Rod Sellers
Southeast Historical Society
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Southeast Historical Society News
July, 2003                                                                             Volume XVII No. 2

A Few Words From the President: 

We had a very nice 20th Installation Dinner on May 18th at Mr. D’s. The following is a shortened version of my response to my charge as president:
 “I wish to thank you all for the opportunity to serve our community of the southeast side. This opportunity is not for self-promotion, since I don’t have  a hidden agenda, but it is a chance to keep our society going on in its efforts to keep the following generations aware of the dedication of our predecessors in building our area and raising their families.
 In addition to this awareness of our past we hope that all the newcomers, including immigrants and the newborn, learn of our origins and our pride in being Americans.
 The officers over the past 20 years will be a hard act to follow, but we will do our best. Again, thanks to the fine folks who started this society and continue to work in it.
 During the last few years I have tried to keep our group in the forefront by writing articles for the Southeast Chicago Observer in addition to exploring the possibilities of obtaining some grants for our museum.”
 In the May 30th issue of the Chicago Tribune ‘Friday’ section our museum was mentioned as a ‘cool’ place to visit as an alternative to the Museum of Science and Industry.
 On May 31st Rod and I were ‘native guides’ on a Field Museum ‘Cultural Connections’ tour covering ‘The Built Environment’ of Chicago’s southeast side. We rode in style on a comfortable bus as we toured the East Side, Wolf Lake, the Ford Manufacturing Campus area, South Deering and South Chicago, ending with a pleasant luncheon catered by Neil Bosanko at St. Michael’s Church on 83rd Street. Enjoying Rod’s fine rolling commentary were a goodly number of local residents in addition to the museum group; everyone learned many interesting facts about our area. 
 Earlier this month we were fortunate in receiving a very nice, well made model of an ingot mold car complete with a mold stool (a plate that was placed on top of the car to hold the molds), three ingot molds, and a pour ladle.  The model was donated by Mr. John Gleason, who was employed at South Works for 42 years and retired from the Maintenance Division Electric Department in 1982.  Mr. Gleason is the son of Arthur W. Gleason who started in the steel industry in Joliet in about 1910 and transferred to South Works in about 1915.  Mr. A. W. Gleason retired in 1948 after serving as foundry superintendent.  Many thanks for helping us to show future generations what some steel equipment looked like.
 We hope this newsletter will find you all in the best of spirits and health this summer. 
    Joseph A. Mulac
Museum News 
Bette Marsh, a former Irondale resident, now of South Holland, has loaned a scrapbook compiled by her sister, Louise Kimbel, to the museum .  The scrapbook consists of mementos from  the time she served in the Waves during WWII from 1943 to 1945.  There are numerous articles, too many to enumerate, in the scrapbook.  It includes good luck cards given to her when she enlisted, a telegram telling her to report to Iowa State Teachers’ College for basic training, and her orders to go to San Francisco to be shipped to 
Hawaii.  Many pictures are also included.  If you are a WWII buff you will appreciate all the many articles she put together in this scrapbook.  Remember, this is only on loan, so you want to hurry and take advantage of this opportunity while we have this historical treasure. 
 John Jursinic, who attended the May 31 Cultural Connections Tour has made several interesting donations to the museum.  Among the items were several articles from “Serb World USA” a magazine for Serbian Americans.  There were articles about southeast Chicago including some about Irondale and others about Tamburitza music and especially the Popovich brothers.  There was also a magazine with several interesting maps showing Chicago area passenger and freight railroad lines.
                                                    By Barney Janecki 
Museum Requests
 The Historical Society is in need of high school year books from Bowen, St. Francis De Sales, and Washington.  We also are seeking anniversary books from area churches.  You may bring your donations to the Southeast Historical Museum in Calumet Park on Thursdays from 1 to 4. 

Calumet Park Community Quilt

 A historical quilt produced by the sewing program at Calumet Park is currently on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago until October 31..  Work started on the "Calumet Park Community Quilt Millennium 2000" in September 1999 and continued until its completion in January 2000.  Upon completion of the quilt, it was displayed at the South Shore Cultural Center along with community quilts from six other parks for eight weeks in the spring of 2000 as part of the Chicago Park District Millennium Quilt Program.  The quilt is made of 100% cotton fabrics and was assembled by machine.  It incorporates a variety of quilting styles including Trupunto, Free Motion, Applique, Photo Transfer, Machine Embroidery, and decorative embellishment.  The quilt was created and assembled by a group of neighborhood women who attend a quilting class at Calumet Park.  It depicts the various historical landmarks in the East Side community of Chicago.  The quilt was produced by Ann Starcevich, Lucy Nosich, Janet Tornincasa, Stephanie Diaz, Dora Hernandez, Angelica Filon, Helen Jerbic, Rose Alivojvodic, and Marge Nikich under the direction of  Holly Gonzalez Instructor. 

Cyberspace Communication 

My brother and I grew up at 8845 Muskegon and attended everything at Bessemer park from the time we were about four or five until we graduated from high school. Bowen of course.  My husband grew up in the Trumbull Park Housing Project. and has vivid memories of project life. I wish you had been at my  50th class reunion last October. It was then that I remembered we grew up in an integrated society and thought nothing about it.  We had W.A.S.P.'s,  Polish,  Jewish, Serbian, Croatians, Italians, African Americans, Germans and Hispanics all together. We all got along just fine. I also attended Phil Sheridan Grammar School and many of those classmates were at the Bowen reunion.  When revisiting South Chicago again I would hope you would have some information about Bessemer Park. Bessemer was our hub of activity. They had the first T.V. and we youth would all gather round to marvel at this phenomenon. Bessemer taught us to play softball,  baseball, basketball and tennis.  We were taught  ballet and tap dance, baton twirling,  swimming, water ballet and acrobatics. Our mothers were taught arts and crafts and even hat making. We were taught sportsmanship and as we competed with other parks we learned about other neighborhoods and to navigate around the south side of the city.  Every summer the C.Y.O. (Catholic Youth Organization) would arrive to keep us out of trouble. They provided nuns and priests to run all kinds of activities. We attended these activities for years until we achieved the lofty goal of junior leaders. This program was not an overly evangelistic outreach. But for years,  two of my most valued possessions were my C.Y.O. ring and a scapular. When I mention the scapular to young Catholics today they have no idea what I'm talking about. 
 At the park we also learned about performing.. Each year we had a couple of nights of "the show". The gym teacher Miss Paterini taught us routines, the Park  district provided costumes and we participants sold tickets. At this time awards for sportsmanship and other things were handed out. At the end of the summer we also performed at our water show.
As you can see we lived in a magical neighborhood in a magical time. My brother mentioned that while watching a bio of Robert Conrad the actor.. He said everything he knew , he learned at Bessemer Park in Chicago.  How about that!

Membership News

 We would like to thank and welcome the following individuals who have become new members or have renewed their memberships in the Southeast Historical Society: 

 Maribel Ramirez                  Lucille DeCero Maricich                 William DeCero
 Martha Wilson                     Jacqueline Mulac                            Mary Mulac
 Matthew Mulac                   Glenn Dawson                                Holly Headland
 Karen Crotty                       Bette Marsh

We are a non profit, volunteer organization with a very limited operating budget.  Membership dues are an integral part of our fiscal well being. 
 The officers of the Society and the staff of the Museum have been looking at our membership and mailing list and have noted that numerous individuals who are on our mailing list have not paid dues in quite some time.  We have made a commitment to send out a quality  newsletter on a quarterly basis and have done so for the past two years.  However, this is an expensive proposition given the costs of duplication and postage.  If you want to continue as a member and want to continue to receive this newsletter in the future your dues must be up to date.  Use the form at the bottom of this sheet to remit your dues.  Consider the benefits of life membership.  Join the 90+ individuals who are already life members  For only $75 you will never have to remember to send in annual dues again. If your dues are not up to date this will be the last newsletter that you will receive.  We are sorry to have to take this action but it is absolutely necessary.  If you have any questions about the status of your dues stop at the museum during our operating hours of 1-4 on Thursdays or 12-3 on the first Sunday of the month and we will check your membership status.
 Use the form below to remit your dues payment.  Return it to the museum or send it in care of:

Southeast Historical Society
3658 East 106th Street
Chicago IL 60617 

Southeast Historical Society
Membership Form

Name:                                                                                                             Date: 


City:                                                                       State:                              Zip Code:

Telephone Number:                                               E-mail address: 

1 Year Membership $5.00   (      ) Life Membership $75       (     )

Form of Payment:                 (     ) Cash     (     ) Check #

Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University