The Outing

Vol. I No. 1 - FALL 1988

Clear skies and warm weather - a perfect day for a walk in our neighborhood. On Saturday, May 14th, the Edgewater Historical Society conducted its first walking tour organized by the Historic Sites Committee. About 30 people attended this spring walk which encompassed a six-block radius from the Edgewater Branch Library.

Highlighting the Tour…

Bethany Lutheran Church with its first building, the Bible Chapel, built in 1909. The Bethany congregation has been part of the community for over 75 years. Stained glass over the altar, by Pastor A.R. Kretzmann, was pointed out and current Pastor, the Rev. Don Smith, gave an excellent presentation on Church history. Presently, the original Chapel portion of the church structure is used as a Montessori school. Moving on to another example of Prairie style architecture, the group viewed…

The John Gauler (Twin) Houses, built in 1908, designed by architect Walter Burley Griffin. It was Griffin who, among other notable works, designed the master plan for the Australian capitol of Canberra. We walked westward to…

Senn Metropolitan Academy, a 1911 structure with "wings" added on in 1930. This structure dominates the Edgewater landscape with its nearly 400,000 square feet of educational space within the neo-classical architecture of Arthur Hussander. The group learned of: the structure’s early "country" setting; Dr. Nicholas Senn, the Swiss immigrant who played a significant role in Chicago history and contributed his name; and about Senn’s educational programs and ethnically diversified student body.

Starting toward the lake, there was the…

Broadway Armory Park, built in 1910 as an ice skating rink. Today it serves an armory function while also being a center for community activities organized by the Chicago Park District and the Edgewater Community Council. Just east of the Armory, at Winthrop and Thorndale, was the second Chicago Public School of the walk,…

Swift School. Another neo-classical design, Swift was opened in 1914 and honors Chicago’s 30th mayor, George Bell Swift. Swift is entombed in Rosehill Cemetery less than a mile away. Swift was noted at the time of its construction for its introduction of electric clocks. Today it is the only Chicago elementary school featuring a swimming pool as part of its physical education program. Also, the balcony of its large original Assembly Hall serves the Edgewater community with a Vietnamese language program. We proceeded south and east to the…

Church of the Atonement, built in 1889, reflecting the Norman-Gothic style of architecture. During our tour of this magnificent religious structure, conducted by the Rev. Bill Johnson, the group also enjoyed an organ recital and refreshments served in an authentically reconstructed Elizabethan Room in the Parish House. Having been rejuvenated, the group went on to view several beautiful private homes built in the early 1900s, one of which was the…

Colvin House, built in 1919 at Thorndale and Sheridan Road by the famous Prairie style architect, George W. Maher.

The Historic Sites Committee offered two valuable suggestions. One, that we remember to simply look up and appreciate our beautiful history as often as possible; and two, that we help in all possible ways to promote, restore and save our architectural resources.

"If not for our historical buildings, we would be like a man with no memory."
- Anonymous