Rod Sellers
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Southeast Historical Society
October, 2002                                                                            Volume XVI No. 2

A Few Words From the President:

         The request made on July 11, 2002 for the Illinois/Indiana Boundary marker’s designation as a landmark was favorably received and on July 31, 2002 the Chicago City Council approved Chicago Landmark designation for this historic structure.
     On August 31 a request asking for landmark designation for the Columbus Monument/Drake Fountain was submitted.   Its original location in 1892 was in front of City Hall.  In 1909 it was moved to its present location.  An interesting fact is that its original use downtown was to provide cool drinking water to office workers thereby reducing their need to visit saloons during the day.  It also was the first statue of Christopher Columbus in Chicago.  We await the final disposition of this request.
     The museum was open on September 7 during the 5K run held in Calumet Park and we had quite a few visitors.
     On September 13, Alex Savastano and I attended the 4th District CAPS networking and luncheon reception at which we met many fine people of the area.
     The museum was open on September 14 for a Chicago Park District ‘Hidden Treasures’ tour group who enjoyed their visit.
     Rod Sellers is involved with a group tour visiting our area on October 22 and 23.
     Our museum will be open on December 13 for a Chicago Park District scavenger hunt.
     You can see from the preceding and the articles in the Southeast Chicago Observer that we are trying to give more exposure to our society and our museum.
      Special thanks to our friends John Novak and Al Lerch for making a display stand for a donated brass plaque that came from St. Patrick’s Church.  The plaque was obtained through the efforts of Frank Stanley and Alex Savastano this summer.
                                                                                                                                                                             by Joe Mulac

Cultural Connections Program

             The Center for Cultural Understanding and Change at the Field Museum of Chicago operates a wonderful program which celebrates the cultural diversity of the Chicago area.  The program is named Cultural Connections and is a partnership of over twenty museums and cultural centers.  The  Southeast Historical Society has been a member of the Cultural Connections Program for three years. 
         The program sponsors a series of events which focus on a particular theme and are held throughout the year at the various partner institutions.  The theme for this year is “With Our Hands: Crafting Culture.”  The year’s events began with a Kick-off Assembly which was held at the Field Museum on September 14.  Rod Sellers manned a table with information about our museum and historical society as did other partner institutions.  Our “event” for this year’s  program will be a tour of the Southeast Side focusing on the built environment of the community.  The tour is scheduled for May 31, 2003 at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude with an ethnic meal at a local restaurant. 
        A schedule of this year’s events is available at the Southeast Historical Museum.  If you are a member of the Southeast Historical Society you may attend events at a reduced rate.  Additional information may be obtained at 312-665-7474.

 Know Your Chicago

      The University of Chicago Know Your Chicago program will be sponsoring a day long tour of our community entitled “Lake Calumet:  Where Industry Meets Nature.”  The tour will visit the Southeast Side on October 22 and will be repeated on October 23.  Tour guides will include Rod Sellers, Frank Stanley, Alex Savastano, Barney Janecki, and Joe Mulac. 

Museum Donations

       The museum continues to receive historically valuable and interesting donations. 
       Thanks to Steve Katich who donated a bound volume of the South Chicago Daily Calumet newspapers from January 1902 to June 1902.  It certainly makes for interesting reading.  Steve said that he found them at a garage sale in the Bush.  Don’t forget that the museum also has other bound volumes  of the Daily Calumet.  The collection is mostly complete from 1960 to 1979 with additional volumes from the mid 1980's also available.  There are some regular visitors to the museum who spend hours reading the fascinating stories in the “Cal” and researching community history.
       Thanks to Geraldine Jolly who donated her scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings about the “Little Steel Strike” and the accompanying “Memorial Day Massacre” which occurred in May 1937.  There are numerous interesting articles and photographs about one of the most important events in American labor history which took place in our community.  Geraldine was actually present on the day of the incident.  The scrapbook also contains articles about Geraldine’s being chosen “Miss Tilden, 1936".  Jolly was a student at Bowen High School and was accompanied to the Tilden Technical High School Annual Circus by her brother, David, a Tilden student.  At the time Geraldine and her family lived at 11641 S. Burley Avenue.  Does anyone remember this small neighborhood between the East Side and Hegewisch? 
       Numerous articles were donated to the museum from the estate of Paul Haller who was active in several community organizations and businesses in South Chicago and the East Side.  Among the items were Bowen yearbooks from 1950 to 1953, a jacket from the Chuck Motors football team, a softball uniform from the Hilltoppers, and many items related to the South Chicago Kiwanis Club and the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce.   There were also several old cameras which will be added to our growing collection of vintage photographic  equipment. 
       Thanks to the “mystery donor” who left copies of the 75th and 100th Anniversary books from St. Michael’s  Catholic Church.  The books were left at Calumet Park and the donor did not leave a name.  Please let us know who you are so that we can thank you for your donation.  We are still seeking donations of church histories and church materials for our collection.  For example, St. Michael’s had a wonderful 50th Anniversary book which we do not have in our collection. 
                                                                                                                                                                   By Barney Janecki

Museum Visitors 

       One of the most interesting aspects of volunteering to work in our museum is the opportunity to meet some very interesting visitors. 
       Diane Casey of Phoenix visited recently looking for information about the Dolatowski family who lived in South Chicago.  She was very happy to find several pictures of family members in our files. 
     Bob Sheldon is a researcher whose interests are local racetracks.  He brought  copies of articles and programs related to the Roby Race Track, the Wolf Lake Speedway, and the Hammond Speedway.  The Roby Race Track was located between 108th Street and 112th Street just east of the state line.  It closed in about 1937.  The Wolf Lake Speedway was located in Wolf Lake on the Indiana side of the lake near the current location of the Whiting beach in Wolf Lake.  The Hammond Speedway was located between Calumet Avenue and Sheffield Avenue in the mid 1930's.  This would later be the site of the 41 Outdoor Movie Theater.   If any readers have information or material about any of these or other racetracks please contact museum personnel.  Bob also donated a book which he wrote about race tracks. 
       Mike Wayne has been researching a relative, Ernst Hummel, who was an early East Side businessman and politician.  The site at 100th Street and Ewing Avenue which once was the location of the Host House for the 1933 Century of Progress and currently contains a Veterans Memorial, tank and a community sculpture is formally known as Hummel Square.  Mike has created and donated an exhibit about the life and accomplishments of Ernst Hummel which may be seen at the museum. 

E-mail Correspondence

 Our web site generates numerous compliments and  requests for information about the history of the Southeast Side.  Perhaps our readers can help with the following:
        Roy Sye is doing research on athletic teams from the Calumet area in the 1910's and 1920's.  Does anyone have information about the following:
 Hegewisch Athletic Association 
 Hegewisch Lightning Athletic Club
 Hegewisch Burnham Athletic Club
 South Chicago Athletic Club
 South Chicago Dellwood Athletic Club
 South Chicago East Side Maroons
 South Chicago O’Conner? Boosters
 South Chicago Orpheums
 South Chicago Panthers
 South Chicago Trumbull Tigers
 South Chicago Whales

 Phyliss Funk of Berryton Kansas asks:
Do you have an address for the First Evangelical Church of South Chicago.  My grandmother, who later married a Baptist minister and became one herself, attended that church as a young girl in Chicago. 

 Marsha Fogarty who grew up in South Deering and now lives in central Illinois tells this story: “When I was still in elementary school we had a visiting priest say mass at St. Kevin’s.  I do not remember his name but he told this story when he gave his first homily.  He said that people felt sorry for him for being assigned to our parish, but he said that when he came across the 103rd Street bridge and saw smoke hanging over the neighborhood, he saw the Holy Spirit hovering over us.  I was shocked that anyone would think Irondale was not the best place in the world to live.”

Museology Class

Last year’s Museology class completed their year long project which was entitled “Chicago’s Southeast Side: Cultural Institutions”.  A booklet and a historical calendar were produced and are available at the Museum. 

Saint Patrick’s Church

St. Patrick’s parish is the oldest church on the Southeast Side and was founded in 1857.  The area was known as “The Village of Ainsworth” at that time.  The church was originally located at 93rd and South Chicago Avenue across the street from the site of the current South Chicago Fire Station.  The church remained at that location until 1878 when it moved to 95th and Commercial Avenue.  In 1880 St. Patrick’s was remodeled into a combination building using the first story as a school and the upper one as a church.  In 1883 seven Sisters of Mercy opened the school with an enrollment of 207 pupils.  A high school followed in 1889.  It was the first Catholic high school in Chicago.  In 1902 the church and school were destroyed by fire.  The pastor, Father Van de Laar, had a new combination church / school building constructed at its present location.  Saint Patrick’s conducted a renovation program in 1950-51.  As part of that program, four large brass plaques were displayed on the north and south walls at the entrance to the church.  The plaques contained the names of parishioners who donated towards the renovations.  After Saint Patrick’s closed on March 16, 1986, the plaques were removed.  Henry DiCristofano, organist at Immaculate Conception Church and nephew of Alex Savastano, former president of the Southeast Historical Society, told Alex that the plaques were in the garage of Immaculate Conception Church.  Alex and Frank Stanley made arrangements to pick up the plaques and to bring them to the museum.  One of the plaques was cleaned and mounted on a movable display designed and constructed by John Novak and Al Lerch.  The other plaques are in storage at the museum.  Visit the museum and see this new acquisition from the oldest church on the Southeast Side.  Thanks to all who were involved in this historical preservation effort.
                                                                                                                                                                    by Alex Savastano 

Historical Trivia

 Besides the Museum of Science and Industry, the Columbian Exposition of 1893 left us another well known area landmark no longer in existence.  Name it and give its location.
                                                                                                                                                          Courtesy of Gloria Novak

Reader’s Contributions

     In the April newsletter a request was made for our members and readers to share their memories of the history of our community.  Mr. Robert Dettmer of Nashville, Tennessee responded with these memories. 
     My most vivid recollections of that big, friendly, fire-engine red No. 5 street car was taking it to the old Bowen Branch High School at 93rd and Houston Avenue.  Since I lived at 103rd and Avenue L (10307), I had only a short walk to catch old No. 5 at 103rd and Ewing Avenue.  I believe the front end destination sign read “Cottage Grove - Downtown.”  In any case getting to school was a major project.  Down Ewing it went, then turned on 95th Street, where always, always, a “ding-ding, ning-nar” alarm and crossing gates would announce the approach of a freight train - always, always, with 125 cars - hopper cars (“coal cars”, as we called them);  gondola cars, heaped with “slag” from the steel mills, cattle cars (now obsolete), oil tanker cars , and, to me, the most exciting - box cars, when advertising was permitted on the sides - Old Dutch Cleanser, Ceresota flour, Schlitz Beer, etc. as well as many, many “automobile cars”, not double decker carriers, as today, but regular box cars, all from the Ford Motor Company.  (I have no idea how they loaded them or how many automobiles one box car could carry!)  Finally, as the “drawbridge” went up after the little red caboose went by, we were back on the way down 95th Street..... after seeing the last of the freight train, when, after proceeding on old No. 5, for a short block - another “ding-ding, ning-nar” and the 95th Street bridge is going up, to allow a barge, steamship, or what have you through!  So-o-o, there I was - 30 minutes late again for class, with my usual daily excuse about railroads and bridges!
 .....years before air conditioning came into being, riding the old No. 5 was a pleasure - late at night, coming home from a movie in South Chicago or even downtown - or even a day at Riverview Park - sitting on those comfortable old straw seats, with cool night breezes blowing in through those criss-cross mesh windows!  The route of the old No. 5, easy to tell - from the East Side, down Ewing Avenue to 95th street..., and on down Commercial Avenue, turn on 91st Street, on past main Bowen High School, to South Chicago Avenue , on to Cottage Grove Avenue and downtown! 
     As for South Chicago stores, of course I remember!  Gassman Brothers, where my mother bought me my first suit with long pants, for grammar school graduation - all of $17, when I was thirteen.  Also bought a class ring, pin, or something at Cole and Young Jewelers.  Oh, and the Saturday nights at Gayety’s candies - waiting in line for their heavenly ice cream sundaes loaded with hot fudge, nuts, and mounds of whipped cream! YUM!  Most of our South Chicago shopping was limited to Woolworth’s, Kresge’s, and Scott’s 5 & 10, before they burned down.  And of course, everybody’s old stand by - Goldblatt’s!
 But back to the good old East Side shops!  Who could forgot Helbing’s Department Store at 105th and Ewing with overhead trolley baskets that would transport cash from various departments to the cashier’s desk up front to make change.  George Hanson, haberdasher, Juluis Cohen Dry goods, Rust’s Drug Store, Shaver’s Drug Store, Brin’s Pharmacy, George Willy Hardware - I remember them all.  Sweet old time memories! (And Claude Siegler’s East Side Theater.)
 P.S. I would love to hear from any old East Siders (1929-1945).               (Contact the museum for Mr. Dettmer’s address.)

100th Birthday

 Happy Birthday to Dorothy Anna Hagberg who celebrated her centennial birthday 
on September 28, 2002.  Dorothy was married to Grant Hagberg, owner of Hagberg Dry Ice & Fire Extinguisher Company, a long time East Side business.  Grant Hagberg was a Southeast Sider who attended Bowen High School. Dorothy was originally from Rockford, Illinois and she married Grant in 1939.  They started their own CO2 business in 1948.  Dorothy worked in the business until she retired in 1988.  Her son Grant Jr. and her grandson Grant III continue to operate the family business which is currently headquartered in Griffith, Indiana.

Triv. Ans: Delaware House - 130th Wolf Lake

More News

     On July 14, thirty people visited our museum as part of a bus tour sponsored by the Chicago Park district.  Some visitors said that they had never been to the area before and were pleasantly surprised. 
 James and Coral Sandilla sent greetings to their old friends here in Chicago from their home in Mesa Arizona.
 On August 22 Lorraine Morgan Terp and June Hansen Terp visited our museum.  Lorraine now lives in San Diego and June lives in Flossmoor, Illinois.  Jean Stanley and Lorraine reminisced about the World War II years when they worked at U. S. Steel South Works and sang in the Women’s chorus entertaining service men at Great Lakes and other locations.  June was pleased to see many of the items donated by her family proudly displayed for all to see.  Her father was George Hansen, well known haberdasher and community leader on the East Side. 
 Michael Hummel Wayne recently gave our museum a beautiful display of his grandfather’s life and accomplishments.  The display resulted from Michael’s intense study and research with our archival materials and elsewhere.  Ernst Hummel was the first full time alderman of our ward.  He also owned and operated the South Chicago Brewing Company and was elected as Cook County Treasurer and also Chicago City Treasurer.  He was an active member of Saint Petri Church, the East Side Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations.  The triangular piece of property at 100th Street and Ewing and Indianapolis Avenues was originally named Hummel Square in honor of Ernst.  This site once was the site of the Chicago Host House built for the Century of Progress in 1933. 
 Roy Kosic has been one of the custodians at the Calumet Park Field House for 31 years.  He has been very helpful to our museum staff since our opening on Labor Day, 1985.  Good luck, good health, and many thanks to you Roy.
                                                                                                                                                                       by Frank Stanley
Upcoming Events
      The Lake Shore Model Railroad Association ( will be holding an Open House on Saturday November 2 and Sunday November 3 from 11:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. at the Calumet Park Field House.  There is no charge for admission.  Come and see an amazing railroad layout and stop by the Southeast Historical Museum.
     The East Side Library is sponsoring a panel discussion by local authors tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 16 at 2:00 p.m.  Check with the library for any last minute changes Participants include: 

James J. Klekowski 
author of South Chicago U. S. A

Beatrice Lumpkin 
author of Always Bring a Crowd 

Kevin Murphy 
author of Degrees of Murder 

Rod Sellers 
co-author of Chicago’s Southeast Side and author of Chicago’s Southeast Side Revisited.


      Rod Sellers will give a slide presentation about the Southeast Side at the Homewood Public Library on Saturday November 23 at 10:00 a.m.

 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. 

Requests for Information

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. 

Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University