Southeast Historical Society News
Volume XV No. 3
A Few Words From the President:
Your officers had a board meeting on September 22 at which time the
items were covered:
Thanks were expressed to all the previous officers for their
efforts as a new year begins. ‘Heritage Days’ (June 23-24) were
We had a nice showing of visitors. Were you there? We
Pick up a copy of the Southeast Chicago Observer and note the
history column by yours truly.
Rod Sellers will let you know about the status of his book
Side Revisited elsewhere in this newsletter.
We are in dire need of someone to handle and put out our
newsletter – any volunteers?
Rod Sellers and I attended the kick-off event of the Cultural
Connections Group (a partnership of museums and cultural centers) at
Field Museum and the third community meeting on ‘Wolf Lake, One Lake’
Finally, we are going to expand our visiting hours at the museum
by being open the first Sunday of the month from noon until 3:00 p.m.
addition to our regular Thursday afternoon hours. We hope this
time will provide a greater opportunity for people to see and
our collection of local history items on display.
Thanks for your interest.
by Joseph A. Mulac
Museum News Items
George Fundich gave the Museum an article which appeared in the Daily
The article was written by George and by Steve Katich and appeared in
Daily Calumet on . The title of the article was, “Nicknames
Were Plentiful in Irondale” and it included 252 nicknames, compiled by
George and Steve, used in the Irondale neighborhood.
The article is available at the Museum.
Many former Southeast Siders have been recent visitors to the
Museum. Among then were Joe and Rose Bastie who now reside in
Florida. Joe is a retired Chicago police sergeant who served many
years in the South Chicago District. After returning home, Joe
Bonivir memorabilia and photos to the Museum. The materials have
been copied, photos have been scanned, and all will be returned to Joe
on his next trip to the area.
Other visitors included Denise Coons from Topeka, Kansas, Charles
Davis from Denver, Colorado, Pat Ferguson from Naples, Florida, Jim
from Dyer, Indiana, Connie Polivich from Nashville, Indiana, and Kay
Ed Boyd from Tuscon, Arizona.
If you have friends or relatives who are former residents of
the area, be sure to bring them to the Museum for a visit. It is
guaranteed to bring back numerous good memories.
by Barney Janecki
Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited
A second pictorial history of Chicago’s Southeast Side is “in
and should be released before the end of the year. With a little
luck, the book will be available for the Christmas shopping
This second book about the region tells the story of our most
and vibrant Chicago community from a chronological approach. It
at important themes of American History from the perspective of this
working class community. Industrialization, urbanization,
immigration, and Americanization were themes that played out on the
Side of Chicago. The book looks at how the community dealt with
like fire, depression, wars, pollution, and the decline of heavy
industry, especially the steel industry. The struggle
economic development and protection of the natural environment is also
part of the story.
The first part of the book deals with the early development of
the community. It concentrates on the coming of the railroads to
the region and on the importance of the Calumet River in drawing
especially the steel industry, to the area. The early
of the steel industry is chronicled through early photographs and
images. The middle portion of the book tells the story of each of
the Southeast Chicago communities: South Chicago, South Deering, the
Side, and Hegewisch. Next is the story of how this area dealt
the problems of urban development. And finally, the question of
future of the Southeast Side is addressed.
The book includes 231 pictures, maps, and other images from the
collections of the Southeast Historical Museum and from the author’s
collections. Many of the images come from the slide and negative
collections of the Museum and have not previously been available to the
Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited is being published by Arcadia
Press, publisher of numerous pictorial histories of local communities
the United States. The initial printing will include 2,100
This is the second book about our community. The first, Chicago’s
Southeast Side, was one of Arcadia’s best sellers, and has sold over
copies thus far. Dominic Pacyga and Rod Sellers were co-authors
the first book. Other works by Arcadia include: Chicago’s
Pullman District, Chicago’s South Shore, Mexican Chicago, and recently
released, Lansing, Illinois.
The book will be available for purchase at the Southeast
Museum located in the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 S. Avenue G in
The Museum is open on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 PM to 4:00
Beginning in November, the Museum will also be open on the first Sunday
of the month from 12:00 to 3:00 PM.
Author and historian Rod Sellers was born in South Chicago, grew
up on the East Side, and has spent his professional career teaching in
high schools of the community. He has compiled a wonderful collection
photographs which chronicle the story of these proud
Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited again taps into the wonderful
images from the collections of the Southeast Historical Museum.
has tapped into the stories and recollections of longtime community
to create this informative and entertaining history. It is sure
provoke memories, discussion, and interest among current and former
of the community, as well as others.
Museology Update Fall, 2001
The Museology Class has begun to meet and to become familiar with the
of the Museum. As soon as the orientation is completed the class
will continue the work started by previous classes. Students will
continue to add to the already existing website, Chicago’s Southeast
(www.neiu.edu/~reseller). The website already is a wonderful
of information and images about the area and it will continue to grow
this year’s class makes contributions.
The Museology class has received a grant from the Creative
Fund of the Disney Learning Partnership to assist with their major
for the year. The project will develop and publish a booklet
“Cultural Institutions: Transmitters of Culture”. The booklet
focus on the many churches and ethnic organizations which developed in
our culturally diverse community. The format of the booklet will
follow that of two previously published booklets: “Chicago’s Southeast
Side: Historical, Cultural, Ecological, Environmental Tour” and
Southeast Side: An Environmental History”. Both booklets are
at the Museum.
On May 18 Museology students from Washington High School
will be conducting a four hour tour for the Field Museum Cultural
Program (see additional story). The tour will focus on ethnic
mostly churches. More information on this later.
As always this year promises to be an interesting and very busy
year for our Museology Program, one of the best examples of project
education in the Chicago area.
Cultural Connections Program
The Southeast Historical Society and Museum is a partner in the
Connections Program, a partnership of museums and cultural centers
the leadership of the Field Museum Center for Cultural Understanding
Change. At present over fifteen partners are members. The
host events which encourage an understanding of the connections between
people of diverse background. Typically two events are held each
month. A pamphlet is available at the Southeast Historical Museum
which details the fall schedule of events for the partnership. A
schedule of spring events will be available after the first of next
Members of the partner organizations can attend events at a reduced
(typically $15 per event). Each event includes ethnic
If you attend three events during the year a fourth event is free of
Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity. The Southeast Historical
will host a community tour on May 18, 2001.
The officers of the Southeast Historical Society would like to
members to relate their own stories and memories about our
Articles will be published in future issues of this newsletter.
may be dropped off at the Museum or at the East Side Chamber of
Do you remember the Memorial Day Massacre? Do you have memories
working in one of the area steel mills? Any stories about
on Commercial Avenue? What was it like to live through World War
II or the Depression? Any other memories?
Illinois - Indiana State Line Boundary Marker
On August 2, 2001 the Commission
Chicago Landmarks took the first formal step in making the State Line
Marker an official Chicago landmark when it granted preliminary
status to the monument. The fifteen-foot obelisk is one of the
structures in the Chicago area and, according to the Landmarks
was placed on the state line in 1838.
In 1988 Tom Rutkowski, a member of the East Side Historical
initiated a project which resulted in the restoration of the State Line
Boundary Marker. It also was moved 191.09 feet due north of
its original location to the entrance of the State Line Generating
A small park, named Alan Benson Park, was constructed. Benson was
a neighborhood resident who worked at the power station and worked to
the marker restored.
The Hammond Historical Landmarks Commission is also looking into
the possibility of granting the marker landmark status. This is
because the site of marker is equally divided between Chicago and
Hammond. Ideally dual landmark status will be granted