Then and Now
The first “Then and Now Tour,” sponsored by the Edgewater Historical Society, was held on Sunday, June 6, 1992. About 25 people started the day’s adventure in front of the Church of St. Ita on Broadway and Catalpa and donated $1.00 each for a tour map. The map, designed by Kathy Gemperle, was uniquely bordered with copies of ads for Bryn Mawr businesses dating back to the 1890s.
The interior of St. Ita’s was described by Chuck Kessler, the church’s music director. Martha Kraeger arranged for this special tour which focused on the iconography and the history of building the church. Additional comments on its architecture were offered by Thom Greene, EHS Vice President and all-around knowledgeable personage.
The tour then visited 20 other buildings and sites, where photos of previous structures were shown and compared with current buildings. Not all were historic sites, but at least seven are noted in the Landmark Commission’s Landmark Survey of Edgewater.
In front of the Denifer at Kenmore and Balmoral, Bill Steinfeld entertained the small but attentive group with storks of his days growing up in the building.
In front of the building last occupied by Walgreen’s at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Winthrop, tourgoers viewed four photos of the same location from 1886 to 1936. Perhaps the most significant differences noted, photo to photo, were the widening of Bryn Mawr, the narrowing of its sidewalks and the removal of trees. These changes created an urban street out of one that was much more suburban in character 60 years ago.
The group concluded the tour on Ridge at the new community garden designed by Thom Greene. (And a beautiful green it is!) Located on a space left unattended since 1950 when the city extended Lake Shore Drive to Hollywood, the Hollywood Garden Project is sponsored by the Edgewater Beautiful Committee of the Edgewater Community Council and 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith.