Everett Stetson

KATHY GEMPERLE’S INTERVIEW WITH EVERETT STETSON JUNE 6, 1990

TAPE 1, SIDE B

KG: My name is Kathy Gemperle, and I’m interviewing Everett Stetson. This is June 6, 1990. We’re going to begin right now. Everett, do you want to tell me a little bit about how you came to Edgewater?

ES: All right, fine.

KG: OK.

ES: We moved here in April of 1919 from Cincinnati, it was my mother and father and my one sister, she was 7 years old. We came here because my Dad was a construction engineer for the Pennsylvania railroad, and they loaned him to the Union Station Company. He was the #2 man on the building of the Union Station.

KG: Wow.

ES: And that’s what brought us here in 1919. Right after the war they resumed building the station. Previous to that, I was…oh, I’m sorry, we came here from Pittsburgh. I was born in Cincinnati, and when I was 7 months old we moved to Pittsburgh, and then to Chicago.

KG: Now when you came to Chicago, where did you come to?

ES: 1754 Bryn Mawr, on the corner of Bryn Mawr and Ravenswood.

KG: And was that a new house?

ES: It was built in 1915 I think, about the same time Peirce school was built.

KG: OK. And how long did you live there?

ES: Until April of 1928. What happened was that the big, the Hallsey Company was building a huge factory across the street from us and my mother decided it was time to get out. So we moved down to 5544 Wayne.

KG: OK. 5544 Wayne. And is that a house?

ES: Yes, it’s a two-story stucco house.

KG: OK. And…so it was still just you and your sister…

ES: And my father and mother.

KG: OK. Were there any more children after that?

ES: No.

KG: No? OK.

ES: My Dad died in 1937, and my mother and I continued living there. My sister got married and moved away.

KG: OK.

ES: She married in 1933.

KG: She got married at St. Ita’s Church?

ES: We’re not Catholic.

KG: Oh, you’re not Catholic.

ES: No, she eloped to Waukegan.

KG: She eloped! Oh great! OK, so you lived for most of your grade school years on Bryn Mawr.

ES: That’s right. I was in…I was 12 years old when we moved. I was in 8th grade when we moved.

KG: When you moved. So you went to Pierce School.

ES: I graduated in January of ‘29.

KG: 1929 you graduated. Wow…right after the crash, huh?

ES: Yeah.

KG: What can you tell…

ES: No, before the crash - the crash was in October, and this was in January.

KG: Oh, I see - January. OK. Now, tell me a little bit about Pierce School. It had a kindergarten…

ES: Yes, but the building, the kindergarten building was put on while I was in school.

KG: So it wasn’t there when you went to kindergarten?

ES: No. Miss Swornieke was our school teacher, our kindergarten teacher, a wonderful person.

KG: Miss Warren. Do you know where she came from, was she from the area…don’t know anything about her. OK. I don’t know anything about mine either. What else…what are some interesting things that happened at Pierce while you were there?

ES: Well, they did a complete remodeling of the schoolyard…beautifully landscaped, with stone benches, which in later years I fell over once!

KG: OK, when they did the remodeling - what grade were you in?

ES: Oh, in the middle grades somewhere.

KG: In the middle grades.

ES: At that time the school property did not extend beyond where the fieldhouse is now. It was just a field there. I remember watching them build that Capital garage, that…while I was there.

KG: Oh yes, yes. That’s a famous building in Edgewater. So that was built in the ’20s, too.

ES: In the ’20s some time, yeah. When I was in 4th grade I remember seeing them build those 3-story apartment buildings on Glenwood, the yellow buildings.

KG: OK. 4th grade. Was there a lot of building going on? Apartment buildings?

ES: Well, when I lived on Bryn Mawr there was a great deal. I could get into that later if you’d like.

KG: OK. Well, let’s finish about Pierce, then. So they did the…

ES: I skipped twice, which I wish I hadn’t, because I have weaknesses in my grammar and in my math.

KG: You skipped twice, was that common to skip a grade?

ES: The smarter ones, yeah.

KG: Did the school have any special events during the school year?

ES: Golly. No, not that I can recall.

KG: No special assemblies or…

ES: Oh, we had…I remember one where we pledged not to smoke…this fellow demonstrated the terrible evils of what tobacco would do to you.

KG: Yeah. That’s good. Anything else?

ES: In 6th grade we had a picnic out at Harms Woods. My sister went along as a chaperone.

KG: How did you get there?

ES: We had a bus; they hired a bus. I think another time they took us down to the

Field Museum by bus.

KG: These are all bus tours, OK. Let’s see…when they did the remodeling on the playground, what did you children do, where did you play while they were doing that?

ES: I guess we played around it; I don’t recall.

KG: OK. And when they put in stone benches, you said? ES: Yeah, and they even had a pond.

KG: A pond. Where was the pond?

ES: It was on the north side, at the west end. And then there was a circular field at the south end, and there was a big path down the middle. Of course, all of that eventually was destroyed.

KG: Do you know when it was destroyed?

ES: In later years…

KG: You don’t have any idea. OK. Yeah, I’ve always wondered that. I’ve heard about this before, but I…

ES: It was beautiful, it was…of course, it was a waste of money to put that kind of a

thing in there, but it was beautifully landscaped…bushes…

KG: Why do you say it was a waste of money?

ES: Because of…vandalism. Kids playing hard. It just disintegrated eventually.

KG: Tell me, was there ice skating there?

ES: No, no, that came later. That was after they built the field house. I was…

KG: OK, that was much later, then.

ES: Yeah, that was 1937, I was working at Sears then, I had graduated from college.

That was 1937 they built the field house and then…what was his name, Goebbert, the director…I think is name was Goal, wasn’t it…

KG: Was it Cam or something like that?

ES: No, no, it was a "G." And he started the famous Pierce skating teams, which…they won all kinds of awards, they were very well-known around the city and state, I guess. I forget, his name was…it started with a "G"…

KG: We could look that up, because I think we have an obituary.

ES: His name was G-O-U…yeah, he died, not too long ago.

KG: Right. And it was written up.

ES: In retirement.

KG: OK. What’d you do after school? You had a long walk home, didn’t you?

ES: Well, in the early days, my mother used to walk me to kindergarten and to school. In fact, there’s a woman living in this building who remembers my mother taking me by the hand. She lived on Clark Street at that time. I tried to get her interested, but I haven’t had any luck.

KG: OK. Well…how, did your mother pick you up, was it an all-day kindergarten or half-day?

ES: No, I’d go home for lunch.

KG: OK, so it was half-day. Or did you go back again?

ES: Kindergarten was half-day, but after I went to first grade it was…I think we went…I guess we started about 9 and went to 12 and then, from 1 to 3.

KG: Let me make sure the volume is up. OK. But what’d you do after school, you just went home?

ES: Yeah.

KG: Did you ever go to friends’ houses?

ES: No.

KG: Never.

ES: We used to play… in later years I played around Wayne with the kids from St.Ita’s.

KG: OK. Well, I want to hear a little more about over by Bryn Mawr.

ES: OK.

KG: When you lived over there… so you played out in front on the sidewalks?

ES: No, in those days we had a huge field across the street, surrounded by willows. And… we had giant ragweed in the summertime, which was at least 6 feet tall. We’d get lost in it. And we used them for spears. We also used to dig big trenches, about 6 feet deep, down in the water, and then we’d roof them over. And then the Olive Street gang would come and break them up. We’d have fights! You’d hit one, then you’d hit water, because we were close to the lake.

KG: Yeah. And then you boarded them over?

ES: We made huts out of them. We also made huts, too, wooden huts.

KG: Wooden huts…where’d you get all this lumber?

ES: Gee, I don’t know. We probably swiped it from some of the construction jobs.

KG: Uh-huh, that’s what I suspected.

ES: When I first came there, as I recall, there was…at the east end there was a cow,

and I think it belonged to Farmer Mann…I can tell you more about that later.

KG: No, keep telling me about it right now. The east end…does that mean towards Ashland?

ES: Yeah, Ashland was a narrow street in those days, and while I was living on Bryn Mawr they widened it.

KG: OK. And there was a cow where - like in a field?

ES: It was a pasture, yeah. A man’s house was on it - it was a brick house on what is now Catalpa, but as I told you one time, Catalpa did not…well, Catalpa went through to Ashland, but it didn’t go through to Clark. So he was on Clark and what would’ve been Catalpa. And, in later years, Layne’s Funeral took over the building, and it’s my understanding that they built around the old farmhouse. Apparently they took the livingroom or something - but, of course, there was no…

KG: You couldn’t tell, no.

ES: Yeah, Layne’s was a beautiful building.

KG: Yeah. I mean, I was in it for a funeral, but I…you couldn’t tell there was another building inside of it. It was a brick farmhouse.

ES: And I’ve been told that Mann or his predecessors farmed on Clark Street south of Catalpa in the 1880’s. This woman that I mentioned, was a Walsh. Her father worked on this, was a motorman on the streetcar, or a conductor, I don’t know which. And they lived in a frame house where Jewel is now. But it was owned by Mann; they rent it from Mann. I think there were two frame houses in there where Jewel is. But I’m digressing.

KG: Oh, that’s all right. This is great. The Walsh woman lived at the Jewel site, and there were two houses there.

ES: Yeah.

KG: OK. But they didn’t farm anything - Mann was the farmer?

ES: Yeah.

KG: So he just had extra houses…

ES: I just remember that one cow – I think the farming ended about the time we moved in.

KG: Did he have a barn?

ES: No. Not that I know of. All I can remember is seeing that cow!

KG: You just remember…what kind of cow was it?

ES: Black and white…

KG: So it might’ve been for milk.

ES: Could’ve been, yeah. And we had those beautiful willows, and they branched just shortly above…just a few feet, couple feet above the ground, and you could step up into them, and climb out on the branches. In fact, one time I was stepping up and the neighbor’s dog bit me in the rear end.

KG: Oohh!

ES: I couldn’t swim for a couple days! The doctor told me I couldn’t swim for a couple days.

KG: Ouch! Did you regularly go to the lake?

ES: Yes, we used to put on our kimonos…

KG: Your kimonos? Now what does this mean?

ES: Well, a bathrobe. We wore bathrobes, and we would walk all the way down to Bryn Mawr. And at that time this building was not in existence, there was just a big field there, and a beautiful beach, extending south of Bryn Mawr, and there were two or three old piling…what do you call them..

KG: Groins.

ES: …groins coming out into the lake. And the beachwall was there and the seawall,which you can still see a little bit here at Bryn Mawr.

KG: Oh!

ES: You can look out the window and you can see it. It was built in 1907 I think, and down a ways there was a plaque, a metal plaque in the wall which gave the date.

KG: 1907, I wonder why they wrote that… Do you know who built that?

ES: It was long before the hotel was built; the hotel didn’t go in `til ‘16.

KG: Did you see the hotel being built? You weren’t here yet, huh?

ES: No, but I was here when they built the addition, that was in 19…but I don’t remember seeing it. But I do remember seeing this building.

KG: Yeah. Now this building was built in 1930-something?

ES: Well, I claim it opened in 1928, but the powers that be here held a 60th anniversary party last year, claiming in opened in ‘29. But I’ve seen clippings where…Jason and Harry…moved in with his family in 1928.

KG: 1928, 1929. That’s in dispute, huh? OK.

ES: I swear it was 1928. Yeah. I will get an argument from people who know me…

KG: Was there any talk about the hotel, like, did people like having a hotel here, or did they dislike it, or do you remember any comments?

ES: In those days there wasn’t any opposition to the high rises; that was long before…

KG: Well, I’m don’t mean the high rise, I mean a business like a hotel, y’know, because there’d be more people coming.

ES: I never heard any of that…but I was pretty young then.

KG: Yeah…you would’ve had to have been listening to a grown-ups’ conversation.

ES: Speaking about our trips to the beach, there was a candy shop under the el. When they remodeled the el station they tore out that store. But…they used to have a popcorn machine out front and we always got popcorn; that was part of our trip down.

KG: How much was the popcorn?

ES: A nickel.

KG: Great!

ES: You could get a bag or you could get a box – I think the box was 10 cents.

KG: Now there were some movie theaters on Bryn Mawr, do you remember them?

ES: The Bryn Mawr Theater, yes. Which I understand was built in 1911. One interesting thing I think I mentioned to you at one other time is, you’d sit in there at night and you could hear the coal trains rumble by.

KG: Oh yeah, the coal trains.

ES: The Milwaukee Railroad had these little electric locomotives, and they would bring coal to Lill, into the Edgewater Coal Company, which was just north of Bryn Mawr.

KG: Let me get that down – Lill Coal was at…Berwyn, and the other was the Edgewater Coal Company…that was Cochran’s business I think.

ES: Who?

KG: Cochran. That was his company I think.

ES: It was owned by a fellow named Quindlen who lived across the street from us on Wayne.

KG: Quindlen…OK.

ES: Perry Quindlen. At that time it was owned by him, I don’t know…

KG: Yeah, but I think Cochran started it.

ES: Cochran was long dead by then. And they kept…

KG: Where was the Edgewater Coal Company? Was that Hollywood, or…

ES: No, it was about where Toyota is now.

KG: OK, so it was right up, that half block from north of Bryn Mawr.

ES: Just north of that alley, that first alley. Those stores were there, Almer’s, but now we’re kind of digressing, I’m gonna come down the street…

KG: No, we’re gonna keep digressing; it doesn’t matter.

ES: At that time Auburn had the drugstore on the northeast corner; he later moved across when Stoya’s took over later. But anyway, the coal company had horses, riding horses, and the Quindlen kids used to ride around the neighborhood on horses. It was…

KG: Now where were those horses kept?

ES: They had a stable in there. I was never back there, but I know that that’s…the kids used to…

KG: Oh, they had a stable right at the coal company?

ES: Yeah. They kept the horses at the coal company.

KG: OK, so then the kids - why would the kids have the horses over by your place?

ES: Well, the kids lived across the street from us, and they would go down to ride and they come up in the neighborhood sometimes.

KG: Oh, they would just ride down the street.

ES: Yeah. In those days, we didn’t have too many…

KG: There weren’t too many cars.

ES: In fact, we used to play ball in the street all the time.

KG: Yeah. Playing ball in the street - baseball?

ES: And the Reverend Louis - well, the retired Reverend Louis Kane - lived about the middle of the block on the east side, and they objected very strenuously. They used to call the police on us. And they would come in their little yellow flibbers…at one time that had Cadillacs, I think.

KG: I cannot find…a picture of those yellow flibber cars.

ES: You can’t?

KG: I even went to the police museum. Nobody…it’s like they don’t exist. So I think you guys are pulling my leg when you tell me about them!

ES: No, they did! They used to chase us, and then we’d come back afterwards. But anyway, I used to sass the Kain’s. She later became a teacher at Senn and she lived in here for a while, after she retired. Helen Kain.

KG: K-A-N-E? ES: No, K-A-I-N.

KG: Now she was the teacher at Senn?

ES: She was an English teacher at Senn. She came there when I was in the upper grades, and she came. And then after she retired she moved in here. And then she died a while back. It’s an interesting thing – her father was a pastor of the Edgewater Presbyterian Church before World War I, but he couldn’t make enough money to support his family, so he quit and became an insurance salesman selling to his former parishioners, which very much irritated a friend of mine that I knew at the beach, an old man, years later, he didn’t have any use for Kain! Incidentally, even though I had sassed him in my younger days, when I passed the bar exam I needed a character reference, so I got Reverend Kain to be one of my character references for the Bar Association!

KG: You’re kidding! Even though you had been a little upstart when you were younger, huh?

ES: When I was a kid, yeah, but they seemed to forget that.

KG: Yeah. OK, anything else that was interesting on Bryn Mawr you used to pass on the way to the beach?

ES: Oh sure, in those days, the Old Stone Church was where the Bryn Mawr Hotel now is, and I attended Sunday school in the basement.

KG: Yeah, that was a beautiful church.

ES: Helen Kain showed me a picture of it, just shortly before she died.

KG: Yeah, I’ve seen a picture in a magazine. It was a beautiful building. Why did they tear it down, do you know?

ES: Well, they were building the community house. Incidentally, the present church was not meant to be a church; that was a community house. And they had property at the corner of Sheridan and Bryn Mawr where they were going to build their big church, and at that time they had, as I recall, it was a white frame building, just to the north of the lot, which was their community house at that time. But then the Depression came along and they almost lost the community house. They almost went under. So the church was never built. But this serves the purpose, it’s got a nice big auditorium.

KG: Yes, it is a very serviceable building, it’s survived years of all kinds of different use.

ES: I used to belong to the Cross Class.

KG: What’s that?

ES: That was a very famous organization…I was…you had to be 16 join; I was 16, and I joined. Cross was a very wealthy oil man, and he was very religious, and the class used to meet in the gym. He had well over…1-2,000 members. He had Jews, and he had Catholics, because he had all kinds of events, he had dances, and…gym leagues, basketball leagues, things like that. They used to run very elaborate conventions to elect their officers. And they were very interesting! They had all kinds of… run like the political conventions, to elect officers.

KG: Huh! Now, but they weren’t all necessarily members of the Edgewater Presbyterian Church?

ES: No. I wasn’t a member. They had Catholics and Jews…and they joined not for religious purposes, but for all the…

KG: For social.

ES: …for all the social, extracurricular activities that he sponsored.

KG: Did you know any of the people who were, say, officers, or were you ever involved in the politicking of that?

ES: No. I remember Jerry Tripp who was a Jew, but he was very, very active - in fact, he became rather important in Mr. Cross’s business. I remember his sister was in my class at Pierce. But…no, I didn’t get involved in that. I’ve never been too much of a joiner, ‘til I joined your organization.

KG: ‘Ti! now! This late in life you decided to join something, isn’t that fun? Well, see, there’s always time to do something new, I say. Let’s see…do you want to tell me any more about the beach?

ES: No.

KG: OK. Were there ever any vendors there - hot dog people or…

ES: Not in the early days.

KG: Nothing. OK.

ES: In later years when they built the building the beach was fenced off and it became the private beach of this building.

KG: Yes, yes, I heard that.

ES: Then we had a very nice beach…well, first of all, in 1929 the water was so high you could dive off the end of Bryn Mawr here. But by 1933 the lake level had gone down as it always does. And we had a beautiful beach that extended all the way to Hollywood. It was kind of difficult getting over the seawall. And some…I don’t know who did it, but somebody, a civic-minded person, built wooden steps up over the seawall and then down to the beach so you could…

KG: Oh, I’ve seen a picture of that!

ES: Yeah. That was very handy, because that seawall was high! I mean, it wasn’t so high on this side – it was only about this high on this side, but on the other side it was way down…

KG: On the other side it was quite a drop, yeah. And the water moved that much?

ES: Yeah, in a short period! I remember in 1929 it was very high…

KG: Wait, there was a big storm in 1929. Big, big storm in September, and another one in October; it destroyed Lake Shore Drive.

ES: …then there was the beach at Hollywood, we sometimes went there, there were nice trees…

KG: Were there trees growing in the sand?

ES: Well, they were back a ways…I mean, there’s quite a space between Sheridan Road and the beach. Then there was also a beach at Ardmore. And there’s something that puzzles me about the Ardmore Beach. It looked like there was an old foundation, where they’d started to build something, and then didn’t go ahead with it. I never did find out what it was.

KG: And that was right at Ardmore and…

ES: Yeah, we had the three beaches - we had Ardmore, Hollywood and Bryn Mawr.

KG: This foundation was at the corner of Ardmore and Sheridan?

ES: No, it was back toward the other end of what is now Ardmore Beach.

KG: Towards the water more?

ES: No, toward the…well, it was toward the water and toward the north end of the beach.

KG: The north end of the beach.

ES: Bu I don’t know what it was.

KG: Would it have been big enough to be a house, or was it like a coach house size or garage?

ES: It would have been a building, a large building - there was a lot of concrete. But it could’ve been a garage or something. I don’t know. I just thought I’d throw that in.

KG: Yeah, well it’s kind of mysterious. You wonder what was there.

ES: At Ardmore they had those beautiful gardens which you couldn’t see in. It had brick walls around it. In later years when it was abandoned we went in and looked at it.

KG: Oh really? Now who handles gardens, do you know?

ES: I don’t know; somebody had that garden, it was…

KG: It was somebody’s yard. But the house wasn’t there.

ES: Well…there must’ve been a house at the junction, but the garden was on the corner, and it…had all kinds of brickwork.

KG: I should’ve brought…I have a picture of an unknown place on Sheridan Road I should’ve brought for you to look at. It’s an arch, and it was left when they were tearing down one of the houses.

ES: I don’t think I could identify it - there were so many mansions on Sheridan Road in those days!

KG: Yeah, it’s hard to remember where all of them were, once they’re gone.

ES: Oscar Mayer stayed here quite a while.

KG: Really? Now he was right here at Hollywood?

ES: I don’t know whether it was this block or the next block.

KG: OK. Somebody told me they visited that house. Their friend was a niece of Oscar Mayer’s…

ES: There were some of those that lasted quite a long time before they tore them down.

KG: OK, well, we’ve been just zipping along here - let’s see where we are on our tape.

ES: Maybe we ought to go back and start over - because there’s some things I’d like to tell you…

KG: OK, well, go ahead.

ES: First of all, when we moved in there, the streetcar ran straight down Ravenswood to Rosehill Drive, it did not turn at Bryn Mawr like the buses do. They used the old 1909 Pullmans, but something that I noticed – and I don’t think many people knew – the 1909 Pullmans on Ravenswood were smaller than the 1909 Pullmans on Clark Street. And when we first moved, the very beginning, they were dark green. I think. And later they became that red and cream that they had for so many years. But anyway, the Ravenswood-Rosehill line went down to Balmoral, turned at Balmoral, and then it went on Robie, which is now Damen, to Lincoln Avenue.

KG: Oh, that’s where it went! OK, let me jot that down. OK, Balmoral…

ES: To Damen. Or Robie. It was Robie then. And then it went on Damen to Lincoln Avenue. South to Lincoln and it turned southeast on Lincoln to Center Street, which is now Armitage.

KG: Were they still changing the names of these streets when you were here?

ES: Those two streets they were.

KG: Because supposedly they straightened out all the duplicate names in 1909, but they were still changing some of them.

ES: Wolcott was Lincoln Street.

KG: Oh, and then Lincoln Avenue and Lincoln Street was a conflict.

ES: Yeah, so they made it Wolcott. Anyway, then it went down Wells, and somehow it got over on LaSalle Street, and it went under the river at LaSalle - there’s a tunnel that’s still there, but it’s closed over. It went under the river at LaSalle - I know this isn’t Edgewater, but…

END OF SIDE B

TAPE 1, SIDE A

ES: …turned into Randolph and went over to Wells and came back at Wells Street…

KG: …and then it circled around?

ES: Yeah, it just circled…it just made a little loop into the loop and came back out.

KG: So was it a double-track, then?

ES: Oh yes. And then they had a switch-over. Of course, you know, those Pullmans worked from either end. And they had a switch-over at Rosehill, near Rosehill, just this side of Rosehill Drive…

KG: Well, I have a picture of one; I’ll have to show it to you.

ES: I can tell you whether it’s the little one or the big one.

KG: Yeah, I liked this…because I also have a picture of the Clark Street one, so now I will have to look at them and see if you can tell. But they’re at a funny angle, so they may not show.

ES: You know, early on, Clark Street came out with some beautiful steel cars that you entered at the front and got off at the middle and they had leather seats, and they were real fast. And they ran for many years, in addition to the old Pullmans. They ran them both. Incidentally, getting back to Bryn Mawr…I have a question I raised with you once before…there was a train station at the Northwestern at Granville, and for some reason it was called Kenmore. I’ve never been able to figure out why they called the station Kenmore.

KG: Boy, I don’t know. Because I always thought it was called North Edgewater.

ES: I never heard that. It had the name Kenmore ‘tit they tore it down.

KG: OK. The station…

ES: …at Granville.

KG: …at Granville on the Chicago Northwestern line.

ES: Yeah. And the sta…

KG: You know, we’re gonna have to call the Chicago Northwestern Historical Society. ES: Have they got one?

KG: Yeah.

ES: …and then they had that beautiful, beautiful station at Rosehill; I don’t know why they ever tore it down, because it was a landmark. Just beautiful!

KG: Yeah, it was just like the entrance gate, wasn’t it? It had limestone? ES: Yeah.

KG: Yeah, I don’t know why they tore it down, either.

ES: Yeah. And on the other side they had the elevator, which is still there, I think we talked about that.

KG: Yes, right. And part of the wall of the station is still there. The station’s gone.

ES: Yeah. Then they had the Summerdale station, which was between Foster and, well, I guess, Farragut. I don’t know why they called it Summerdale.

KG: That was the Summerdale subdivision long before they built the trains up. And the Summerdale subdivision went up to Ashland…

ES: Yeah. Can I digress for a minute out of the area? A friend of mine has an envelope postmarked Bowmanville, Illinois.

KG: (Gasp!) You’re kidding! There was a po…how early is this?

ES: I think there’s one…I think there’s also something in Drake’s…they have a showcase.

KG: Oh really?

ES: Yeah, you should go there and look at their showcase. Of course that’s a little

outside of our territory!

KG: Where is that?

ES: Drake’s is at Berwyn and Western.

KG: Oh, all right.

ES: But anyway, that’s outside…one comment I think I made to you before that I’d

like to make again, about the Ravenswood: During Decoration Day, as we called it, Memorial Day, there were great…

KG: Oh yeah, the Memorial Day thing…

ES: …there were a great many, very, very many people walking north on Ravenswood to go to decorate the graves, and the kids used to set up stands and the merchants would stock them with Crackerjacks and chewing gum, popcorn…well, not popcorn – Crackerjack – and flags. And they would do a rousing business to the people walking to the cemetery. Of course, the cars weren’t allowed in there. I guess they aren’t allowed in there even today, on Memorial Day.

KG: In the cemetery?

ES: Yeah.

KG: Well now, why would they be walking that whole length of Ravenswood, like from Foster you’re talking about? Or from the streetcar…

ES: Well, a lot of them probably lived in the neighborhood.

KG: OK, so you think they were neighborhood people.

ES: I agree; people would take the streetcar, too.

KG: So basically, what were the kids selling? They sold flags…

ES: Popcorn - Crackerjack, chewing gum, and flags. Mainly flags…well, they did a good business in both.

KG: But not flowers or anything?

ES: No.

KG: No. OK. And was there a parade?

ES: There were two florist shops - there was Schlief - he was in the middle, he was between Olive and Rosehill. There’s a factory there now.

KG: OK. Do you know how to spell that?

ES: S-C-H-…I think S-C-H-L-I-E-F. It was a German name. Anyway, I used to go down there with my mother at Christmastime and there was a tree that Santa Claus had left there for me. My mother had picked it out beforehand!

KG: Oh, and they sold Christmas trees? ES: Oh yeah.

KG: Did they have a lot or a yard, or…?

ES: No…well, they had a big…where they grew perennials…

KG: Oh, they did have greenhouses?

ES: Yeah, they had greenhouses, and then they had…outdoor, too. But…

KG: How big was their property? Did it take up half a block, a whole block?

ES: Well…quarter of a block, maybe. I think it reached to the alley. The open field ran from the Olive alley over. And then there was Questhoff s. I think they may still be there. Their property - they have a greenhouse - and their property used to go over onto Rosehill Drive beyond…behind the mausoleum selling…the store…the company that sold mausoleums and tombstones was on the corner.

KG: Oh, so they were right behind that on Rosehill Drive?

ES: Their property…their bigger store was on Rosehill, but they had a shop on…Ravenswood.

KG: So they had greenhouses, too?

ES: Yeah. Their son was visiting over in Michigan at a summer home and he fell out of an apple tree and…eventually died.

KG: Oh. How sad. That was back in the days when you kind of expected your son to take the business, too, wasn’t it?

ES: Yeah.

KG: Now tell me - was there a Memorial Day parade?

ES: Uhh…in later years, there was, when I lived over on Wayne…

KG: But not when you lived on…

ES: Well, I don’t recall. I’m sure there was. Because in those days it was a big deal   I mean, you had your World War I veterans, they were young men, and they’d just come home from the war, so…I’m sure there was a lot going on.

KG: Do you know anything about that memorial that’s at the corner of Edgewater, Clark and Ashland?

ES: I remember when they built it.

KG: You do remember when they built it.

ES: That was after that Ashland deal. That was quite a deal where they brought Ashland into Clark Street and widened it…

KG: Do you know why they did that?

ES: Well, it’s a continuation, and then you get to Devon and Ashland carries on.

KG: Yeah, well, they both carry on, but I understand…how much land was there between the two streets?

ES: Clark Street is an Indian trail, so it curved over and bisected Ashland, so Ashland ran into it. But what they did was put that elaborate intersection in, they widened it, and then they put a space where the memorial is, and…

KG: So when…what years are we talking about? The ’30s, the ’20s? ’40s?

ES: Probably the late ’20s, early ’30s. Late ’20s, I think.

KG: No, what I meant was, why did they widen it all the way north up to Devon? That huge, wide street?

ES: Well, it was a main street. They widened Ashland at the same time. Ashland was a narrow street. And…it must’ve been the early ’20s, because I remember…I still lived up there when Ashland was wide.

KG: OK. And…how did they widen it? I mean, do you remember seeing it?

ES: I don’t recall.

KG: Oh, too bad! I wanted to hear what that was like! I know they moved buildings back, it must’ve been…

ES: Oh yeah, they cut them off…

KG: There’s somebody still fixing one up down by Lakeview High School, there’s a building…

ES: They had little porches and now…

KG: …took off the front of the building.

ES: Speaking of construction methods, I…now I’m digressing again…when they built those six…there’s two six-flats…a guy by the name of Schoen built them…S-C-H-O-E-N, German again. Anyway, in those days we didn’t have bulldozers. So they had teams of horses, and they had a scoop that they would drag behind the horses, and they got the foundations. And then they had big wagons that they put the earth in, a team…

KG: How did they get the earth in the wagons?

ES: Umm…

KG: Now, you have to picture the whole thing! Now let’s see…

ES: I don’t know whether they had…

KG: Big shovels?

ES: …a drop bottom or…no, they didn’t do it…

KG: They didn’t do it by hand…

ES: I think what they did is they piled the dirt up at one end. And how they got it from their end to the wagons I don’t recall.

KG: You don’t recall! Oh shoot! Well, it’s hard to picture all those things; I just thought maybe you might’ve been watching it and so you had the…I haven’t seen any pictures.

ES: In those days there was a stable on Broadway where the Jewel is now, where they kept these big workhorses.

KG: On Broadway or Clark Street?

ES: On Broadway.

KG: On Broadway, where the Jewel is…that’s where Lill Coal was, though.

ES: Well, Lill was on the corner, and it was…

KG: Behind…?

ES: It was north of there.

KG: Oh, OK.

ES: Lill didn’t have the whole block…

KG: Yeah, no…I have a picture of Lill from 1968

ES: And there was also a very large ice house there…ice companies…in that same block. And anyway, with these horses, when I lived on Wayne, in those days they didn’t have salt on the street so we had salt cutters, and they used to have sleigh rides come down our street, using these big workhorses.

KG: Now, did somebody just call and say the sleigh…

ES: Well, they made arrangements.

KG: Oh, you arranged to have a sleigh ride.

ES: I wasn’t…I never went on one, but…a group would get together and hire this sleigh from the stable, and they would ride around the neighborhood.

KG: And they would ride anywhere? They weren’t restricted to the main streets at all.

ES: No, they used to come down Wayne. Because in those days it was snow-packed.

KG: Yeah, right. Now, was this a big sleigh, I mean, could ten people fit on it?

ES: Oh yeah, it was a big…great big sleigh ride. Typical sleigh ride. With the hay and all… That was in the ’30s.

KG: In the ’30s even still!

ES: Yeah, because I lived on Wayne.

KG: Did you have much snowing then? Do you remember a lot of snowstorms or any snowstorms?

ES: Well, that one I showed you about 1924, that was a big one. Yeah, we had…oh yeah, I remember one…I know, 1939, a fellow I know, he was a friend of the…he was the father of the guy I went to college with, and grammar school. Anyway, he always said that he would be late to his funeral. And sure enough, the day that he was to be buried, he couldn’t get into Graceland, and he was buried a day later! And he always said that…he was always late.

KG: Ha ha ha! He was always late so he was late for his funeral! Oh, is that funny…

ES: Oh, that was a big one. I remember, in those days, we still had the milk wagons with the horses, and my mother went out and put a blanket on the horse and, later, the milkman had it cleaned and returned it to her. Very grateful to her for giving him this horse…

KG: Oh, because she gave the horse a blanket…

ES: Yeah, she gave him the blanket to put on his horse - and he brought it back, cleaned!

KG: How often did you get milk delivered?

ES: Oh, I think it was every day.

KG: Really?

ES: We used to have those milk bottles with the cream part at the top, and when it got

cold the milk would freeze and come up…

KG: Oh, push it right out the top, yeah.

ES: The cap would come right off the top.

KG: Right, yeah, because it was just that little…paper cap.

ES: As I recall, they didn’t lead with the horses, and then during the war they brought them back. I think we had them back during World War II. That was a memory ­I wouldn’t vouch for it.

KG: Now where would this milk have come from? Was it the Bowman Dairy?

ES: Wanzer had a dairy…

KG: Wanzer, OK.

ES: Which is now…Sears has it now, it’s at Ainslie and the railroad track, it’s the back end of the Sears parking lot. Sears used it for delivering their appliances, and also…

KG: Oh yeah, I know where that is.

ES: Yeah. That was Wanzer.

KG: Were there any small dairies around? Like along Ravenswood, there weren’t any?

ES: No, there were quite a few - there was Wanzer and Borden…

KG: And where was Borden?

ES: I don’t know where they had it. I think they had down on the 30-some hundred block of Broadway. That was Borden. I don’t know where Bowman… Bowman had a plant up on…

KG: Well, Bowman must’ve been in Bowmanville, right?

ES: I don’t know.

KG: I think they were.

ES: They had…

KG: …I have a picture from a small dairy on Highland, 1441 Highland, a little tiny place.

ES: The name sounds familiar.

KG: But I can’t tell you the name of the dairy, I don’t have it memorized.

ES: Bowman had a big dairy up on Ridge Avenue in Evanston.

KG: So they had a big dairy…and then all those carts came that distance to deliver? How did you figure out which dairy you were having delivery from? You called? You used the telephone?

ES: You subscribed to one. You call them carts, they were wagons.

KG: And so you telephoned them. Now what would you have done before the telephone - when did telephones come here? Were they here when you moved here?

ES: We had one, yeah. It was…we had the …upright…

KG: Separate pieces? Yeah, upright.

ES: …and a lot of people had nickel phones, they had to put money in their phone to use it, but we splurged, we had…

KG: You splurged, you got the regular phone service.

ES: But you’d pick up the receiver and the operator would ask you for your number, and you’d give it, and then she’d want to know what your number was. Somehow they could check to see that you weren’t cheating. I don’t know how they did it.

KG: I don’t know either. They had a phone office on Clark Street, somewhere south of Foster…

ES: It’s on…

KG: Telephone exchange…

ES: Yeah, it’s still there, I mean, it’s a nursing home now…

KG: That was the Edgewater Exchange or something I think…

ES: I guess it was. It was a…our phone was Sunnyside. But anyway, it was a red brick, it’s on…what is it…

KG: Winnemac, maybe, or…

ES: No, not Winnemac, it’s either Winona…well, you know where the one is on Clark Street?

KG: Yeah, the big one.

ES: It’s on that same street, only it was east of Clark, on the north side of the street, it later was a nursing home.

KG: OK. So you don’t have any idea when the telephones came.

ES: They were here in 1919.

KG: So things were pretty modern by the time you got here. Do you want to tell me a little bit about when you lived on Wayne? You lived there through high school?

ES: I lived there ‘til 1967.

KG: Wow.

ES: Yeah. The first…when I first moved there, I could go to Peirce, which was…

KG: Right, so you graduated…

ES: …for half a year, then I went to Senn.

KG: Then you went to Senn…and they had already built the wings and everything?

ES: No, no, that was built while I was in school.

KG: Oh they did! Oh!

ES: They started it while I was in school and they finished…in fact, my last year I had a class in the new wing.

KG: So were you one of those people who had to run outside to portable classrooms?

ES: Yeah, I…when I was a freshman I had a portable…we had a couple of them. Anyway, when I started…

KG: How were those heated?

ES: There was a stove.

KG: There was a stove, like a pot-belly stove or something?

ES: I think so, although I don’t have a picture in my mind of it. I always think of being hot in the summertime! When I went to Senn there were about 5,000 kids there, and we had two shifts. When I was a freshman, and sophomore, I started at around 11:00 and went to 5:00.

KG: Isn’t that amazing?

ES: 11-11:30 to 5. And I got in the bad habit of sleeping late. But I got out of that.

KG: Wow!

ES: Incidentally, something I…speaking about Senn - when I was a real little kid, my sister took me to see my first football game, and it was in that stadium behind Senn, and we called it Farmer’s Field, I guess.

KG: Farmer’s Field. Yes.

ES: And as I recollect, it was Senn versus Loyola, and it ended nothing to nothing. It was the first game I ever saw. My first college game was 1926, when they dedicated Dyke Stadium I was there.

KG: Oh wow. So you went to Northwestern?

ES: Yeah. Class of ‘37.

KG: Well, let’s see…Farmer’s Field…anything else about Senn?

ES: Speaking of Senn, I think it was ‘29 - you know because you’ve got that picture   when they won the band title in Denver?

KG: Yeah.

ES: And we got out of school…the whole school paraded down Ridge during…I think it was in the morning.

KG: When the band won the…

ES: That was a big deal! They made a lot of it.

KG: Was that the national title they won?

ES: Yeah, they won the national title.

KG: And then they went to Denver?

ES: That’s where the national was held.

KG: Oh, that’s where they won it, so when they came back…

ES: Yeah, when they came back, we all had a parade.

KG: Yeah. Isn’t that great?

ES: What was his name, Captain Osterman, I think it was.

KG: Now, was that a military - I know there was an ROTC there, was that a military band, was that part of ROTC or was it just regular kids…

ES: Well, they weren’t in uniform…

KG: OK. They would’ve been in uniform if they were…

ES: There was an orchestra. They had an orchestra. And they had a glee club, a very famous glee club…I forget the name of the director.

KG: What was it like going to Senn? I mean, you got there at 11 and you stayed till 5…how many classes did you have in that time, do you have any remembrance? Seven classes? Were they like 40 minutes long?

ES: I don’t know - I’m confused between college and…

KG: Yeah, that’s hard to remember. High school. Were there any special activities you joined at Senn?

ES: No.

KG: No, you wouldn’t join a thing, huh?

ES: No, I wasn’t a joiner.

KG: Isn’t that funny. And so you didn’t join anything at Northwestern either. And what was your major at college?

ES: Economics, and a minor in math. I had quite a few of the commerce courses, but I didn’t have any science - I got a Bachelor of Arts. With honors. There I go bragging again.

KG: Why not?

ES: I don’t know when they…they just started that program, we had to take our oral exams in our field, and…but I don’t know if they have it today.

KG: Yeah, they probably do. Northwestern has changed a lot. And…let’s see if we wanna check off anything else on our list here…

ES: Well, I was gonna come Bryn Mawr to talk…

KG: Oh sure, tell me some more about Bryn Mawr. It doesn’t matter what order this is in, I’ll just write a number down.

ES: The St. Gregory’s school was held in what had been the church, it was a red brick building on the corner of Bryn Mawr and Paulina. It later burned to the ground.

KG: Yeah, when did that burn? In fact, they just mentioned it on TV last night.

ES: It was in later years, I was living on Wayne…quite a bit later. And, as I recall, there was an old wooden building just to the east of it, I don’t know whether that was a convent or what it was. Of course, the church, as you know, was built in 1924 – I think. The same year Ita’s was born. There was a grocery store across the street from the school, a fellow named Martinson owned it. I remember, we were going to Boston, and he asked us to drop in and see his son at the Charleston Navy Yard, and we were touring it with my aunt, who was very wealthy in society, and I think she thought we were going to meet an ordinary sailor, but it turned out, when we got to his ship, he was in command of the ship! And he had gone to Annapolis with somebody she knew, so…

KG: So your aunt didn’t mind at all.

ES: …so when we came back and told Mr. Martinson about his son, he was very proud. Later, his son became an admiral in the war, and he was in charge of convoys. And I don’t know what happened to him; I guess eventually he had a nervous breakdown from commanding those convoys across the ocean when the German ships were sinking everything. But that’s kind of an interesting side.

KG: Yeah, really. And you thought he was just a sailor on some ship, right?

ES: Yeah, and my aunt thought he was going to be, but it turned out he was the commander, he was in command of the ship. Anyway, at the corner of Ashland and Bryn Mawr was what we called The Blind Pig. It was a speakeasy.

KG: That was the name of it? The Blind Pig?

ES: No, no, that’s what everybody called these speakeasies. They weren’t the gin type, they were the beer type. Neighborhood types, we called them blind pigs, and there were a lot of them around!

KG: Blind pig. Do you have any idea where that came from?

ES: No, I don’t know.

KG: Ashland at Bryn Mawr. Well there’s a bar there now, right?

ES: It’s been a bar ever since!

KG: Always a bar.

ES: Yeah. There was…the owner used to stand out on the corner, in a brown – my mother called him a beautiful study in brown, because he always had a brown suit. And she used to laugh at him – about him…

KG: And she’d call him the beautiful study in brown?

ES: Yeah. There’s something I wish you could find out - it’s my recollection that there was a brickyard on the northeast corner of Bryn Mawr and Ashland…

KG: Northeast… corner..

ES: It’s where the Jiffy Lube is now.

KG: Yeah.

ES: And on the corner at Clark there was an old frame building, and it had stores on the side of Bryn Mawr and stores on the front, it was…well, it was a grocery store. And on the south…on the northeast corner…was Walsh’s drugstore where we used to get wonderful 15-cent sodas.

KG: The northeast corner of Bryn Mawr and Ashland?

ES: No, Clark.

KG: Oh, Clark. OK.

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