Southeast Historical Society
Volume XVII No. 3
<>A Few Words From
Over these past summer months our society participated in
The Southeast United Methodist Youth Center, ‘The
Zone,’ and the Calumet Region Memorial Theatre presented the world
of “Unfriendly Fire,” which was adapted by Emile Garcia-Richards and Ed
Sadlowski from an original script by our own past president, author and
playwright, Kevin P. Murphy. The Calumet Region Memorial Theatre
was founded about five years ago by a team consisting of Rev. Zaki L.
Pastor of the East Side United Methodist Church, Frank Stanley and
P. Murphy, all members of our society. I saw the play on Sunday
10, and was very impressed by the professional presentation by our
area folks. The drama is in two acts and commemorates the “1937
Day Massacre” at the then Republic Steel plant in our East Side
On the last day of August, at a table spot
donated by Tom Shepherd of Pullman, Alex Savastano and I answered
about our society during a flea market at ‘The Zone.’
Thursday, September 4, Rod Sellers and I
a meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks at which a resolution
on the Drake Fountain (our Columbus Monument in South Chicago) was
to designate it as a city landmark. This resolution recommended
landmark designation to the Chicago City Council, which will vote on it
at a future meeting.
This marks the second historical landmark
in our community, the first being the State Line Marker.
society was instrumental in that designation as well.
On the first Sunday of September, as part
of the ‘Cultural Connections’ program of the Field Museum, Rod led a
tour of the East Side ending up in our museum. Rod also manned a
table with information about our museum at the Cultural Connections
at the Field Museum on September 10.
On October 7, a TV film crew visited our
and recorded views of our park for the Park District’s ‘Come Out and
series to be shown in November on cable access Channel 23. Check
with your local cable provider for the right channel in your area.
The Board of Commissioners of the Chicago
Park District held their regular board meeting on October 8 in our park
field house after a tour of the facilities, which included viewing the
Tom Lea murals on the second floor, our museum and other park activity
areas. Rod and I welcomed the Board to our museum and gave them a
brief history of our society and museum. We also told of the part
our museum plays in the Museology Program in which high school students
learn local history by their participation in various projects.
you no doubt know, Rod started this program when he was a teacher at
High School. He has now retired from teaching but not from
I would be remiss if I didn’t say a few words
about Frank Stanley, who has resigned as curator as you will read in
item in this newsletter. Frank, you truly are one of the finest,
most considerate, Christian gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure of
with. Thank you! When you get better, come on over and see what
helped start in the 1980’s.
We hope this newsletter finds all of you in
good health and ready to enjoy the coming holiday season.
Joseph A. Mulac
Southeast Historical Society News
It is with great regret that the SE Historical Society accepts
resignation of Frank Stanley from his position as curator of the
Historical Museum. Frank has stepped down due to health
Frank has been active with the museum since its opening in 1985. He has
been greeting visitors, accepting donations, creating exhibits, working
with the Museology program, and more ever since that time.
Ora Coon and museum volunteers Alex Savastano, Barney Janecki, Joe
and Rod Sellers will continue to operate the museum. Additional
are always welcomed.
Are your dues current?
Many members have renewed their memberships and several have upgraded
life membership. Thanks to all of you. Others have not kept
their dues current and will be dropped from our mailing list and will
longer receive the newsletter. If you have any questions about
membership status, stop in and inquire at the museum. Yearly dues
are $5 and life membership is $75. We need your support to
We continue to receive donations of many interesting and
A recent visitor to the museum brought in a photograph which
was discovered behind a fireplace during a remodeling project.
photo is from April 1926 and is an image of eight young women. It
is labeled as the Beti Club. Does anyone have any information
this group or organization? If so, please notify museum
Torrence Prisby recently donated three photographs including
a 1934 play from Saint Bronislava’s parish, Red Cross nurses during
and a social club from 1941-42.
Terry Swanson donated several Bowen Yearbooks which filled in
several gaps in our collection. We are still missing Bowen,
, and other school yearbooks from various years for our collection and
Joe Mulac donated a book from the Sacred Heart parish 90th
We welcome additional donations of church histories and anniversary
for our collection.
Another recent donation is a copy of a dissertation by Peter
Alter, Public Historian at the Chicago Historical Society. The
of the dissertation is “The Serbian Great Migration: Serbs in the
Region, 1880s to 1930s”. Peter has worked on the Global
project, part of which focused on the southeast side Mexican community
and the recently opened exhibit at the Chicago Historical Society
Washington: The Man and The Movement.”
We invite you to share your memories and memorabilia related
to the history of the southeast side with us. We are currently
information about the date of the extension of Indianapolis Boulevard
Ewing Avenue to Avenue L and about the original construction of the
Communications From newsletter readers:
“I received a copy of the newsletter in the mail today.....One of
these days I should attend one of the gatherings, and bring along an
memory from the South Chicago of yore. I still have (and wear) my
Robert Hall suit, purchased when they were on South Chicago
It comes into fashion every few years; the last time I wore it, I was
only one whose pants were cuffed! Either I’ll be buried in it or
donate it to your museum.
I grew up on the northern fringe of the area, actually near the
79th St. IC station (Cheltenham). My dad grew up at 103rd and
H; should try to get his younger brother to visit the museum, as I
seeing a sales pad from the grocery that was at the 104th end of Avenue
H. He had a job there years and years ago.
When they started that Southeast Historical Project, they had
an office over on Commercial between 91st and 92nd. I went down
with a box of postcards and they copied a good many of them. Saw
them in that book on South Chicago. No credit but that’s the
of my life. Haven’t added many since the others were
May sit down and copy the ones I have and donate a set or two to the
I worked at Wisconsin Steel (gone); shopped at Goldblatt’s (gone
- though I still have my credit card around here someplace); bought
at Gayety (now in Lansing); went to the dentist (Dr. Rowan) on 91st St;
had my eyes cared for by Dr. Park back when he had his offices in a
(house) where the parking lot now stands. (Still have an eyeglass
holder with his name on it)....
Anyway, here is a check for a life membership. Sorry for
rambling on; seems to come with age. Perhaps I shall change my
name to Nash, and become known as “the Nash Rambler”. “ (Editor’s note:
If you understood the last comment, your age is showing!)
“Received your newsletter with great joy. Nice to know
about South Chicago. I’m 83 years old and my husband (is)
I lived on 82nd and Burley and my husband (on) Muskegon, Marquette,
I attended St. Michael’s, Joe (husband) Immaculate Conception. I
did volunteer work at St. Michael’s and South Chicago Hospital
My husband went to Bowen and CVS and worked as an electrician at U. S.
Steel. Would like to know about the changes at Immaculate
St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Michael. Sent you a check for
membership....Keep up the good work! God bless.”
“Your website tour of Chicago’s East Side was awesome “ (received
We received a nice thank you note from Savastano’s Pizzeria and
Restaurant Chicago Style located in Bixby Oklahoma. Alex
former president of the Southeast Historical Society and museum
recently spent some time in Oklahoma helping to make pizzas at his son
Frank’s business which opened on January 17, 2003. Alex invites
travelers to Oklahoma to visit the restaurant and to “come south for a
taste of the north”. He says that the pizza is great and the
Savastanos look forward to seeing visitors from the old
How many of you remember dancing the “Jitterbug” at a dance hall
close by in Whiting, Indiana? Many of us tied the marital knot
a dance partner in the late 40's and 50's.
During the era of live band music dating back to the 30's, many
singles, as well as couples, rendezvoused at Madura’s Danceland located
at what is known as Five Points in Whiting (Hammond) Indiana just
the Illinois-Indiana state line. It attracted many Chicagoans
it was situated a few blocks from Lake Michigan. Most of the
crowd came from the East Side, South Chicago, South Deering and
The ballroom was spacious and alcohol free with a minimal
fee. The floor was famous for its spring-cushioned floor which
dancing the light fantastic a pleasure. Live music was provided
such attractions as Don Pedro, Hal Kemp, Bernie Cummins, Frankie
Frankie Carle, Glen Gray, Ted Weems, Paul Whiteman, Art Kassel, and
Danceland was actually built in 1926 but was not purchased by
Michael Madura until 1929 when it was moved to make way for the Lever
soap plant. Mike Madura died in 1956 but his son carried on the
until 1967 when it was destroyed by fire and never replaced.
While the younger Madura realized that his father had certain
preferences, he had to adjust to the beat of the times in order to
“My father loved Wayne King and Guy Lombardo. He kept that
until the early 50's when rock became popular. The kids would
to the rock and roll dances and tell him that their parents had gone to
Danceland. That made him happy.
by Gloria Novak
(Editor’s note: How many readers remember “hanging out” at Art’s
located at “Five Points”? If you have any memories you want to
send them to the museum.)
Bits and Pieces
A tip of the hat to author, director, and actors who put together
“Unfriendly Fire.” The play was adapted from an original script
by Kevin Murphy (member and former president of the Southeast
Society), was directed by Emil Richards, and had a huge cast led by Ed
Sadlowski. The premier performance of the local community theater
group was received by enthusiastic full houses on three successive days
(August 8,9,10) at the Zone. The story, using factual material as
its source, depicts the historical Memorial Day Massacre of May 30,
at the Republic Steel Plant on the East Side. 560 people attended
the offering and were complimentary with their applause and
Many folks who missed seeing this epic play are asking that it be done
With the recent sale of Advance Bank (formerly South Chicago
Bank), our museum benefitted by a donations of a number of old records,
newspapers, photos, and memorabilia from the bank’s old and
history in our area. We are thankful that Leonard Swajkowski
of us and arranged the transfer. A fine oil painting of Morgan
now graces one of the walls of our museum.
We also learned that the valuable collection of pictures of local
notables recognized by the Academy of Humanitarians board, will be
from the old bank (South Chicago Bank) to the new Royal Savings Bank
now under construction. The pictures will be on display for the
to enjoy. That is the kind of cooperation we need from local
The venerable Rod Sellers retired from a long, outstanding career
as a teacher last fall. Fortunately he will stay on as our vice
and a tireless worker for the museum. Our congratulations for the
many teaching awards he received during his stellar career.
Our Gifted Students Program (Museology) will continue.
The new teacher will be Douglas Stalnos from Washington High
Rod will mentor Douglas on the ins and outs of the program. We
forward to continued success in the program which is sponsored by the
Department of the Chicago Public Schools.
Genrose Diorio, beloved East Sider, says that she used to go
to the G’s - Goldblatts, Gassmans, Gayety, and Greens. Being a
dancer, she and Jerry Borozan fondly remember dancing at the Trianon,
Danceland, O’Henry Park, Marquette Gardens and many more. These
were beautiful and reasonably priced - now do you remember why we call
them the “good old days”?
by Frank Stanley
Among recent visitors was Ana Lopez who was a student in the
Museology class in the summer of 1990. Ana fondly remembered
efforts to organize museum collections and commented on how much the
Also visiting was Marian Marsden Harter who worked with the Southeast
Chicago Historical Project as a college student at Columbia College in
the early 1980's. She was very happy that the Project is part of
the museum collection and has been preserved.
East Side Pride 10th Anniversary Celebration
Date October 26,2003
Location St. Francis de Sales High School, 101st and Ewing
Time 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Tickets are $10 for dancing and entertainment. Raffle tickets
available for $20
Lake Shore Model Railroad Open House
Date November 1,2,8,9, 2003
Location Calumet Park Field House 9801 S. Avenue G
Time 11:00am - 4:00pm
No charge to visit a wonderful model railroad layout. SE
Museum will also be open.
History of the Southeast Side of Chicago Slide Show
Date November 5 , 2003
Location Orland Park Public Library 14760 Park Lane, Orland Park,
Time 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Rod Sellers will give a slide presentation about the Southeast Side
followed by audience comments and questions