By: Karen Donnelly
Following in the grand (?) tradition (???) of such media greats as America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries, the EHS Scrapbook is proud to present:
Here is your chance to become a part of local history - by helping EHS solve some of its most challenging historical puzzles. Take, for example:
The Case of the Disappearing Avenue
East Andersonville is justly proud of beautiful West Farragut Avenue between Glenwood and Clark Street. The building facades on the north side of the street have remained mostly unchanged and historically significant for decades.
Farragut also runs through the equally attractive community of West Andersonville, picking up west of Ashland Avenue.
But was this interrupted section of pavement - at one time or another - a single stretch?
A few local residents have heard stories of being able to walk along Farragut between Clark and Ashland - ground currently covered with storefronts, apartments, and a playlot.
Further impetus to the theory that Farragut once ran between Clark and Ashland comes from a close look at the buildings on the west side of Clark Street, at the point where Farragut ends.
Two tall brick structures flank a smaller one-floor storefront that lies directly in the path of what would have been Farragut Avenue. Moreover, the upper apartments of the two tall buildings have rounded cupolas much like those found on many corner buildings in Chicago. These cupolas face out onto what would have been Farragut.
Could the “two” Farragut Avenues have been one many years ago?
The Case of the Street with Two Names
Look carefully at the porch of one of the older graystone buildings on North Glenwood Avenue and you’ll uncover a curious sight.
Carved into the stone is a second street number - totally unrelated to the current street numbering system.
The number dates back to the time when Glenwood was Southport Avenue - an extension of the current Southport Avenue that now has its north terminus at Clark Street just south of Montrose Avenue.
Southport disappears for several blocks due to the near-parallel run of Clark Street. Further north, it is blocked by St. Boniface Cemetery.
When it picks up again north of the graveyard, it has strangely changed - into Glenwood Avenue.
But, once upon a time, this northerly portion was still Southport Avenue, named for the street’s original destination - Southport, Wisconsin - now known as Kenosha.
What happened to Southport? Why did it become Glenwood? The answer is now shrouded in time.
If you or anyone you know has information leading to the resolution of these historical theories, you are asked to contact Kathy Gemperle.
Easily verifiable evidence of your resolution (e.g., photographs) would be gleefully accepted, but any personal anecdotes, secondhand stories or crazy suppositions are also welcome.
Any information you provide can be kept strictly confidential if you like - though we think you would much prefer that everyone know what a terrific historical sleuth you are.