V27-2 From the President

Vol. XXVII No. 2 - SUMMER 2016

By Robert Remer

What an amazing year! What awesome exhibits of your community’s history. They are the major effort of your historical society in terms of volunteer hours, and community or educational impact.

Just last May 2015 we closed the award winning exhibit “Motoring through Edgewater,” and it delighted young and old about Edgewater’s role in early automotive history in Chicago. Special thanks to Tiffany Middleton for an exhibit that still resonates that had been one exhibit people are still talking about.

Quickly followed by the Voices of Edgewater exhibit, celebrating our diverse, significant and constantly changing immigrant population. Some neighborhoods are as high as 55% foreign born – bet you didn’t know that! The theme of Voices of Edgewater will be ongoing as we continue to collect oral histories and schedule programs addressing the history of the immigrant in Edgewater. Dorothy Nygren had an awesome team. And then, within hours of the last visitor on May 28, 2016, materials were on their way back to their owners, the walls were empty and Dorothy and Marty were on their way for a much deserved vacation.

Within hours of one exhibit closing, Kathy Gemperle began constructing the exhibit called the “Edgewater Beach Hotel, 100 years later,” which debuted on June 3rd 2016, the 100th anniversary of the opening of the hotel, to a delighted members’ preview. The exhibit was years in the planning and did not disappoint. EHS has probably the best collection of materials from the iconic hotel. The exhibit environment includes everything from palm fronds to famous silverware to a sit-down dining table with 100 year old menus (and prices!) The walls abound with photographs and postcards evoking eras long since gone.

Kathy’s committee included LeRoy Blommaert, Thom Greene Marsha Holland, John Holden, Morry Matson, Steve Meiss, Tiffany Middleton, Sandra Remis and Robert Remer. Additional support by Martin Stewart, Dorothy Nygren, Tom Murphy, Nancy Schroeder, Larry Ebert, Barb Strauss and Jill Sirajullah made this exhibit possible. Production of the many photos and documents was done by Larry Rosen with a special thanks to Tom Walsh. There were also scores of individuals who donated or loaned materials or gave us their personal recollections from the hotel. But the beautiful exhibit would not be possible without the generous financial support from the Breakers at Edgewater Beach, which sits literally on the original site of the hotel. This exhibit will run for a full year. We are so grateful to our members and supporters that we are still able to offer first class exhibits, with great volunteer docents and still remain FREE to the public and without any tax dollars.

We will continue the Edgewater Beach theme throughout the year, including holding the September house tour in the Edgewater Beach area; we will also be sponsoring a number of tours this year of the Bryn Mawr Historic District and related activities in conjunction with the Edgewater Beach Apartments, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, and the Edgewater Development Corporation. We are very excited about these partnerships.

We are also excited about another year of opening the museum on Thursday evenings, from 6-8 p.m., in July and August for Summer Nights in Edgewater. We have wonderful volunteer musicians who keep us all aflutter with our companion butterflies in the lovely garden lovingly maintained by Sandee Remis, Elisabeth Szegho, and our newest garden recruit Sonny Santana. Thanks to Dorothy Nygren who oversees the musical program and to Art Arfa and Rose Beal for coordinating the evenings, and Ottis Crudup who is always so supportive of his wife Rose. These are more reasons for you to take advantage of the museum exhibit, programs and all we have to offer.

Keeping the museum free and open requires a lot work on our fundraising events, in particular the Spring Benefit, held this year at the Pork Shoppe, one of Edgewater’s newest fine eateries. We had our largest attendance yet and a very fun and successful silent auction. Marty Stewart produced another great evening this year with his team that included Dorothy Nygren, Barb Strauss, Pat Duff, Pat McParland, and Tiffany Middleton who coordinated the silent auction with Jill Sirajullah. The event presented the 2016 Living Treasures. Read about the upcoming recognition event at the Edgewater Library on page 7.

Rose Beal was announced as the 2016 Volunteer of the Year at the annual event. Here she is receiving her award.

There are so many volunteers to thank, we will honor our volunteers as we close down Balmoral for our annual volunteer picnic the afternoon of July 10. If you already volunteer or would like to become one, please come by; we love to welcome new volunteers. We would be happy to get you started to find the right volunteer opportunity for you.

Keeping the museum open and FREE depends on our members, our fundraising efforts and our volunteers. Thank you all.