by
Rod Sellers
Southeast Historical Society
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Southeast Historical Society News

January, 2003                                                                           Volume XVI No. 3

HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR

A Few Words From the President:

      Last October 22nd and 23rd, our society participated in the University of Chicago's "Know Your Chicago" Program's two day long bus tours of our communities entitled "Lake Calumet, Where Industry Meets Nature."
     Among the tour guides were members of our society, namely, Rod Sellers, "local native guides" Barney Janecki, Alex Savastano and myself, Marian Byrnes, and many people from several City of Chicago departments.
     The tour started at the East Side United Methodist Church with welcomes from Rev. Zaki L. Zaki, Alderman John Pope, Rod Sellers and various representatives from local environmental and ecological associations, other city representatives and the sponsors of the tour. 
     After boarding the buses we proceeded to Calumet Park and saw the heliport, the U.S. Coast Guard Station and our museum and then traveled south down Ewing Avenue.
     Heading south through the East Side we noted our civic memorial on 100th Street, many of the local churches and schools and the Republic Steel site as we went on to Hegewisch, passing Wolf Lake and the William Powers Conservation Area and the new manufacturing campus on the west side of Avenue O.
     In Hegewisch we saw the new South Shore Electric commuter station, the new library, churches, schools and the commercial district as we proceeded northward into the southern end of the manufacturing campus which will supply parts to the Ford Assembly Plant on Torrence Avenue.
     The wetlands preservation efforts were noted as we went to 122nd Street and westward to the eastern shore of Lake Calumet, again noting the existence of various ecological preservation sites.
     After a luncheon at the Harborside Golf Center and hearing from the representatives of the developer, Ford Motor Company and our local environmental preservation activists, we boarded the buses and went on to South Deering.
     Going through Irondale, the location of Wisconsin Steel and General Mills and other sights, such as churches and schools, were pointed out.
     Approaching the South Chicago commercial district we saw various old and new business ventures, including the new Metra station.
     We passed Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial across the street.  Going north, we saw the site of the old U.S.S. South Works Plant along the lake.
     The "local native guides" left the buses near St. Michael's Church on 83rd Street.  We certainly saw commonplace things with a new perspective!
     Mid-December saw Rod and I going to a committee meeting of the Chicago Landmarks Commission to add to our request for establishing landmark status of the Columbus Monument/Drake Fountain on 92nd Street we had mentioned in our October newsletter.  The request will be brought up to the commission during the spring (March) and it is hoped on to the City Council for approval later in the year.
     We hope that this newsletter finds that you all had a very nice Christmas and the beginning of a happy new year. 
by Joe Mulac
Annual Meeting
       The Southeast Historical Society will conduct its annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 22, 2003 in the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 Avenue G at 11 AM.  The officers presented by the nominating committee will be announced at the meeting.  Nominations for officers may be made from the floor.   All members are urged to attend and vote on the new slate of officers at this meeting.   Refreshments will be served. 

Community Theater

       For a long time we have wanted to have community theater for or residents, so the Southeast Community Theater Group is off and running.  Some talented directors, writers, special effects people, and actors are writing and preparing for their first major project in May of this year.  It will be the story of the infamous Memorial Day Massacre which occurred on May 30, 1937.  The Memorial Hall, where the group meets on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM, is across the street from the spot where the terrible confrontation occurred at 117th and Avenue O.  Anyone interested in more information and/or participating in the production are welcomed to come on out. 
                                            by Frank Stanley
Proposed Memorial
     In view of the transfer in ownership of the building housing the offices of United Steelworker Local 1033, which represented worker at LTV (formerly Republic) Steel, some folks have discussed the formation of a partnership to erect and display a fitting and suitable memorial to the Steelworkers' legacy on the Southeast Side with particular emphasis on Local 1033 and the famed strike at Republic Steel in 1937. 
       Pastor Zaki Zaki of the East Side United Methodist Church and new operator of the facility at 11731 S. Avenue O has agreed with the notion of a tribute to the memory of the Steelworkers, their contributions to the community, and their place in the history of the region.  Rev. Zaki, director of "The Zone", the new name for the facility that has opened its doors to the community, agrees that a prominent display inside the building would forever remind visitors of the memory and history of the Steelworkers and help educate a new generation of Southeast Siders to that heritage.  For further information contact the Southeast Historical Society or Tom Shepherd (773-928-0664 or tomshepherd2001@yahoo.com )
                                               by Tom Shepherd

 
East Sider Makes Good
     James Fattore, a resident of the East Side, began his career at Calumet College of St. Joseph in 1960.  He is a professor of management and directs the Calumet College Management Institute which he founded in the   late 1980's.  During the 1980's Fattore helped organize and staff the College Degree Completion Division which operated accelerated  programs that lead to a bachelor's degree.  Fattore earned a Master of Business Administration degree from DePaul University in 1951.  It is estimated that Fattore taught approximately half of all Calumet College of St. Joseph graduates, some 4,000, during his 42 year tenure.  Eighty five per cent of those graduates reside and work in northwest Indiana and Chicago.  Calumet College of St. Joseph has announced the creation of the college's first endowed professorship.  The "James L. Fattore Endowed Chair in Business" will provide a lasting tribute to the professor of management and to his dedication and inspirational teaching.  The effort is led by a group of alumni.  Professor Fattore plans to retire within the next two years.  Congratulations on a job well done.
                                            by Alex Savastano 

 
Neighborhood Memories 
     Do you remember Frank Kralj's (Frank King's) Tavern on 95th Street?  Well, the statue of the hunter is still there.  The figure was created by a German blacksmith and stonecutter who died in 1911.  The story ends there until Gerry Michaels inquired at our museum about a baby picture taken at one of Frank's annual picnics held for families of his clientele.  Gerry relates that a prize was given to the cutest and fattest baby from among those in attendance at the picnic.  We put Gerry in touch with Diane and Edward Kralj, now residing in Florida, to see if the baby pictures still exist.  (I think the picture is of Gerry but he does not admit it.)  The Kralj's were happy to hear from us and say they love the Florida weather and their beautiful condo, but miss their many friends here.  Oh, yes, They will inquire around to see if anyone can shed any light on the lost baby pictures. 
                                               by Frank Stanley

 
May Tour
       Our society continues as a partner in the Cultural Connections Program sponsored by the Field Museum's Center for Cultural Understanding and Change.  Currently there are twenty one members in this partnership.  Partners in the program conduct presentations reflecting an annual theme chosen by the member organizations.  This year's theme is "With Our Hands: Crafting Culture".  On May 31, 2003 the Southeast Historical Society will be conducting a tour of the Southeast Side looking at the "built environment."  The tour description is as follows:
       "Join us for a tour of the built environment on Chicago's Southeast Side.  See industrial sites which drew workers to the area.  See different styles of houses and residences built by those who lived in the area.  See commercial structures, parks, churches, and schools which served the neighborhoods.   See some of the new economic initiatives under development on the Southeast Side.  The tour will begin at the Southeast Historical Museum, and conclude with a hearty ethnic meal in a local establishment." 
       The fee for the tour is $17 ($15 if you are a member of the Southeast Historical Society).   If you are interested in attending the tour call 312-665-7474 or e-mail the Cultural Connections Office at ccuc@fmnh.org  Make arrangements early, our tours have sold out quickly for the past two years.  Additional information about the Cultural Connections Program, including links to partner organizations, is available on our web site (www.neiu.edu/~reseller ) or at the museum. 

Come South for a Taste of the North

Frank Savastano, son of Alex Savastano former president of the Southeast Historical Society, is opening Savastano's Pizzeria and Restaurant in Bixby, Oklahoma a suburb of Tulsa.  The restaurant will have a Chicago theme with "Chicago Style" pizza being the main entree along with pastas and Italian sandwiches.  Frank invites all southeast siders traveling through Bixby to stop in for a taste of Chicago while you are on the road.
                                            by Alex Savastano

 
Museum Audio Donation
     Historical society member John Clasby recently donated eleven tapes of various "old time" radio shows.  They were mainly vintage Chicago radio such as the Breakfast Club from the collection of Tom Konard who runs the Aircheck Factory of Wild Rose Wisconsin.  John makes the suggestion that we ask you, our newsletter audience, if you have any original tapes of Chicago shows and fringe market stations like WGRY, Gary (1962-64), WWCA, Gary (1950's - 1970's) etc.  If you are interested in more details call John at 773-646-6366.  He is not interested in the listed tapes compiled by the Aircheck Factory (copy in the Southeast Historical Museum).
                                                by Frank Stanley

 
Local Authors Panel Discussion
     On November 11, 2002 a panel discussion with four of our local authors was held at the Vodak East Side Library.  A lively presentation of their respective books and what it takes to be an author ensued.  Present were:  Kevin Murphy author of Degrees of Murder, a murder mystery which takes place in the Calumet region;  Rod Sellers co-author of Chicago's Southeast Side and author of Chicago's Southeast Side Revisited;  James Klekowski author of South Chicago U.S.A.; and , sitting in for Beatrice Lumpkin who was out of town, was Miriam Balanoff retired judge and former State Representative.  Beatrice is author of Always Bring a Crowd, the story of her husband Frank's leadership in the struggle to secure justice for the displaced employees of the former Wisconsin Steel Plant which closed in 1980.  A good crowd attended and participated in an interesting question and answer session.  All of the books are well worth your attention and are available for sale at our museum. 
                                                by Frank Stanley

 
Historical Trivia
     Who was the first woman to be awarded an honorary Life Membership in the East Side Chamber of Commerce?
Courtesy of Gloria Novak

 
Museology News
       Due to the retirement from teaching of our Museology Coordinator, Rod Sellers, the Museology Class is not being offered this year.  Steps have been taken to recruit another teacher to conduct this unique, award winning program.  A prospective replacement has been found and steps are being taken to insure the resumption of the class next fall. 
       Over the years the Museology Class has created numerous exhibits and conducted several projects which have contributed to the museum collections.  Among the major projects which have been completed by the class are the following: 

Chicago's SE Side Web Site
History of the Southeast Mexican Community Hegewisch History Project 
General Mills South Chicago Plant
Wolf Lake History / Veterans Memorials Project
World War II Oral History Project
SE Side: History, Culture, Ecology
Environmental History of the SE Side
Cultural Institutions of the SE Side
Cultural Institutions Calendar 2003
Shoah Community Oral History Project

      In addition the students in the class have organized and cataloged numerous museum exhibits and collections, created slide and video  presentations, and the 1997-98 class helped with Chicago's Southeast Side, our first pictorial history book.  This is truly an amazing list of accomplishments.  We look forward to the resumption of the program. 

Museum News

       Among the many interesting visitors to our museum recently was Morton Wendt Tucker, an artist from northwest Indiana.  Morton was doing research for some potential works of art dealing with scenes of Lake Michigan.  He shared materials which relate to the early development of Calumet Harbor and the light houses which guided ships to the entrance of the Calumet River.  He was looking for photos of the original stone tower built in the 1850's and a the first wooden pierhead light in the 1870's.  Can you help?
       While Mr. Tucker was at the park, he looked at the murals of Native Americans and early French explorers to the region which are located in the second floor gymnastics area (formerly an auditorium and stage) in the Field House.  These murals were painted in the 1920's and are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.  There is water damage and mildew on these largely unknown works of art.  Perhaps restoration of these murals could become a goal of our society. 
       One of our partners from the Cultural Connections Program, the Polish Museum of America, has donated some materials from their collection which relate to the Southeast Side Polish community.  Among the donations were three copies of a May 1932 issue of "Aerial Acrobatics" magazine which detailed exhibition flights of K. W. Kunau, a Polish stunt flier who lived at 8823 Muskegon Avenue.  He was also the publisher of the magazine.  We also received a copy of the lyrics for "W Zelaznej Fabryce" ("The Steel Mills Polka").  Can anyone help us translate these lyrics?  Another interesting donation was a copy of pages from a 1905 Polish Business Directory which related to South Chicago.  It listed South Chicago businesses with Polish owners.  According to the directory, in 1905, there were 13 midwives, 7 barbers, 35 groceries, 6 bakeries, 17 meat markets, and 64 saloons among other businesses. 
     The 1905 directory and restoration of an old faded picture raised some questions about addresses and street names in early South Chicago.  The directory listed H. F. Gosewicz Clothing Store at 230 92nd Street, Ostrowski Meat Market at 418 88th Street, and Ronkowski's Saloon at 272 83rd Street.  There are other listings with similar types of addresses.  Can anyone explain the street numbering system in use at the time? 
       When space permits in future newsletters we will share some interesting e-mails with the readers. 

Trivia Answer:  Frieda Zimmerman (deceased), wife of Dr. Harold Zimmerman and contributor to our Museum and columnist for the Daily Calumet. . 



 
Chicago
Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Northeastern
Illinois University