From the President
By: Kathy Gemperle
The new year and the new millennium will bring us closer to the opening of our little museum. We have two contractors looking over the project and planning to offer bids. We are hopeful to start the last phase immediately. We have completed our year end books and have made projections on the last phase. Once we get the real estimates in hand we will have a better idea of what we will need for completion.
The big snowstorm in December found us unprepared for the realities of snow removal. Since I was out of town nothing got done until my son, David and I attempted to chop the ice after Christmas. We succeeded in clearing a path in front of the firehouse and widening the side path over the packed snow. The city did not help since the plows piled it high at the corner. The walk was like a little mountain at the corner. I saw this repeated at many intersections throughout the city. Now it is only a memory thanks to the thaw. Next year we will be better prepared.
In November we had the new furnace fired up to keep the building heated at a minimum of 54 degrees. At the end of December we got a gas bill of $644. We made a decision to drain the water pipes and turn off the water and gas- with the help of a plumber. We will reconnect everything once we have a contractor to complete the project.
We have decided to expand our walking tours to include a lunch. The first one will be at the Rosehill Cemetery with Al Walavich as the tour guide .It is scheduled for May 6th. It will begin at 12 noon. A second one will be scheduled at the beginning of June for the Bryn Mawr Historic District Walking tour. We will be planning a luncheon at the end of that tour which I will conduct on June 9th.
LeRoy Blommaert will conduct the tour of the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District on June 30. The tour will begin at North Shore Baptist Church and end at my home where we will have a luncheon buffet. We are looking forward to these walking tours and lunches this spring.
This past winter has brought the sad news of the deaths of two of the people who helped found the Edgewater Historical Society. First Bud Wyman, Jr. who was a 3rd generation Edgewater resident and an active contributor to our community history. Bud worked on the development of the Edgewater Historical Society by-laws which were necessary for us to establish our non profit registration. He led us through the process which took about 6 months and then served on our founding board.
We will also miss Frank Williams who passed away in January. Frank designed our great Logo before we had anything else organized. We were in agreement that a visual image is important when you are trying to start something new. Then years later when we ran our Home Tour in East Andersonville Frank and his wife, Jeane hosted the tour at their beautiful home on Rascher. Bud and Frank will be dearly missed.
If what we hear is true the mansion next to the Colvin House at Thorndale and Sheridan is slated for demolition to make way for the new Senior Lifestyles facility. We have opposed this demolition in vain since a vote was taken at the 48th Ward Zoning and Land Use meeting that was overwhelmingly in favor of it. 21-6. There were 9 people not attending and 9 abstentions. We learned of this meeting after the fact. Our concern now is that so few groups represented on this land use committee placed a value on this irreplaceable building. Our Board of Directors once visited the site to consider it as a location for our museum. But the price tag on the land itself was clearly beyond our means.
The home was one of three that stood in a row, north of the Colvin House. The others were demolished after they had been left to deteriorate. The lots have been empty for more than 25 years. What will be lost with the demolition of this home is the dramatic contrast in architectural styles between the Colvin House, built in 1909 by George Washington Maher in the Prairie Style and the Queen Anne style of this once beautiful home.
The Senior Lifestyles Corporation, who plans to operate the new facility on the site operates many facilities across the country. I have visited one in Cincinnati that retained an old mansion and incorporated it into the new facility. Apparently, this home which is valuable to our community is not valuable to their developer or to the 21 people who voted for its demolition.
The Edgewater Historical Society was founded to preserve community history. It was founded 102 years after the community was named and developed by John Lewis Cochran. While much of Edgewater architecture has been preserved west of Sheridan Road, less than 3% of Cochran’s original community has been preserved along Sheridan. Last year also saw the demolition of a Prairie School mansion on the 5300 block of Sheridan by the Armenian Congregational Church for, of all things, a parking lot. We must oppose these demolitions and seek the preservation and protection of the few remaining historic homes along the Sheridan Road high rise canyon.
Lastly, in preparation for the move into the Museum sometime this year (we hope) the Board of Directors reviewed some choices for chairs and decided to buy from Ikea. Because of a coupon from one of the Board members we now have 19 stackable chairs (assembly still pending)!