v26-1 From the President

Vol. XXVI No. 1 - SPRING 2015

By: Robert Remer

We hope you and yours had a full and rewarding holiday season since our last issue came out in the fall. We wish you all a Happy New Year as EHS proudly starts our 27th year as your local historical society and museum. EHS was not dormant through the chilly winter weather.

We are grateful to Kathy and David Gemperle for hosting the holiday party at their historic home for the board and the docent volunteers; it was tasty, convivial, and a great way to toast the season and share memories from the year past.

Several EHS members took advantage of the group discounted tickets for the White City Musical held at the renovated Indian Boundary Park Tudor-style field house in November. It was a delightful trip down memory lane to the World’s Columbian Exhibit. Thanks to Barb Strauss who got out the publicity for the discount program, and especially to Rogers Park writer June Finfer and Edgewater composer Elizabeth Doyle for the great entertainment.

Our Motoring Through Edgewater exhibit continues to reap benefits, and we again thank our curator/historian Tiffany Middleton. Tiffany arranged the presentation in December by Erica Ruggiero, of Preservation Chicago, on the history of the other motor rows that prevailed in Chicago in the 1920s, in addition to the one in Edgewater.

The Chicago History Book Group continues to thrive at the Edgewater Library, and I would like to thank Marsha Holland for moderating the December discussion of Growing Up With a City, by Louise de Koven Bowen, a Jane Addams protégé, who might well have become Chicago’s mayor in this modern age.

In the last issue, I waxed optimistic about the future preservation of Trumbull School, and the news continues to confirm our optimism. Alderman O’Connor’s public meeting in November at the school was attended by hundreds of community residents who wanted to save the building and to hear proposals to save it as a school or for housing. (Retail usage had been previously eliminated as unacceptable to a community work group.) A subsequent online opinion survey demonstrated “great amount of support for landmarking” and strong support for either a school or a housing proposal that would save the auditorium for a live theater group. The Alderman’s staff have also been in close contact with the Board of Education to come up with workable language that would go in the RFP to make sure that the winning buyer of the school would accept landmarking. The next steps will be for the community work group to finalize a list of acceptable uses and criteria before a Request for Proposal will be issued. The EHS position is to landmark the building and save the auditorium. Before the next quarterly Scrapbook issue, we will be sure to let you all know of further progress. We have much to look forward to, and if successful, we will have many people to thank.

At our annual meeting March 21 (10 a.m. at the Edgewater Library) you, the members, will be electing and reelecting one third of the board of directors; we still have a couple of vacancies. Several of the founding and early board members are still with us (and we are not getting much younger). We have, however, in the past few years been making a conscious effort to bring in new and younger board members who can bring fresh perspectives. Their contributions have been very significant and important and they hold the key to the EHS future. As we plan ahead, we are looking more and more at succession planning to make sure we have the people and financial resources in place to assure a healthy and long lasting future for EHS. To that end, I would ask you to consider whether you or someone you know might want to consider joining our board or making a significant volunteer commitment. We are always interested in getting people with interests in local history research, fund raising, collections, exhibits, oral histories, publicity, finance, facility management, you name it. In terms of volunteer hours, the biggest need is for docents who open the museum on weekends and staff our summer garden concerts. All volunteer efforts are welcome. Just let us know of your interest.

Speaking of volunteers, EHS will be having a booth at the free annual Chicago Volunteer Expo, which will be held at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on February 22 from 10-4. You will have a chance to talk with us about volunteer opportunities and to speak with over 75 other Chicago not-for-profits.

We have an interesting year or two coming up, so be on the look out for the upcoming April fundraiser, All That Jazz in Edgewater, as well as future upcoming exhibits on Edgewater Landmarks, Immigration and Census, and the 2016 Edgewater Beach Hotel Centennial.