Rod Sellers
Southeast Chicago
Historical Society

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Southeast Chicago Historical Society
July, 2007                                                                             Volume XXI No. 3
A Few Words From the President:
       I am honored and grateful for having been elected as  president of this wonderful organization.  I feel comfortable in this position due to the very capable officers and volunteers who play a major part in our organization.  They are a group of people easy to work with.  I would be remiss if I did not give a lot of credit to our former president, Rod Sellers.  His intelligence, expertise and general know how has been a great asset to us.  He has been the brick and mortar of the society.  He certainly has accomplished so much.  It's great to have him on our side.
     Among our goals will be increasing our membership and getting more publicity and recognition for the work we do and the wonderful collection of historical materials that we have in our museum.   Since the installation dinner we have gained a number of new members along with several new lifetime members.  Joann Podkul suggested we try to recruit more younger members. This is an avenue to be explored. Our  current members can help work on getting new members from among their family and friends.
       We can always use more volunteers. If some members could give a little of their time we could possibly extend our hours or even be open another day.  Before you throw out your "junk", which might be historical treasures, think about donating them to the museum. We keep getting "stuff" almost on a weekly basis. We now have a great collection of Bowen yearbooks totalling 51 along with school newspapers and artifacts. We would welcome books from other schools. Come by and see what new additions we have.
       The membership of the society approved an increase in dues starting January 1, 2008.  Dues will increase to $10 dollars per year and a lifetime membership will be $100.  Also for $20, if paid before January 1, 2008,  your membership will be extended for five additional years.
     If any questions or comments stop by the museum or e-mail  And check out our web site at:
                                   Barney Janecki                                                                  President

Membership Information
     Welcome to the following new life members of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society:  Karen Crotty, Jim Edwards, Lois Schreiter and Victor Storino.  This brings the number of life members to over one hundred.  We also have in the area of 125 regular members.  The number of regular members is in a state of constant change due to the addition of new members and reluctant deletions because of non- payment of dues.  If you received a goldenrod  reminder with this copy of the newsletter that means that you are behind in dues and will be dropped from membership if we do not hear from you.  This is a great time to renew because our annual dues are going to increase.  On January 1, 2008 our regular dues increase to $10 per year and our life membership increases to $100.  Until that date dues are $5 for a one year renewal, $75 for a life membership, and our “special deal” 5 years for $20.  May I recommend a life membership at $75.  It’s a great deal and you will never have to remember to renew your dues again.  You can renew your membership by coming in to the museum or using the form on  our web site at:
     What are the benefits of membership?  Aside from supporting the our most important goal of collecting and preserving the history of one of Chicago’s most interesting areas, the Southeast Side, there are other benefits.  You receive our newsletter four times per year.  The newsletter attempts to keep the membership informed about area news, additions to our collections, and activities of our society and of the Southeast Side.  You are entitled to a member discount (50%) on any copying or duplication of materials at the museum.  This includes xerox copies, copies of photographs, burning CDs or DVDs, and more.  As a member you do not have to pay tax on any purchases at the museum.  Such a deal!!
     While updating our mailing list I noticed that we have members not only from Illinois and Indiana but also from the following states based on their USPS abbreviations: CO, CA, NC, AZ, FL, VA, WI, TX, OH, NY, CT, WA, and WV.  I wonder when our first member from outside the United States will join? 

What’s in a Name?
     Our Southeast Side has had a history of nicknames over the years since it adopted the names South Chicago, East Side and South Deering.   Below are listed a few of these names with one exception.  One does not belong.  Can you find it?  The answer is at the end of the newsletter.  Good Luck!
     Colehour, Ainsworth, Taylorville, Ironworkers Addition, City of Calumet, Irondale, Suburb of Churches, Deserted Valley on the Banks of the Calumet, Slag Valley, Millgate, the Sticks, and Cummings. 
If you are a real SE Side history buff you can also tell which names belonged to each area (SC, SD, ES).
                                                                                                                                                                      by Gloria Novak
Board Meeting    
     The Southeast Historical Society has a Board of Directors made up of the officers of the society and regular volunteers at our museum.  They meet regularly to guide museum activities and policies.  At our most recent meeting much of the discussion focused on a review of our annual dinner and preliminary plans for next year’s dinner.  It was recommended that the theme for the dinner will be  “Industrial History” because of our involvement in the Industrial Heritage Archives (IHA) digital project.  It was also suggested that the program portion of the dinner focus on some type of historical presentation  rather than some form of entertainment.  Among ideas brought up were a panel discussion of former industrial workers talking about their experiences or performers or poets who would focus on the industrial experience.  If you have any thoughts, suggestions or ideas about these matters please notify members of the board or e-mail

Local News
     Happy Birthday to our president, Barney Janecki, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday with a Hawaiian themed luau party.  A large crowd of friends and family helped Barney celebrate this special event.  Among other important events that occurred in 1927, the year of Barney’s birth were:  Calvin Coolidge is president of the United States - he chooses not to run for reelection;  Philo Farnsworth transmits first experimental electronic television pictures;  first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris is completed by Charles Lindbergh;  Sacco and Vanzetti are executed;  “Jazz Singer” opens marking end of silent film era;  Yankees win World Series with 4 game sweep of Pirates;  Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run;  Joseph Stalin gains control in USSR;  the Model A replaces Model T at Ford;  Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average closes December 31 at a new high of 202.40, up from 157.20 at the end of 1926; the Musical “Showboat” opens;  Municipal (Midway) airport opened in Chicago;  Buckingham Fountain was dedicated;   “Big Bill” Thompson replaces William Dever as mayor of Chicago;  Palmolive Building (later the Playboy Building) location of the Lindbergh Beacon opened; and of course the future president of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society, Barney Janecki was born.  Congratulations to Barney and best wishes for many more!
     Recent tours of the Southeast Side have proven to be very popular and a couple have even sold out.  An Industrial History tour of the Southeast Side and Pullman on May 19 attracted a bus load of participants and a waiting list for the next offering of this tour.  The tour was co-sponsored by the Pullman State Historic Site and plans are to offer the tour again in the fall.  On June 2 we co-sponsored a Toxics to Treasures Tour with the Southeast Environmental Task Force.  The highlight of the tour was a visit with a herd of goats whose job is to eat the vegetation growing on the Paxton Landfill which is too steep to cut by more conventional means.  On June 23 we visited the U. S. Steel South Works site for a look at the area which is scheduled to be  developed in the near future.  We saw the area where new parkland is proposed and had a great view of the north slip ore walls as we drove past them.  One of the co-sponsors of this event was Friends of the Parks who is promoting additional park land along the lakefront as part of their “Last Four Miles” initiative.  More information about this project is available at the museum. 

Museum News    
       Since our last newsletter we have had numerous interesting visitors, researchers and donations.  Thanks to Neil Bosanko who donated a DVD player / VCR recorder.  This will enable us to play DVDs for guests and researchers and to create VHS tapes from DVD programs.  Neil also donated a large photo display of recipients of Academy of humanitarians awards.  This is a real collection of “movers and shakers” of the Southeast Side.  Stop by the museum and see how many of these notables you remember.  Thanks to Frank Stanley, former museum curator, for helping to coordinate transfer of this artifact.  Thanks to the family of Alex Savastano for the donation of Alex Savastano’s famous derby hat.  Thanks also to Clarence Wigsmoen for his efforts in setting up the display box and description of Alex’s hat.  The hat is now on display at the museum.  Thanks to society member Tony Arduino for his generous donation of numerous  books relating to Chicago history.  Of particular interest are several written by the famous columnist Mike Royko as well as several books about Richard J. Daley.  Tony also donated several pictorial history book published by Arcadia, the same company that published our 2 books on the Southeast Side.  By the way it is never too late to start thinking about Christmas gifts.  Do you have any relatives or friends on your gift list who do not have both Southeast Side books.  They are available at the museum, and no sales tax for members. 
       Among researchers at the museum recently were a post graduate student from the University of Illinois Chicago.  He has found our Environmental History Collection to be of particular value.  A history professor from the University of San Diego was looking at how immigrants and ethnic Americans used natural spaces in the early twentieth century.

IHA Digital Project
     The Industrial Heritage Archives (IHA) Project is    a collaboration of Pullman State Historic Site, the Southeast Chicago Historical Society, and the Calumet Heritage Partnership.  The project is funded by a grant from the state library system and so far we are just archiving images - eventually they will be organized into a separate, more manageable web site.  A large number of images from our collections (over 700) are now accessible on-line via the Pullman State Historic Site web site.  Follow these instructions to access these images.
     Go to
     Click on "Exhibits" at top
     Click on "All Images" at right
     Click on letter of alphabet based on first word in title of image and scroll down to the image.  Among subject titles from our museum (SECHS) are:
Industry, U. S. Steel, Wisconsin Steel, Republic Steel, Acme Steel, Youngstown Steel, General Mills, Railroads, Shipyards, Labor, Memorial Day Massacre
South Chicago, East Side, South Deering, Hegewisch, Waterways and more.  Be sure to click on "More..." below image.  Several of the "records" include multiple images.  In case you get a message saying access denied just try it again.  Let me know if you have any trouble.  It's not as difficult as it seems.
In searching through our collections for images to post on the site we have discovered, or in many cases rediscovered, many historical gems.  Since our last newsletter these are some of the interesting items we have come across. 
     A number of images related to the development of the Port District have been posted.  There are some interesting views of the Van Vlissingen Plan which would have developed all of Lake Calumet for commercial uses if fully implemented.  Look under subject heading “Waterways” for these items.
     Jim Ostarello, society vice president and museum volunteer, brought a number of items from his personal collection of memorabilia gathered during his years as an industrial engineer at Republic Steel.  There were several pictures of the long gone Millgate community located outside the gates of Republic Steel.  This was a four block area on Burley and Buffalo Avenues from 116th to 118th Streets.  There are also some interesting views of the location where trolley car passengers transferred from the famous Number 5 trolley to the Hegewisch trolley.  The Millgate pictures can be found under the “East Side” subject heading. 
     Some great aerial views (some in color) of several area steel mills as well as site maps of the various mills are on line.  Look under the name of the specific mill (Wisconsin, U. S. Steel, Republic, Acme, etc.) to find these images. 
     Plant magazines from Wisconsin Steel, U. S. Steel, Republic Steel, General Mills, and the State Line Generating Station are also posted on the site.  Only a sampling of the magazines are on line.  Many more issues are available at the museum. 
     We have posted images from several books about area industries.  Among those items are books from the dedication of the State Line Generating Station, Chicago Steel and Wire, projects by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company in the early 1900s, and the 75th Anniversary of the Chicago operations of Ford Motor Company. 
If any question or comments contact 

Programs for Loan
     Copies of the documentary program “Evolving Calumet: A Journey” are available for loan from local Chicago public libraries and from our museum. We also have a copy of the video from the 70th Commemoration of the Memorial Day Massacre which took place at the Zone on May 27th.  There were several interesting presentations that day interpreting this important historical event including the Women of Steel from Local 1010 United Steel Workers, a history fair student, and a local poet.  Also available free of charge at the museum are an excellent booklet from the 70th Anniversary which has numerous articles about the Massacre and a 2007 calendar from Local 1010.  Thanks to Ed Sadlowski for making extra copies of these materials available to our members.  Other video programs available at the museum include previous Annual Dinners of our  historical society, oral history interviews conducted during different historical projects, and excerpts of several interviews with Alex Savastano.  

What’s in a Name? - the answers
     The nickname that was never used for the SE Side was The Sticks.  All the other names were used at one time or another to describe various parts of the area. 
South Chicago was formerly known as Ainsworth, Millgate, the City of Calumet
The East Side was known as Colehour, Suburb of Churches, Taylorville, Ironworkers Addition
South Deering was known as Irondale, Slag Valley, and Cummings
We have not been able to verify the source of the name “Deserted Valley on the Banks of the Calumet.”Can any of our readers help us out? 
                                                                                                                                                               by Gloria Novak

SE Chicago Historical Society Calendar

Thursdays            1:00-4:00pm              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.
The Southeast Chicago Historical Museum will no longer be open on the first Sunday of the month. 

Aug 1 and 2            8:30am to 2:30pm    Summer Conference for Educators
Sponsored by the Field Museum at Chicago State University.  Explore the Calumet Region’s natural wonders.  For more information contact Kirk Anne Taylor at 312-665-7442.

Saturday, Aug. 11                                    Explore the Dunes
with John Pastirik. Sponsored by the Calumet Ecological Park Association. Register by calling 773-991-0613.

Saturday, Aug. 18         10:30am - 12pm        Wildflower Walk
at Powderhorn Prairie. Explore the Prairie and learn about its flora. Sponsored by Friends of the Parks. For more information, contact Rebecca at 312-847-2757, or visit

Saturday, Aug 25         10am - 12pm          “No Hot Coals on My Roots!”
Meet at Calumet Park field house.

Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University