From the President

Vol. XI No. 2 - SPRING 2000

By: Kathy Gemperle

It feels like like the Millennium, so it must be. The worldwide celebration to welcome the year 2000 was spectacular, beginning in the Pacific islands and ending there 24 hours later. From the Chicago perspective, the fireworks display along the lakefront was beautiful and at least it wasn’t too cold to stand around Buckingham Fountain to watch the countdown on the Aon building in green laser lights. The city’s welcome of the new millennium seemed quiet compared to the outdoor music stage and skating in Moscow and the strange giant puppet performance in Estonia. A second part of the celebrations was the welcoming of the dawn of the new millennium. Lori Lynch and I represented Edgewater at Foster Beach. We were joined by a busload of people from Peoria who left there at 3 a.m. to see the sunrise over the lake. I guess that the rest of you were sleeping. It was a beautiful sunrise.

Yes, our millennium project is still on and you still have a chance to participate by sending in a photo of you and your family in front of your residence. We have received several responses, some with narratives about the families that have lived in your homes. My family converged here last summer for our photo but we will have to have it taken again - someone blinked. If it works better to have a picture of the house and then a close up of the people, we will be happy with that. We haven’t received any block party pictures but we still hope that some will be taken.

The Edgewater Historical Society Museum is still on track after a frustrating time last year. Our first contractor, Arcoiris, a minority, female contractor, stopped work on the project and did not pay the subcontractors. We were notified of this in June. After a meeting in July, it was determined that the surety company would have to take control of completing the project. This involved finding a new contractor, Metropolitan Corp., which offered their bid to the insurance company. Finding a new contractor took a few months, just like it had for us the first time. We were able to sign the new contract and have the pre-construction meeting with the City of Chicago in the same week just before Christmas. Work began shortly after Christmas and has continued through January. Our first payment was $36,183.00. We are looking into repairs on the windows, which will probably be part of the next phase of construction. We received an estimate on total restoration of the windows, which was $56,000, an amount we cannot afford. If anyone is knowledgeable on window restoration and interested, please contact me. In the meantime, our fundraising continues. If you have made a pledge and have not completed it yet, please consider doing so soon. We were delighted to receive a special donation from the East Andersonville Residents Council of $500. This is the first donation to the building fund by a neighborhood organization. It is our intention to give special recognition for all donations of $100 and more. Donations of $500 and $1000 will receive extra special recognition. Since the Building Fund has been growing over four years, we hope that, if you can, you will continue to contribute.

As noted in our lead article, St. Ita parish is celebrating its 100 year anniversary all through the year with a variety of activities. If you want to know more, please contact St. Ita’s for a schedule of events. For the last three years, I have been teaching a class at St. Gregory High School called Art and Religion. One part of the class involves visiting St. Ita Church, which the students find stunningly beautiful. After our visit we create paintings based on the sketches we have made.

At St. Gertrude campus of the Northside Catholic Academy, the third grades learn about community history under the leadership of Gail Smith. Her program includes creating a time-line of community history, a bus ride around the community of Edgewater and the creation of a miniature Edgewater out of paper and boxes. It was displayed at St. Gertrude’s for their open house at the beginning of February. We hope that other Edgewater schools will work with us as Gail has to create this exciting experience of the history of Edgewater. This year I was a guest lecturer for the third graders. When I showed the slide of John Lewis Cochran, most of them could identify him. Great!

Looking ahead, we cannot predict when the Museum will open. A lot depends on the City of Chicago grant which requires us to pay all costs and then seek reimbursement. The City has refused to reimburse us for the money paid to the first contractor, some $19,600. Without that reimbursement we will experience a cash flow problem.

Our Fall general meeting was hosted by Peirce School and involved a special tour of the kindergarten for EHS members. Those attended enjoyed seeing the school and the art collection. Thanks to Principal Janice Rosales and member Lori Lynch for hosting us.