Rod Sellers
Southeast Historical Society
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Southeast Historical Society News
October, 2001                                          Volume XV No. 3

East Side Sesquicentennial 1851 to 2001

A Few Words From the President:

Your officers had a board meeting on September 22 at which time the following 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 reviewed.  We had a nice showing of visitors.  Were you there?  We missed you!
  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 Southeast Side Revisited elsewhere in this newsletter.
 We are in dire need of someone to handle and put out our quarterly 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 the Field Museum and the third community meeting on ‘Wolf Lake, One Lake’ in Hegewisch.
 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. in addition to our regular Thursday afternoon hours.  We hope this additional time will provide a greater opportunity for people to see and appreciate 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 Calumet.  The article was written by George and by Steve Katich and appeared in the 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 Melbourne Florida.  Joe is a retired Chicago police sergeant who served many years in the South Chicago District.  After returning home, Joe mailed 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 Mikulski from Dyer, Indiana, Connie Polivich from Nashville, Indiana, and Kay and 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 production” and should be released before the end of the year.  With a little luck, the book will be available for the Christmas shopping season.  This second book about the region tells the story of our most interesting and vibrant Chicago community from a chronological approach.  It looks at important themes of American History from the perspective of this urban, working class community.  Industrialization, urbanization, unionization, immigration, and Americanization were themes that played out on the Southeast Side of Chicago.  The book looks at how the community dealt with problems like fire,  depression, wars, pollution, and the decline of heavy industry, especially the steel industry.   The struggle between 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 industry, especially the steel industry, to the area.   The early history of the steel industry is chronicled through early photographs and postcard images.  The middle portion of the book tells the story of each of the Southeast Chicago communities: South Chicago, South Deering, the East Side, and Hegewisch.  Next is the story of how this area dealt with the problems of urban development.  And finally, the question of the 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 personal collections.  Many of the images come from the slide and negative collections of the Museum and have not previously been available to the public. 
 Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited is being published by Arcadia Press, publisher of numerous pictorial histories of local communities throughout the United States. The initial printing will include 2,100 copies.  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 12,000 copies thus far.  Dominic Pacyga and Rod Sellers were co-authors of the first book.   Other works by Arcadia include: Chicago’s Historic Pullman District, Chicago’s South Shore, Mexican Chicago, and recently released, Lansing, Illinois. 
 The book will be available for purchase at the Southeast Historical Museum located in the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 S. Avenue G in Chicago.  The Museum is open on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  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 of photographs which chronicle the story of these proud neighborhoods.  Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited again taps into the wonderful  images from the collections of the Southeast Historical Museum.  He has tapped into the stories and recollections of longtime community residents to create this informative and entertaining history.  It is sure to provoke memories, discussion, and interest among current and former residents of the community, as well as others. 

Museology Update Fall, 2001

The Museology Class has begun to meet and to become familiar with the collections 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 Side,  (  The website already is a wonderful source of information and images about the area and it will continue to grow as this year’s class makes contributions. 
 The Museology class has received a grant from the Creative Classroom Fund of the Disney Learning Partnership to assist with their major project for the year.  The project will develop and publish a booklet entitled “Cultural Institutions: Transmitters of Culture”.  The booklet will 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 “”Chicago’s Southeast Side: An Environmental History”.  Both booklets are available at the Museum. 
 On May 18 Museology  students from Washington High School will be conducting a four hour tour for the Field Museum Cultural Connections Program (see additional story).  The tour will focus on ethnic institutions, 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 based education in the Chicago area. 

Cultural Connections Program

The Southeast Historical Society and Museum is a partner in the Cultural Connections Program, a partnership of museums and cultural centers under the leadership of the Field Museum Center for Cultural Understanding and Change.  At present over fifteen partners are members.  The partners 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 year.  Members of the partner organizations can attend events at a reduced rate (typically $15 per event).  Each event includes ethnic foods.  If you attend three events during the year a fourth event is free of charge.  Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity.  The Southeast Historical Society will host a community tour on May 18, 2001. 

Authors Wanted

The officers of the Southeast Historical Society would like to encourage members to relate their own stories and memories about our community.  Articles will be published in future issues of this newsletter.  Articles may be dropped off at the Museum or at the East Side Chamber of Commerce.  Do you remember the Memorial Day Massacre?  Do you have memories about working in one of the area steel mills?  Any stories about shopping 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 on Chicago Landmarks took the first formal step in making the State Line Boundary Marker an official Chicago landmark when it granted preliminary landmark status to the monument.  The fifteen-foot obelisk is one of the oldest structures in the Chicago area and, according to the Landmarks Commission, was placed on the state line in 1838. 
 In 1988 Tom Rutkowski, a member of the East Side Historical Society, 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 Station.  A small park, named Alan Benson Park, was constructed.  Benson was a neighborhood resident who worked at the power station and worked to have the marker restored.
 The Hammond Historical Landmarks Commission is also looking into the possibility of granting the marker landmark status.  This is important because the site of  marker is equally divided between Chicago and Hammond.  Ideally dual landmark status will be granted simultaneously.
Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University