v26-4 At the Library

Vol. XXVI No. 4 - WINTER 2015

Greg Borzo Transports Crowd Through Forgotten Chicago Cable Car History

The popular, award winning transportation journalist and historian Greg Borzo, seen above, kept an audience of over 80 captivated with slides and stories from his latest book, “Chicago Cable Cars” on September 22. This popular event was co-sponsored with Go-Edgewater and the Edgewater Library. Although plans never materialized to bring the cable cars up Edgewater way, it did go as far as Belmont, during its albeit brief life from 1882 to 1906. The system was so extensive that it was the largest in the world, outpacing San Francisco, having carried over one billion passengers. The attentive crowd was treated with several fun door prizes ranging from books to Bike the Drive tickets to a piece of actual cable. Greg is no stranger to EHS having loaned his collection of Chicago “L” photos for a wonderful exhibit and program in 2010.

Lindberg Moves Audience With Northside Swedish Memories

Rich Lindberg, the prolific Chicago historian/author, has engaged Edgewater history buffs over the years with his tales of crime during EHS programs and on his Chicago History Museum bus tours of Northside crime locations; he may also have touched some with his Chicago sports histories. But, on November 14, we saw a new side of him. As the second in a series of companion programs to our exhibit Voices of Edgewater, Rich read from his poignant award winning memoir “Whiskey Breakfast: My Swedish Family My American Life.” He was brought up on the North Side in a divided, divorced Swedish family, whose father was a successful post war home builder whose office was in Andersonville, but who also frequented the local social clubs. Rich, living with his mother and grandmother, had to come to terms with his father’s alcoholism, socialist leanings and several wives. His publisher had edited out over 100 pages of Andersonville reminiscences, but Rich shared some of those stories missing from the book, including a heart rending scene at the first parade when the neighborhood adopted the name Andersonville – he described his divided family standing uncomfortably on opposite sides of Clark St. glaring at each other during the historic festivities. Rich offered valuable insights in to the early developments of the different Swedish settlements that moved north to Edgewater from the 1800s. The evening was a fitting contribution to the Voices of Edgewater exhibit and celebrations.

Edgewater Politicians Find Place in New Book on Corruption

We found that Edgewater had saints and sinners in the new book “Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality,” by journalist Thomas Gradel and Professor and former alderman Dick Simpson. Both authors joined us September 29th at the Edgewater library to “showcase a gallery of rogues… and (to) layout a blueprint of institutional reforms.” Many other sections of Chicago laid claim to more corruption, but Edgewater (conviction free for over 30 years) did get mention for two politicians jailed for taking money from extortion or bribes (Commissioner Martin Tuchow and Alderman Paul Wigoda) in real estate deals. Offsetting them were our saints, Edgewater’s only two mayors William Dever and Martin Kennelly, who get special mention for their good government efforts (which unfortunately lost them subsequent elections).