Austin "Bud" Wyman II Lecture Series
By: Kathy Gemperle and Dawn Wyman
The Board of Directors of the Edgewater Historical Society has designated one lecture each year to be given in honor of Bud Wyman, founding board member of the Society and Edgewater volunteer extraordinaire.
Bud was well known in Edgewater because of the time and energy he gave to so many organizations. When there was talk of starting the Edgewater Historical Society Bud was there to lend his expertise in developing the mission statement and by-laws. This gave the organization a good start. He also helped in the application for non profit status with the IRS. Bud continued as a Board member until his health and other commitments led him to resign. But when the Society faced a law suit in 1997, Bud was there with advice and even volunteered to take up our defense and act as our lawyer which he did for most of a year.
Bud was the third generation of Wymans in Edgewater. His maternal great-grandparents Harry Smock and Anne Grace Ritchey Smock came from Keokuk, Iowa seeking to live in Chicago and take advantage of the educational opportunities here. They moved with Harry’s mother to Edgewater and lived at 1441 W. Berwyn, raising 5 children there. Some of their children attended Senn High School and sisters Miriam and Dorothy reported that they were the first ones to enter the school when it opened in 1912. There at Senn Dorothy met Bud’s father, Austin Lowell Wyman, in freshman year. They graduated together: he. Valedictorian and she, Salutatorian. Though he went off to Harvard and she to U of C they eventually married and raised their family in Edgewater. Austin Wyman II, known as Bud, was born in 1927.
The Wymans were a family from Vermont who migrated to Sycamore Illinois in 1837. Father Byron and Mother, Annette Lowell were both teachers who married and raised seven sons. One son, Vincent D., moved to Chicago to study law and met Ida Phelps. When they married they moved to Edgewater. In an amazing series of moves they alternated living in a house to living in apartment buildings. In 1899 Austin Lowell Wyman was born while they were living on Farragut in a house that was demolished for the construction of Trumbull School. They moved to a house at Foster and Paulina and then to an apartment on Carmen in 1902. From 1903-1908 they lived in a home at 3072 Lincoln St. In 1908 they acquired their first automobile. Then they move to an apartment on Sunnyside. After 2 years they moved to the home at 5917 N. Magnolia, known to many as an area landmark. It was designed by architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1908.
We were really surprised to hear they moved to 1317 W. Early and then in 1913 to a large house at 5423 N. Kenmore. That house, built in 1894 required servants to keep up with its Operations. During this time they owned a 36 unit apartment building which Ida managed. While they lived there Austin met Dorothy Smock at Senn. In 1916 they had moved to 1454 W. Fargo, an apartment. By this time Austin was ready to go to Harvard. When he returned and married Dorothy Smock they eventually moved to the suburbs.
Austin L Wyman II, Bud, was born in 1927. He graduated from New Trier High School and in 1948 Bud graduated from Harvard. He returned to Chicago and decided to become a lawyer, graduating from Chicago Kent Law School in 1951. He worked in Chicago, married and lived in the suburbs. After a second divorce Bud returned to Edgewater and in 1969 he married Dawn McKee and they moved to their home on Glenlake Avenue in Edgewater Glen.
Knowing that his family was from Edgewater gave him a sense of responsibility for the development of Edgewater. In 1973 he founded the Community Bank of Edgewater in response to the lack of economic development in the community. As an investor in the community he became the managing partner of Andersonville Limited Partners who developed the Landmark at Berwyn and Clark Street. Later he opened One Touch of Nature, a gallery on Clark Street. In time he became the President of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce.
He became more involved in the community by joining the Board of Directors of the Edgewater Community Council, eventually acting as Chairman of the Board. In the 1980s he participated in the development of the North Lakeside Cultural Center and joined that Board of Directors. In 1987 Bud helped with the founding of the Edgewater Historical Society. By 1987 Bud had been an active volunteer in some 15 organizations
While doing all this volunteering and attending numerous meetings Bud never missed an opportunity to pursue his love of nature and birdwatching. He served as the President of the Chicago Audubon Society and was known to take field trips all over the country in the pursuit of birds in all seasons of the year. He was fond of the lake shore parks and often went to Montrose Point to track migratory birds.
This love of birding is what led the Society to set the first Bud Wyman Lecture as “The Mysteries of the Magic Hedge” by Dr. James Landing on March 16, 2002. Unfortunately, Dr. Landing was taken to the hospital and could not reach us, so the lecture itself never happened. But we gathered together to celebrate Bud Wyman and his dedication to Edgewater. His wife. Dawn Wyman, joined us as did his daughter, Beth. We will schedule another lecture when we move to our new Museum later this year.