Dorothy's Letters

Vol. XVIII No. 2 - SUMMER 2007

Sometimes we receive letters and emails from residents who lived in Edgewater and Andersonville and have moved on. Recently we learned of the death of Dorothy E. Johnson who kept in touch with us after moving to California and Arizona and then to Georgetown, Texas for her last years. Here are some excerpts from her letters.

Dear friends in Edgewater,

I do miss my friends that I made in the eighty years I lived there and the great transportation that Chicago has. I lived in California, Arizona and now Texas (1998) and none can compare with Chicago and especially Andersonville, where I was born at 5222 N. Clark.

I was born on November 30, 1914 and my family lived on the second floor very close to Simon’s tavern. A few years later we moved to 1724 Berwyn where my aunt Minnie Ledergren Johnson had her house, a two-story which has still a very long stairway, about 25 steps up. Aunt Minnie married again to a house painter, Axel Johnson who had his paint store there on Clark Street near Verdandi Hall, near Ainslie I believe. After I grew up around 1925-1930 there was a Tip Top Busy Butcher shop a few doors north of where I was born. There was also the Lind Hardware three story building, now the Swedish Museum and also Schotts Fish Store which is now Wikstrom’s. I worked at Nelson’s Bakery on the same block where I was born.

My only brother, Herb Johnson, who was nine years older came here with my parents from Hjo in Vastegotland, Sweden when he was six years old. When brother Herb was grown up he got engaged to a girl named Greta, also from Sweden whose relatives owned the bakery that was then a few stores south of the Stanton’s big remodelled Swedish bakery. I visited it when I was older and remember that it was not on a corner.

Through the years we moved around the north side. From 4500 St. Louis to 2618 Pratt and then to 2443 Morse and to 3007 Jarlath. Most of these were in the West Rogers Park area. I went to Senn High School as that was the closest in those years. I also worked at my cousin’s brother-in-law’s bakery and Deli on Belmont and Sheffield called Eklunds for a few years.

Before moving from Chicago, I lived 32 years at 1643 W. Catalpa, an area I always enjoyed. In those years I often ate at Kurt Mathiasson’s restaurant where Solveig was the great Swedish cook. When I think back at the old firehouse which was our polling place and is now a great home for the Edgewater Historical Society I am very proud of it all.

Regards, Dorothy E. Johnson