the Southeast Side”.  Cultural institutions include churches, schools, ethnic organizations, and clubs.  The project will involve several components including further development of the web site, a booklet similar to others previously published, and a tour for the Cultural Connection Project of the Field Museum.  The tour will take place on May 18 and will be a student led tour of cultural institutions in the area.  The project has received additional funding from the Disney Learning Partnership through a $2000 grant and a $2000 grant from the Oppenheimer Family Foundation.  Both grants were written by Museology coordinator Rod Sellers. 

Recent Museum Acquisitions

The Southeast Historical Museum recently received an amazing set of aerial photographs of the Southeast Side from an anonymous donor.  The photographs were taken in the late 1930's and during the 1940's and depict the region before much of the post World War II residential development of the community had occurred.  Wetlands and undeveloped land can be seen where houses, schools and parks exist today.  The photos were rescued from  a dumpster behind the Chicago Park District Administration Building which was recently demolished.  Many thanks to the donor who was aware of the historical value of these materials and saved them for future generations.  Let this also be a lesson to all lovers of community history.  Keep your eyes and ears opened.  You never know where you might find history!

Bowen High School Web Site

The Bowen High School Class of 1968 has a web site which has prompted a large number of “Bowenites” to reminisce about their school memories and memories of growing up on the Southeast Side.  There are sections on Commercial Avenue, on various businesses in the area, on Jeffrey Manor, and more.  The web site may be accessed with the following URL:
There are numerous stories and vignettes which make for very entertaining reading.  Rod Sellers has even made contact with some of his former students from the early 1970's in the formative years of his educational career. 
Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University