North End Women's Club 1897-2007

Vol. XIX No. 1 - SPRING 2008

By: Kathy Gemperle

A special exhibit is on display at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum until April 26th. The exhibit is a tribute to the women of the North End Women’s Club, which has honored the Edgewater museum by donating their archives to the museum. They also supported that donation with a substantial gift. It will take some time to go through the collection and make a more complete report.

What we discovered, in looking at the membership books, is that there is a storehouse of information on the early members, including their home addresses. Just by browsing through these logs, I learned that women from all over Edgewater were members. I found Mrs. Herman Lammers listed as a member; she lived on the 5200 block of Lakewood. Also Mrs. Jenks, who lived on the 5300 block of Lakewood. There is more. Mrs. Louis Hurter was a member and she lived at 6314 Magnolia in the only house still standing on the west side of that block.

Other names we found and recognized were Mrs. Neils Buck, who was married to Edgewater architect Neils Buck. Mrs. Herbert Perkins, who lived at 6106 Kenmore, was also a member and was photographed for the membership book. She lived in a large beautiful home that has been rated orange in the Chicago Historic Resources survey of important Chicago buildings. Also listed as a member is Miss Elsa Eberhardt, probably the daughter of Max Eberhardt, who built the landmark quality home at 6018 North Kenmore.

These early members of this community women’s organization were photographed for three keepsake membership books that are a treasure. But the women who continued as active members are another part of the story. These women worked in all kinds of fundraising projects in order to purchase a club house, the home at 6200 N. Sheridan that Sacred Heart Schools is now restoring. They purchased the home in 1923 for $123,000 and used it for their events until 1957.

There are a few photos of their activities and many certificates of thanks for donations to relief organizations such as C.A.R.E. In addition, the women hosted talks and lectures and even held fashion shows at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. As we look at Edgewater today, and note the contributions of our many female community activists, it is important to remember how the first women of Edgewater began their commitment to their own community.