In late February 1969, a group of neighbors met at the home of Hal and Marge Britton, 5414 N. Magnolia, to discuss the possibility of organizing the neighborhood. The agenda called for an examination of several proposals: the formation of block clubs through the Uptown Chicago Commission, increasing local membership and representation on the Edgewater Community Council, formation of an independent organization of the area, or the delegation of representatives to both Uptown and Edgewater organizations to bring information back to the area.
A proposal for a first action was to investigate the effect of renewal in Uptown with special emphasis on the location of the proposed Junior College.
As the meeting got underway, Charles Bromann [for whom Bromman park was subsequently named] identified himself as the president of the Lakewood-Balmoral Zonal Center founded in the 1940’s to preserve the community strict zoning regulations. He related that the Zonal Center’s first meeting had been held at 5414 Magnolia when the home had belonged to Dr. & Mrs. John T. O’Donahue.
Among those attending that first meeting were Frank Gusinde, Joe Donnelly, Marion Volini, Martha Kraeger, Ron Rhyce, and Pat Lawson. They sent a letter inviting representatives of each block to attend another meeting March 13th at Gusinde’s. On April 12, 1969, papers were filed with the State of Illinois to form a not-for-profit corporation, the Lakewood-Balmoral Residents Council.
A call to action was sounded shortly after that when a hearing was set before the zoning board of appeals to request a variation so North Shore Baptist Church could have a parking lot on the northwest corner of Lakewood and Berwyn. The church withdrew its request at the zoning board hearing when 60 neighbors arrived, prepared to testify against granting the variation.
Through the months from February to May, a steering committee headed by Frank Gusinde was busy writing a constitution, establishing boundaries and creating interest in the new organization.
On May 27, the first general meeting was held at North Shore Baptist Church. Frank was elected president by the 170 plus people who attended.
-–The above is a truncated version of an article written by Marge Britton that appeared in the May 1979 issue of the LBRC newsletter (Vol. VII, No. 5)