Southeast Chicago Historical Society News
January, 2010 Newsletter Editor Rod Sellers Volume XXIV No. 1
A Few Words From the President:A happy and healthy New Year to all members and friends of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society. May the year 2010 be one of growth and success. If you will, please encourage your friends to become part of our great organization.
We continue to receive donations of valuable historical materials for which we are always grateful. Before you discard your historical treasures please bring them to the museum or notify us and we will be glad to pick them up. School yearbooks, church anniversary books, old telephone directories, plant magazines and historical photographs are particularly important.
Ora Coon's daughter, Pam Pugh donated a large number of Bowen Arrow school newspapers dating back to September 1926 and continuing through February 1930, an almost complete set. We also have a number of other issues, some in digital format, of the Bowen Arrow previously donated. Feel free to come and browse through these very interesting papers. The articles will show you how education and culture in the old days differed from the present. Ann Pettigrew donated St. Francis De Sales year books from 1954, 1955, and 1956. If you are ready to dispose of any school yearbooks please remember us. I might add that we have an amazing collection of Bowen yearbooks and a number from Washington, CVS and Mount Carmel high schools. We frequently get requests from people doing research on family history and other topics about graduates from local schools and we often are able to help them.
Author Gary Ciadella stopped by the museum recently and donated a copy of his book entitled The Calumet Region. This book includes numerous interesting photos of the Calumet area in both Indiana and Illinois so please come in and have a look. You may want to purchase one as well. Dominic Pacyga, a name we are familiar with, donated a copy of his recent book entitled Chicago: A Biography. It gives an interesting perspective on Chicago History and makes for fascinating reading. Thanks to Dominic and Gary.
We now have on display, along with other sports artifacts, three bowling shirts donated by Tony Arduino. They have the logo of Hegewisch Lanes on the back. We all remember when bowling was a very popular sport on the Southeast Side. The area had several bowling alleys and many bowling leagues with literally hundreds of bowlers, both men and women. Businesses, especially taverns, sponsored these teams. Bowling made for many friendships and comradery. Do you remember when the YMCA in South Chicago had bowling lanes? What was your
favorite bowling alley? Do you have any stories about your bowling memories that you want to share? Please send them to us.
Our annual membership meeting will be held on Saturday, March 27th at 11 a.m at the Calumet Park field house. It will be held in a different room from the usual since the former meeting room has been transformed into a fitness center by the park district. The fitness center is now open to all and there is a 5 dollar charge per day or you may sign up for a longer membership.
Our annual installation dinner will be held at the Crow Bar Inn on May 16th. There was a rumor that the Crow Bar was closing but that has proven to be false. We are glad to return there since they have been very accommodating and serve good food at a reasonable cost
The Lake Shore Model Railroad Club, downstairs at the park, had an open house on the first week end of December. Our museum was open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to accommodate visitors. We had quite a number of guests, approximately one hundred visitors over three days, that came and took advantage of our museum. They were glad they did.
Clarence Wigsmoen and his wife Pat have been busy rehabbing the Southeast Chicago Historical Project photo display that we have in the museum. This is part of the exhibit that was originally shown at the Museum of Science and Industry in the early 1980s. The panels were looking shoddy and Clarence and Pat are doing a great job and are still working on them. They are repairing the panels and then covering them with plastic sheets to protect them from further deterioration. It has turned into quite a project. It is a time consuming job and we are so very grateful for all that they are doing.
We hope to have a large turnout at the March general membership meeting. We also would like to have your ideas and input and suggestions for programs, exhibits and more. We encourage members to get in touch with us if you have any comments regarding our museum and our historical society. Phone us, e-mail us, use the Pony Express or Western Union if need be. Your input is always appreciated. You can use e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com And don’t forget to check out our web site at: www.neiu.edu/~reseller Our museum is located in the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 S. Avenue G. We are open on Thursdays from 1-4.
Barney Janecki President
Membership MattersWe want to remind all members that if you have an address change or anything else we should know about please notify us. We are always glad to hear from you. We recently received an undelivered newsletter almost one year after we mailed it out. It was floating around in the U.S. postal system because it was undeliverable due to an incorrect address. There was much speculation at the museum about where this letter had been for a year! So you see it is important that you notify us of any changes so there are no interruptions in your getting the newsletter.
Welcome to the following new life members: Tony Arduino, David Swanson, Carole McCarthy, Donald Nowak, and George Milkowski.
Yearly dues for the SECHS are due in January. Please make sure you dues are up to date. Yearly membership is $10. A lifetime membership is only $100. This is a great deal and you will never have to worry about paying dues again. We hate to nag about dues but we are even more reluctant to remove you from membership for non-payment of dues.
Please remember our current mailing address:
Southeast Chicago Historical SocietyThe East Side Chamber of Commerce will continue to accept phone calls for the society and museum at 773-721-7948.
c/o Calumet Park Field House
9801 S. Avenue G
Chicago, IL 60617.
Sale ExtendedAre you looking for a gift for that special person in your life? Our museum is extending a special sale on the book, Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited . Regular price is $19.99 but you can buy it until further notice for $15. We have a limited supply so hurry and get your copy at this special price. Historical photographs also make unique gifts. Choose from our extensive collection of historical photos of the Southeast Side and purchase an 8x10 or 8.5x11 unframed black and white print for only $10.
Museum NewsDon’t forget to visit our museum to see our current exhibit which was part of the “Chicago Artists Month 2.0" program promoted by the city of Chicago. Our Artists Month exhibit incorporates two themes. The first is using the community as a source of inspiration for art. The other theme is how local artists use technology to create and distribute their work. In case you have not seen our previous exhibit on the Burnham Plan, there is still an opportunity to do so since many items from the exhibit are on display at the Vodak East Side Library.
Have you seen the photo display in the lobby of Citizens Financial Bank in Hegewisch? There are numerous pictures related to early Hegewisch history, all of which came from our archives.
Our collections are a valuable resource for many different researchers. Granta, a literary magazine based in London, requested a picture of General Mills for use in an issue focusing on Chicago. The BBC has requested several pictures related to the union election campaign of Ed Sadlowski for an upcoming documentary program. An author working on a book about Croatians in Chicago visited the museum on several occasions for information and pictures. We look forward to the publication of the book. The History Fair is around the corner so students are researching topics for their projects. A graduate student from the University of Chicago is working on a paper about South Works.
Southeast Siders in the NewsHave you looked at the street signs on 114th Street between Avenue L and Avenue N recently? On October 24, 2009 the street in front of Washington High School was dedicated as Honorary Helen Buoscio Way. Helen, who is a life member of our society, was a teacher, counselor and administrator at Washington school. She was there as a math teacher when the doors of the new, innovative K-12 school, under a single principal, opened in February 1957. She continued at Washington High School, after a separate elementary school of the same name opened in 1973, as a high school counselor and eventually an assistant principal until her retirement in 1994. She continues to volunteer her services for various programs and activities at the school and in the community. She was inducted into the Chicago Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2001.
A new archbishop was recently appointed to head the Milwaukee archdiocese. Jerome Listecki is the first archbishop of Polish descent to serve in this position. He also is a native of the Southeast Side who grew up in the “Bush”and attended St. Michael’s Elementary School and Quigley South High School. He was ordained as a priest May 14, 1975 and most recently was the Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserves. Congratulations to Archbishop Listecki.
On a sad note we were sorry to inform our readers of the death of Georgia Christy, who was the owner of Harmony Hamburgers, an East Side institution.
Aerial VideoWe have finally solved some technical problems and now have the video footage from our helicopter trip over the Calumet area last August. It is available for viewing at the museum.
Last Four MilesChicagoans owe a great debt of gratitude to visionaries like Frederick Law Olmsted, Aaron Montgomery Ward and Daniel Burnham who had the foresight and imagination to create a lakefront that is accessible and available to the public. The lakefront is certainly one of Chicago’s greatest assets. But this vision is incomplete. Four miles, two on the north side and two on the south side, remain privately owned and inaccessible to the public. Friends of the Parks, an advocacy group that works to protect, improve and expand our parks, is promoting a plan to complete the chain of unbroken public green space and to create a continuous lakefront trail from Evanston to Indiana.
On the south side three parcels of land are involved:
1) 71st to 75th Street between the South Shore Cultural Center and Rainbow Beach;
2) the former U. S. Steel South Works Plant from 79th Street to the Calumet River;
3) the former Iroquois Landing / Youngstown Steel Plant from the Calumet River to 95th Street / Calumet Park as well as the Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) at the Iroquois Landing site.
The Last Four Miles plan was widely publicized during the past year as part of the Centennial of Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago but it is now time to take action and begin the process of completing the project. In early November, at one of the Burnham Centennial events, State Representative Marlow Colvin and State Senate President John Cullerton announced that in February they would introduce legislation to transfer 100 acres of land at Iroquois Landing from the Illinois International Port District to the Chicago Park District. They hope to include in the legislation another proposal to transfer 50 to 100 acres of land around Lake Calumet from the Port District to the Park District. Currently the only public access to Lake Calumet is at the Harborside Golf Course. Although this land is not on the lakefront it would provide additional park land to a community that has a shortage of parks.
For more information about the Last Four Miles project visit our museum. A pamphlet which gives additional details about the project is available. You may also obtain more information by visiting the Friends of the Park web site at:
There is an excellent video, narrated by Bill Curtis and featuring interviews with area residents, on the site. The web site also gives details about the plan as well as architectural drawings and background information.
School MemorabiliaAmong recent donations to our museum are numerous copies of the Bowen Arrow, the Bowen High School newspaper. A large number of issues from the 1920s and 1930s were received from the estate of Ora Coon via Pam Pugh, Ora’s daughter. Emily Zinnen also donated issues from that era. Additional issues from 1956 and 1957 were received from Bob Kuhel and some issues from 1965, 1966 and 1967 were received digitally, courtesy of former Bowen student, Emil Groth. We have updated our index list of Bowen Arrows and now have over 250 issues. We also have 60+ issues of the Patriot, the Washington High School newspaper and a small number from CVS as well as CVS football programs from the 1950s.
Our school collections have also recently expanded with donations of yearbooks from CVS, Mount Carmel and St. Francis De Sales high schools. Our Bowen Yearbook file only lacks a few years (1921, 1926, 1947, 1958, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1980, 1989 and 2004 to the present) in order to be complete.
If you have copies of the Bowen Arrow or other school newspapers or yearbooks from local schools that you would be willing to donate, please bring them to the museum.
History MysteryWe often come across information that does not seem to be entirely accurate. One of these tidbits is the story that Walt Whitman, the famous American poet, was at one time the owner and editor of one of the earliest South Chicago newspapers. In spring of 1873 H. L. Goodhall founded the South Chicago Enterprise, the first newspaper on the Southeast Side. On June 26, 1875 Walt Whitman established the South Chicago Times and published its first issue. According to the story, in the fall of 1875 Goodhall bought out Whitman and consolidated the papers. This claim has been made in every article detailing the history of the Daily Calumet, in every anniversary and special issue of that paper, beginning with the 1936 South Chicago Centennial issue.
This would be a most interesting local connection to a very famous American author, if true. I have attempted to trace the story’s accuracy and still do not feel that I have a definitive answer. In January 1873 Walt Whitman suffered a stroke, his mother died in May, and he moved in with his brother who lived in Camden, New Jersey. One source says he moved “to stay.” Another source states that he lived with his brother until 1884. No Whitman source mentioned his South Chicago experiences. However, a reputable source, The History of Cook County by A. T. Andreas, published in 1884, supports the story. Any comments or questions?
SE Chicago Historical Society Calendar
Thursdays 1:00-4:00 p.m. Southeast Chicago Historical Museum
Regular hours of the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. Collections and exhibits focus on the history of Chicago’s Southeast Side including the communities of South Chicago, South Deering, the East Side, and Hegewisch. Museum is located in the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 S. Avenue G in Chicago. Check our web site for other events: http://www.neiu.edu/~reseller/sehsevents.html
Exhibit at the Vodak East Side Library
“The Burnham Plan: Impetus for Change on the Southeast Side”
The exhibit portrays the aspects of the 1909 Burnham Plan that relate to Chicago’s Southeast Side and subsequent planning initiatives for the area. The exhibit was originally displayed at the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. See www.burnhamplan100.org for more information.
March 27, 2010 Saturday 11:00 a.m. Calumet Park Field House
The Southeast Historical Society will conduct its annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 Avenue G at 11 a.m. All members are urged to attend and vote on the new slate of officers at this meeting. Nominations may be made from the floor. The officers presented by the nominating committee will be announced. Refreshments will be served.
May 16, 2010 Sunday 12:30 p.m. Crow Bar Restaurant
Southeast Chicago Historical Society Annual Installation Dinner
The 27th Annual Dinner of the Southeast Historical Society will be held at the Crow Bar Restaurant. Social hour begins at 12:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 1:30 p.m. Please reserve this date on your calendars.