From the President
By: Robert Remer
What does the phrase “Edgewater Counts” mean to you?
Most certainly, it can mean that the community of Edgewater really matters. With that we wholeheartedly agree. At EHS we take our community very seriously, and thus we are embarking on the Edgewater History Project to preserve, protect and promote the ongoing history of this great community that really matters. More about that later.
The phrase can also mean that we count what we are as a community. The great decennial census of 2010 is now complete and the numbers that describe Edgewater are coming out. What a great tool to understand our history and ourselves.
Previously we used the term “Edgewater Counts” as a general title for programs and writings that probed the changing population of Edgewater, particularly our rich, diverse and ever changing immigrant populations. Our community continued to steadily grow and welcome many foreign born residents over the past 50 years culminating in the year 2000 when our population reached its peak of 62,198 with over 36% having been born in a foreign country (that was more than 1 out of every 3 of us!).
The results are coming in for 2010 and the changes are dramatic.
Suddenly reversing a 50 year trend, Edgewater lost considerable population, dropping to 56,521, a loss of 5,677 residents or -9.1%. Even more dramatic has been the considerable estimated drop in over 6,000 of our foreign born neighbors. Where did they all go?
The new census numbers are only beginning to come out, and much of the detail of what describes Edgewater will be rolled out over the coming months. This will include information on income, education, race, age, etc. This becomes our new history and we can compare to prior results to look at trends and tell part of the story of Edgewater.
EHS will be having programs over the coming years to explore the census and Edgewater. If you are digitally inclined, you might want to take a gander and try to the Federal census web sites. The data from the decennial census can be explored at
It can be a little clunky, but it is worth the effort. More detailed social information is collected by a statistical survey conducted every couple of years, and that is under the rubric of the American Community Survey that can be found at www.census.gov/acs/www/.
Edgewater has nine distinct census tracts that make up our Community Area #77; they are Cook County tracts 301-309. If you would like to crank numbers with like minded local history buffs, and help figure out what it all means, please contact us.
History can be expressed not just in numbers, but also stories, events, people, pictures, and organizations.
Edgewater has over 80 organizations, schools, houses of worship, neighborhood organizations, business groups, associations and other agencies, not counting individual businesses. They comprise a rich community fabric that makes this such an interesting and vibrant place to live. All their histories are important to us.
That is why we are launching the Edgewater History Project.
To expand our outreach to the community, and to enhance the access to local history, we have launched this multi year program to contact all those 80 plus entities to create ongoing partnerships to collect materials that will record their past and ongoing histories. That will also give us the chance to take the story of Edgewater’s history out to the community on a regular basis. Eventually, we would like to make those collections more available, particularly with scanned documentation and photos available on our web site. But that is further down the road. In the meantime we will be reaching out to raise funds to hire a staff person to work with your board of directors to make this possible.
We are starting to receive materials from a number of entities and we are signing up partner organizations who want to participate in this important community preservation effort. If you, or your organization, would like us to make a presentation about the Edgewater History Project, please contact us. We will be glad to come out to talk with you.
We will still be very much open as a museum for you to come see our permanent and changing exhibits. We will continue to recruit more wonderful docents whose dedication and time as volunteers keep us open and accessible.
We hope you will be able to visit the current exhibit on Historic Andersonville, and then our summer exhibit on Edgewater PRIDE: From Oppression to Expression that will be a celebration of the special history of the LGBT community.
Finally, I get the chance to thank those volunteer members of our board who have left this past year – they include Tom Murphy, Jim Pletz, Linda Komosa and Nancy Schroeder. They all made wonderful contributions to EHS and continue as volunteers, except for Jim who has taken a position in Michigan. Thank you all.