From the President
By: Kathy Gemperle
Our opening on October 6, 2002 was a sight to see. People from all over Edgewater and even visitors from out of town were there to cheer as we cut the ribbon. Alderman Patrick O’Connor, Alderman Mary Ann Smith, former State Senator Art Berman. Barb Stanley, ECC president and Architect Thom Greene were there to cut the ribbon and mark the occasion along with about 300 people. Win Gillis in red vest and straw hat was there with his model A Ford as were the 501 Club with their 1950’s pumper and chief’s car. The wind gusts were strong and kept the red and white balloons waving in the air. The yellow mums from Gethsemane Garden Center glowed in the bright sunlight. Despite promises of rain it was a glorious day.
Visitors were treated to a photo exhibit titled Edgewater Streets and display cabinets featuring the Edgewater Beach Hotel, the Bryn Mawr Historic District and the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District arranged by Lori Lynch and Mark Harding. The display windows were filled with old suitcases and things like the high chair from Frances Posner’s house. Another display featured a variety of donated items such as a portable Victrola and a photo montage of Mary Thiry’s garden awards. In a special cabinet in the center of the room was displayed a very old map showing the plats and numbering of lots in sections of Edgewater. One other cabinet displayed the photos of the museum project from derelict building to finished museum.
Tom Dwyer, magician and computer guru was there in his Tuxedo and top hat. Sandee Remis was there in an elegant 1940s style dress and hat. LeRoy Blommaert was there in his vintage suit and straw hat. Even Carl Helbig sported a vintage straw. Board members, Marie Morrissette, Pam Ball, Bob Remer, Linda Komosa, Wally Bradford, and Larry Calhoun were there to help manage the event along with volunteers, Betty McKnabb, Joan Bradford and three students from St. Gregory High School who managed the refreshments in the kitchen for the entire afternoon.
Since that wonderful day we have been busy trying to set up the archives, learn about the computer programs and finding places to store things. A short time after the opening we were told by ECC that they wanted to nominate our project for a Driehaus Architectural award. Thom Greene handled the application form. A committee visited the site on November 7 at 8:30 a.m. It is thanks to Thom Greene and Rick Proppe and their project manager Dan Ford that the dream of this museum is a reality.
In October Tim Rasmussen, business manager of Charlie’s Ale House on Clark Street named the date of the fundraising event he had organized to benefit the Museum. He was aware that we stilled owed $15,000 on the project and with the help of two neighborhood associations we were able to create the event on November 6, just one month after the opening of the Museum.
Besides planning the event another small committee was working on the Silent Auction. Zora Rolny took the lead. Lisa Ginsberg, Pam Ball and Betty Mayian helped to make this auction so successful. The Silent Auction raised $2,500 and the entrance donations raised $7,500. Our goal was within reach after this event.
That’s not to say we are finished and ready to operate. You may have noticed that the exterior carriage lights have not been installed. Nor does the kitchen have a sink or cabinets. All the second floor windows need UV protected shades to make the archives safe from the damage caused by light and of course the backyard will remain unfinished until we have more funds.
But we have a lot of enthusiasm for the task. Our fundraising campaign for the completion of the project is very low key. We need at least 20 people to step up with pledges of $1000 or we need 40 people to pledge $500 or two hundred people to pledge $100. Each will get their name on the founding donor’s plaque and a place in the history of Edgewater.
We thank all of you who have supported us and we beg those of you who can to make your pledge now so we can move forward with more programs and activities at the museum.