Louise Boyle Hammond (Transcript Only)


The north side of Chicago was my home from birth, June 10, 1897, until September, 1979, during which time I last lived at 5406 N. Lakewood from 1917 until September, 1979. Previously, I lived at 5443 N. Wayne from 1907 until 1917. This two flat building owned by my father was the sixth building from the corner of Catalpa. There were about seven or eight lots vacant on the south side of the building which was used as a tennis court.
I was born in an apartment located on Orchard and Fullerton Avenues and next lived at Winona and Evanston Avenues (now Broadway) and Carmen and Evanston Avenues until about year eight. I attended Goudy School on Winthrop and Foster Avenues through the eighth grade. When I lived on Wayne, I cut through a prairie from home to school walking diagonally and picking wild roses on the way. Mother picked the burs from my stockings that I picked up going through the thick weeds.
From about 1905 I remember going to a truck farm owned by a French family for our vegetables. This farm stretched from Glenwood Avenue west. [Editor’s note: this was the farm of Joseph Cornille.] We had a horse and buggy which we kept in a livery stable located on Clark Street near Diversey. We took the Evanston street car to the stable to get the horse and buggy and then went to the farm where we bought enough vegetables to fill the buggy and last us for a couple of weeks for an average of $.75. In the fall the smell of the rotting cabbage bothered me and annoyed the entire family but we enjoyed the farm.
During this period the elevated train went no further north than Wilson Avenue and we had to walk home from there. I didn’t mind this because my father generally carried me on his back. On this walk many very large trees were along the sidewalk and often the walks were built around the tree trunks in order to save these beautiful huge trees. We had no fear walking this route, about one mile, on Evanston Avenue even late at night returning from a play or concert in the loop. We seldom heard of foul play in those days.
The street cars were safe and comfortable. There were two men running the car, the motorman and the conductor who stood in the middle of a long side. He took the fares and watched out for the public’s safety. He pulled a cord above him once to stop the car and two times to signal the motorman to start. Thus there were few problems for those aboard and no or little damage done to the seats and inside of the car. The conductor was helpful and, most of all, available for directions and advice. I loved the "summer" cars which were open. The seats were back to back running the length of the car. Our feet were on the open side. We were able to enjoy the breeze and the sights along the way.
On the weekends, we used to drive the buggy north on Ridge Avenue. Sometimes we went as far as Fort Sheridan, where the roads were of deep sand and we had difficulty getting the buggy out of the deep ruts in order to proceed. We allowed the horse to rest many times on the way during which time we enjoyed the country surrounding us.
My paternal grandmother lived on Diversey and Evanston Avenues and later on Malden Avenue between Leland and Wilson. I visited her often and, around 1908, I loved to watch the Essanay (sp?) Movie Co. take movie pictures on her block. There was a beautiful and large colonial house there where they staged southern pictures. I loved seeing the prominent actors and actresses such as Mary Pickford. The company’s studio was located nearby on Argyle.
I was allowed to swim in Lake Michigan at the foot of Balmoral Avenue, if accompanied by an adult. The walk to the lake was short before the land fill. We walked there in our bathing suits. I often walked in the water all the way to Wilson and back, enjoying a little swim here and there. The Edgewater Hotel was very near the water and during my high school years we used to enjoy dancing on the boardwalk on the lake side of the hotel on hot summer nights. The lake breeze was so enjoyable and cool. Then too the Marine Dining Room served excellent meals and afforded us fun and comfort in entertaining our guests.
When our family moved to Lakewood Avenue the large houses located there were occupied by large families with rather high income. Most had at least one live in maid. The occupant of 5400 Lakewood was a doctor who had a chauffeur to drive his custom made car and who lived in an apartment above his garage. The owner of 5407 N. Lakewood was a corporation lawyer. My parents had a live in maid, a laundress who came once a week, and a handy man who fixed the furnace and did the yard work, etc. My playmate’s father who lived in the 5200 block of Wayne was president of Baird & Warner Realty Co. There was a judge living in the 5400 block of Wayne. Another doctor occupied the large brick house on the southwest corner of Lakewood and Catalpa, etc. The above will give an idea of the type of families who lived in the area prior to World War I.
It was against the law to park a car at the curb all night. So anyone who bought a car had to have a garage. After we sold the horse and buggy we bought a Detroit electric. It did not serve us much better than the horse did because it seemed it always needed recharging. The plant was not near us and many times we ran out of juice and stopped on our way. So in 1909 we bought a Cadillac. My father and his mother were the only ones who drove it. So it was used mostly on weekends when my father was home from work to drive it. This car, one of the first of its make, was noisy and horses were still on the streets. Many times we had problems when the horses shied and sometimes ran away in terror.
On Lakewood in the early days we had a small room containing only the "ice box" which had an outside door which the ice man used to put the ice into the box. We had a sign in the window which was turned to indicate the amount of ice needed on that day. We did not see the man until he collected his bill.
The milk and cream were delivered too. Several times squirrels managed to take out the cardboard top, tip the bottle and lap up the cream.
We had no struggle to obtain groceries. About two or three times a week the grocer would come to take our order which was delivered later the same day. He sent us a monthly bill. There also was a tea, coffee, and egg dealer who took orders and delivered.
We had a small movie show which I think was located in a small store on Broadway near Bryn Mawr. The music was a piano. The ticket cost was only ten cents. There was a vaudeville show on Wilson Avenue which the children attended on Saturday’s at little cost but mostly we entertained ourselves at home making candy, popping corn, playing games, reading, and telling stories, etc.