From the President

Vol. XXIV No. 2 - SUMMER 2013

By: Robert Remer

This wonderful 25th anniversary year continues apace.

What a great evening we had at our Spring Fund Raiser at Bryn Mawr’s Little Mexican Café! With 118 attendees, we had our biggest turnout of the last five years.

Event chair Marty Stewart’s team organized a wonderful affair with great food and conviviality; thanks to Marty, Dorothy Nygren, Tiffany Middleton (who organized the silent auction), Barb Strauss, Barb Baker, Pat Duff, Betty Mayian, Kathy Gemperle, Dorothy Doherty and our friendly photogs Gloria Evenson and Tracy Poyser. As many of you know this is one of three major fundraising efforts (also membership and the Fall Home Tour) that keep the museum doors open for our community. Your continued support is so important since we don’t charge an entrance fee; we rely on volunteers, and are locally funded by Edgewater.

Amid the friendly din, we watched a very surprised Elisabeth Szegho accept the Betty Mayian Volunteer of the Year Award; a person as lovely as the flowers she tends in our museum garden among her many contributions over her 25 years with EHS. Thanks so much, Elisabeth.

LeRoy Blommaert, collector extraordinaire, donated a silver place setting from the iconic Edgewater Beach Hotel for the live auction; nostalgia reigned as memories motivated much suspenseful bidding, the set remaining on Sheridan Road with successful bidders Art and Marsha Arfa. Congratulations.

Speaking of good turnouts, elsewhere in this issue you’ll note the SRO crowd for Patrick Steffes’ presentation about lakefront motels in Chicago. We knew it would be popular, but the speaker, the topic, and some great publicity about EHS from the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere boosted us beyond our limits. With over 70 people in the museum, we had to turn away over a score of disappointed visitors. Being housed in a former fire house, we have to respect the fire department’s legal limits and your safety. It was a painful duty to turn so many good folks away. Patrick has kindly agreed to reprise his presentation this summer at a larger venue. We apologize and will keep you posted.

It was heartening that our March annual meeting and the October Wyman Lecture by Lawrence Okrent also drew healthy crowds approaching 100 at the Broadway Armory. As we increase our membership, exposure, and interesting programs, we must confront reality that our lovely, but little museum just can’t handle the numbers. Likewise our exhibit space is limited, so we have to be constantly changing wonderful exhibits about Edgewater that otherwise should have had their own permanent rooms or walls. At some point in the not too distant future the board and the membership will have to look at expanding or adding to our current space and looking to you for your ideas and support.

Meanwhile, we anticipate summer’s opening of the new Edgewater Library. The older version was home during our first 15 years. We look forward to renewing the wonderful relationship we had over the past 25 years. We’ll learn more on May 23rd at 7PM at the Broadway Armory, when Alderman Harry Osterman hosts a community meeting about the library opening. His office is also organizing Edgewater Reads, a community effort to promote reading and to learn more about Chicago and Edgewater. We are eager participants in this effort that we hope will stimulate interest in our local history and local authors. We hope you, too, will want to participate.

We’re happy to honor one such Edgewater author, Denese Neu, talking about her book Chicago by the Pint on May 22nd at the Fireside Restaurant. Join us celebrating Chicago Craft Beer Week, with tales about local breweries and Edgewater pubs. The program is free with an affordable array of local beers. If you are, or know of other, local authors with a ken for history, let us know.

On May 4th we opened our 25th anniversary exhibit Living Treasures of Edgewater. We hope you enjoyed the members’ preview reception. If you haven’t already, please visit this exhibit about 25 extraordinary Edgewater residents who made significant lasting contributions to our history and well being. Read their stories and hear their voices. We believe the crux of our history is the people working through their community organizations that make Edgewater so great.

We can’t thank enough Marty Stewart and Dorothy Nygren, who co-curated this very professional exhibit; this is a labor of their love for Edgewater. Thanks also to their committee, who made difficult decisions narrowing the list of treasures to 25 from scores of recommendations of your neighbors who were equally deserving. This will become an annual celebration due to the wealth of great neighbors who have done so much. When you visit the exhibit you will see how Dorothy has taken our oral history program to new levels of professionalism and thoroughness.

We hope to see you soon.