Marian G. Haggarty (Transcript Only)


INTERVIEWER: Betty Gilman Mayian
INTERVIEWEE: Marian Grupe Haggarty
DATE OF INTERVIEW: March 1, 1986
PLACE OF INTERVIEW: 5555 N. Sheridan #311
Marian Haggarty came to Edgewater Apartments around 1939 or ‘40. The Edgewater Hotel and Apartments had their own beach, boardwalk, pier. Very beautiful. Spoke of boardwalk and era of Big Bands. Her husband and his father lived in the hotel shortly after 1929. Formal dress was required at Marine Dining Room on Saturday nights. Many families with small children lived there in the forties. The Apart­ments had many attractions for children: sandbox, kiddie pool, swings. The archi­tect of the apartments was Glenn (or Ben) Marshall.
Marian Haggarty attended Sacred Heart Academy when it was on Pine Grove, then to Marywood Academy in Evanston, where she was a boarder for eight years. Marywood no longer exists. She attended Manhattanville College in New York for one year before marrying. Their three children went to Sacred Heart Schools, as did her mother. One daughter became a Religious of the Sacred Heart.
The Saddle and Cycle Club originally owned land where Dominick’s is. Many beautiful homes were north of there. Oscar Mayer owned property at 5727 N. Sheridan Road where Hollywood Towers is now. Changes began to occur. The beautiful homes/mansions were replaced by high-rises, especially west of Sheridan. The area began to decline, the changes came with change in economy. There were half-way houses, but somehow they de­feated their purpose. Churches became concerned about welfare for poorer people who moved into the area. Care for Real (food pantry and clothing center) began to help the needy. This took a big load from the pastors. No one feared walking in the area earlier; today the neighborhood is dangerous especially at night. West of Broadway is still a safer neighborhood, the bad section is between Sheridan and Broadway. The early apartment buildings on Winthrop and Kenmore, which were very nice, later became over-populated, helping the decline. Also some of the landlords were taking three-fourths of the tenant’s welfare check. Absentee landlords were a menace. She has helped with Care for Real. After the recent big fire destroyed practically every­thing, people have responded very generously. St. Ita’s special collection for Care for Real doubled their ordinary collection. All of the churches in the area have responded and have been supportive of Care for Real. She and others have worked to find new quarters for Care for Real. They found temporary space in Ep­worth Church building. Women from Temple Emanuel and local churches have been very cooperative. She was twice president of Sacred Heart Auxiliary and remains an active promoter.
Among notables who lived in Edgewater Beach Apartments were Mayor Kennelly, Benjamin Willis, a past Superintendent of Schools, as well as George Hallas, Fred Fines (head of the Chicago Arts Council); in fact, he still lives here.
Edgewater Apartments has always been regarded a safe place in which to live. With that in mind, the Degnans moved in after the murder in their family of their six-year old daughter. She was brutally murdered by a man named Heirens. That was in the ’40s.
A popular entertainment spot was the 5100 Club on Broadway, so named because of their 5100 street number. A comedian who performed there was Danny Thomas. He really was a funny man; everyone enjoyed him. Her granddaughter was in the Stritch Dinner fes­tivities last fall where Danny Thomas was the recipient of the Loyola Award. When Marian went through the receiving line and met him, she said, "I remember you from the 5100 Club." He said, "I remember you, too, you were just in high school." That was pretty cute of him. But the 5100 Club was where Danny got his start, or at least it helped him early on in his career.
Where Carson’s Ribs is now located, there was a fruit market. It was an open-air gathering place. Before Carson’s took over, it was Town and Country Restaurant.
Edgewater Beach Hotel and Edgewater Apartments had its own motor coach service to accommodate tenants. It went back and forth a number of times a day giving the people opportunities to get to the Loop. That service became too expensive for the owners. Today the CTA #147 Express bus is a pretty good substitute. Folks here seldom go all the way to the Loop; they do not go beyond Water Tower Plaza on Michi­gan Avenue. Her eldest daughter is a member of the Chicago Architectural Founda­tion and gives architectural tours in the Loop and on Prairie Avenue—The Glessner House/ Clarke House Tours.
Many visiting sports teams used to stay at Edgewater Beach Hotel because it was pleasant and also convenient for transportation. Not too many of the old timers are left in the Edgewater Beach Apartments. The Haggartys have lived in the same apart­ment since their second year of marriage. It was a good place to raise small child­ren, butnow it would not be. Her parents lived in the Apartments about twenty years prior to their death. In her earlier years she shopped mostly downtown or in the many shops in the Edgewater Beach Hotel. It had a variety of shops: lingerie, drug store, coffee shop, flower shop, and many others. It always had a Commissary. There was also a radio station in the hotel. Paul Fogarty emceed programs, broadcasting daily. Also there was an Eleven-Eleven Club with a Dixieland Band on Bryn Mawr. Today store rental is horrendous, having risen alarmingly, and yet the properties are not that good.
Many of the churches in the area are celebrating anniversaries which range from
75 to 100 years of existence. They have kept pace with the growth of the community.