Rod Sellers
Southeast Historical Society
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Southeast Historical Society News
April, 2002                                              Volume XVI No. 1

A Few Words From the President:

In a short recap given during our annual meeting on March 16th, I attempted to relate the accomplishments of our society during the past year as well as some ongoing projects, among which was a partition wall approximately 24 feet long covering the backs of storage boxes facing our computer area.
     We extended our thanks to Al Lerch, John Novak and Bill Finlan for erecting this wall.
     The intent of this wall in our museum is to provide a backing for a Velcro surface, which will accept various photographic displays about our history that can be changed during the year.  The Velcro will be here for installation during April.
     This brings up the question ‘WHY?’
     Rather than printing the by-laws relating to the purpose of our society, it is simpler to say ‘to share our historical records and artifacts with our children, grandchildren and visitors.’
     Unfortunately, some people feel things should be saved and boxed with a ‘do not touch’ label.  This museum is not ‘ Grandma’s attic’ in which to store things but a place to exhibit our exceptional possessions.
     Our museum can be a pleasant, orderly and neat place for people to visit.  Sure, some day we may get more space but for now we must utilize what we have.
     We are open to suggestions that we could review in the hope that additional improvements could be made at minimum cost.                     -
Joseph A. Mulac
President Southeast Historical Society

Museum News

Karen Corder donated 2 pictures of graduating classes of Gallistel school.  One was from 1908 and the other from 1917.  Graduation programs with names of graduates were included.  If you are doing family research the pictures may be of some use to you.  These photos add to one of the most popular collections in the museum, that of school photos.  We have quite a good collection 
at this time but certainly do not have all the hundreds (thousands?) of photos that were taken at local schools over the years.  Do you have any class or graduation photos laying around?  Bring them in and we will scan them for the museum collection.  When our new hook and loop / velcro wall is installed they can be displayed for all to see. 
 John Clasby donated thirteen 4x6 photos showing the demolition of Goldblatts in November 1996.  Also donated was the 20th Anniversary Program of Trinity Hospital. 
 A photo of the 1937 CYO city champions baseball team from St. Kevin Church is also available for viewing at the museum..  Names of all team members and their coach are listed with the photo. 
 We are indebted to Harold and Bernice Anderson for their donation of a photo of the 50th Anniversary of the 1946 Bowen High School graduating class. They also donated four class photographs from Gallistel School, two from Henry Clay School, the 1941 Clay graduating class, the June 1942 Gallistel graduating class, the Bethel Free Church Confirmation class of May 1941, and the Bethel Young People in 1941.  WITH NAMES!
 Erin Cullen donated two photos of participants in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the Depression years.  One shows Company 646 at Camp Watersweet, Michigan and the other, taken on August 13, 1935, shows a CCC group at Three Lakes, Wisconsin. His father, Beryl Cullen, appears in both photos.  These photos will be on display with other exhibits at the Annual Dinner. 
 If you have something of historical interest and value please consider donating or loaning the items to the museum.  Loaned items can be copied on our high quality scanner without any damage to the original items.  Check your attic, basement, and other storage areas for those hidden historical treasures. 
Article by Barney Janecki

Circle Sunday May 19th, our annual installation of officers of the Southeast Side Historical Society.  Come socialize and enjoy the entertainment.  (Information on separate sheet with this mailing)
 Come and visit our museum, Thursdays from 1:00PM to 4:00PM and the first Sunday of the month from 12:00 noon to 3:00 PM. 
 If you need a birthday gift or an anniversary gift for someone you know or for that someone who has everything, how about our book,  Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited?   Only $19.99 for members (non members pay sales tax making the total $21.75).  How about the gift of a life membership to the Southeast Historical Society, only $75. 

Article by former President Alex Savastano

Wisconsin Steel Workers Reunion

On Wednesday, March 27, 2002 former workers of Wisconsin Steel gathered for the  22nd reunion since the mill shut down on March 28, 1980 and put more than 3,000 people out of work.    The reunion was held at the union hall in South Chicago and was attended by numerous former employees.  A highlight of the gathering was a display of photos taken by M. E. Dixon, a 27 year veteran of the mill, who took hundreds of photos at the plant during his lunch and other breaks.  Most of the photos were of employees at the plant and most were not of individuals with white safety helmets.  The white helmets signified “bosses” and Dixon wanted the “regular folk” who made the steel.  Those who attended were encouraged to identify the names of those pictured because that had not been done previously.  It was very interesting to watch and listen to the former workers try to remember who some of the people were and to relate stories to one another about the people in the photos.  By the end of the evening numerous yellow “sticky tabs” identified many, but far from all, of the individuals in the photos.  Also in attendance were Frank Lumpkin and his wife Beatrice, author of Always Bring A Crowd, the story of Frank Lumpkin’s life and his efforts to secure the benefits lost by the steelworkers when the mill closed.  Ed Sadlowski, former union official for the steelworkers, also was present and made brief remarks to the audience.  The event this year was particular bitter sweet in light of recent closings of Acme Steel and LTV.  What the former workers of Wisconsin Steel went through over twenty years ago is being experienced by steel workers today.    The story of the deindustrialization of the  American steel industry is still not finished. 

Museology Update

Our Museology class is hard at work on a new booklet, “Chicago’s Southeast Side; Cultural Institutions”.  The class is looking at how various ethnic groups maintained their culture and at the same time adapted to the new customs and culture of American society.  The primary focus of the booklet will be the churches of the area and various ethnic organizations and groups.  We are looking for photos information about the many churches of the area, especially  books published at 25th, 50th, 100th or other anniversaries of the church.  We have a number of such books at the museum but are missing numerous others.  The class is doing an inventory of materials in the museum related to churches and reorganizing our collection of materials about area churches to make them more “user friendly”.   Our web site ( will be enhanced by the new information as well.  Funding for the project is provided by a grant by the Disney Learning Partnership through a $2000 grant and a $1800 grant from the Oppenheimer Family Foundation.  We are optimistic that the grants will enable us to publish a 2003 local calendar.  Another component of the project is a tour of the area for the Cultural connections program of the Field Museum on May 18, 2002 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM.  The tour is open to the public, will include lunch, and students in the Museology class will act as tour guides.  Information about the tour is available at the museum or by calling the Field Museum Cultural Connections office at 312-665-7474.  The cost of the tour and lunch is $17. 
 If you are knowledgeable about the history of a particular church or congregation we would like to interview you.  Contact Rod Sellers. 
Lifetime Membership Dues Increase
It was voted at our Annual Membership Meeting held on March 16, 2002 to increase Life Member dues from $50 to $75.  Yearly dues remain $5.  Are your dues paid up?  If not stop in the museum or mail your dues in. 

Upcoming Events

May 5,2002  Book sale and signing by James Klekowski, author of South Chicago U.S.A.  From 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Southeast Historical Society Museum at the Calumet Park Field House. 
May 6, 2002 Chicago Stories on Channel 11 features the Southeast Side Mexican Communnity
May 18, 2002
Southeast Side Cultural Institutions Tour sponsored by the Field Museum Cultural Connections Program.  Tour leaves the Southeast Historical Museum at 10:00 AM.  More information in brochure available at the museum. 


We are encouraging your input to make this newsletter more interesting and enjoyable.  If you have any Southeast Side trivia, send it to or drop it off at the Southeast Historical Museum.  Trivia questions (and answers) will be published in our next newsletter.  Here is an example from one of our previous newsletters. 
 We had an Alderman in the 10th Ward who put “THANK YOU FOR ELECTING ME” signs up after the election and who removed them before they became eyesores.  Who was this unusual politician?  (Answer elsewhere in the newsletter) 

Mexican Community Pictures

Recently a producer for Channel 11's Chicago Stories series visited the museum in search of materials for a program scheduled to air in early May (May 6?)  about the southeast side Mexican community.  The story will focus on Our Lady of Guadalupe church and the surrounding community.  Numerous photos from the museum collections were used to prepare the program.  Originally the producer was doing preliminary research on materials but he became so interested in this story that he took over the project himself rather than “farming it out” to a staffer.  We look forward to seeing the finished production. 
 Photos from our collection also appear in Mexican Chicago by Rita Arias Jirasek and Carlos Tortolero, a book published by Arcadia, the company which published our two pictorial histories on the Southeast Side.  A copy of Mexican Chicago  is available for viewing at the museum. 
 Museum materials relating to the Mexican community have been used for numerous projects, magazine articles, and by many researchers. 
Operation Recognition
The State of Illinois and Chicago Board of Education have passed the necessary legislation to enable veterans of World War II and the Korean War to receive their high school diplomas if they did not complete high school requirements because of military service.   The City of Chicago and the Chicago Board of Education are  participating in this program which is named “Operation Recognition”.  Diplomas may be issued posthumously and surviving family members of eligible veterans may apply for the diploma.  The Illinois School Code requires that a veteran (or surviving family member requesting a diploma for a veteran) meet the following requirements:
 Left high school before graduating in order to serve in the armed forces of the United States.
       Resided in the City of Chicago at the time that he or she left high school.
       Served in the armed forces of the United States during World War II or the Korean Conflict.
       Was honorably discharged.
       Has not received a high school diploma.

Please contact Rod Sellers, social studies teacher at Washington High School, if you know individuals who may be eligible for this program or if you have any questions. Completed application may be turned in to Mr. Sellers at Washington High School.  The school phone number is 773-535-5725 or you may contact Mr. Sellers at

Do You Remember?

We would like to include a section in our newsletters which looks back at life in the community in the “old days”.  Your comments and contributions are necessary to make this a success.  The first subject is the Number 5 streetcar and a poem written by a former South Chicago doctor:
“Streetcar No. 5"

South Chicago where I grew up 
Alien words, ‘less you know all the lore
Gayety, the candy shop, 
also the theater with cowboys galore.

Bessemer Park with the swimming pool on hot summer days, this we called cool. 
Cole and Young for your Bowen High ring.
Gitter and Siovic, if sports were the thing.

I’ll never forget the gumball machine, 
at Bazley Meats, where the sawdust was clean. 
The area names ring nostalgic with thrill,
Frogtown, The Bush, and up on the hill. 

The Gayety is full?  Try Pete’s Nickle Show.
Then catch No. 5, if the traveling is slow. 
The depression years made many a moan, 
Salvation for some, Royal Savings and Loan.

On Commercial Avenue where the streetcar bends, 
Always some fun with no need for amends.
For a prescription, The Red Star Drug Store.
For flashy new threads, try Lester’s next door.

Buy your block ice at half the price;
You pick it up at Consumers Ice. 
Carry it home on the bumper of the car
down Anthony Avenue, make sure not too far.

Once a year, the great big parade 
at Columbus Square, the color of jade.
On Saturday night, a dance at the Y.
Hi CVS - Hi Bowen High.

If shopping you go, for clothes that are neat, 
Gassman’s the place, right down the street.
If shopping you go, a bargain to get,
Goldblatt’s the place, buy the whole damn set.

For pastries divine, the Greene’s we attest, 
If hamburgers you want, White Castle’s the best. 
Powerful words - the heaviest ring - 
Please keep the mills rolling.

These are but words of places and things,
Some tell of joys, some tell of strings. 
But when I think back to where I grew up,
‘Tis the old No. 5 - Clang - Clang, please step up. 

I live it again, lest I should forget
That’s my Chicago, I love you yet.

By Harry Thomas Hannig M.D.

A copy of this poem was received by Rod Sellers from the poet over the past summer while Rod was working on his latest book  at the museum.   Does this trigger any memories or comments?  Do you have your own poem about the history of the area?  What are your memories about shopping on Commercial Avenue, at Goldblatts, at Gassmans, Cole and Young?  Do you remember riding the No. 5?  What was the route of the No. 5 streetcar?  Which of the businesses mentioned in the poem are still in existence?  Send comments and stories to: 

Trivia Answer
Who was Emil Pacini?  He served 16 years as Alderman of the 10th Ward from 1947 to 1963. 
Trivia  courtesy of Gloria Novak
First Edition Book Donation
Claudia Paolone donated a first edition,  signed copy of  We Were Soldiers Once... and Young: Ia Drang--The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam   by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.  Claudia’s deceased husband Ernie was a participant in this battle and is mentioned in the book several times.  The book is the basis for the current movie “We Were Soldiers” starring Mel Gibson. 

Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University