WANT: Beginnings

The West Andersonville Residents Together block club/neighborhood association was formed as a result of an initiative of the Edgewater Community Council’s Edgewater Safety Program.  A female organizer whose last name was Shipiro (but whose first name is lost to history) worked with a small group of residents in the area to form a neighborhood organization. The year was either 1977 or 1978.  At the time of the initiative, three or four other neighborhood organizations had already been formed.  They were the Lakewood-Balmoral Residents Council, the East Andersonville Residents Council, the Edgewater Glen Association, and the EPIC block club.

Since the area east of Clark and west of Lakewood-Balmoral had already taken the name, East Andersonville, it was logical for the area west of Clark to take the name West Andersonville, although it is not known who first suggested the name.  The name Andersonville to represent the commercial area along Clark Street was created in the early 1960’s and was well established.

And unsigned document chronicalling the beginnings of the organization was found among the organization archives and is reproduced below.  Having such a document written shortly after the events is a rare, but fortuitous event. The document was dated 1978.

A flyer was distributed throughout the neighborhood in early to mid April announcing an April 20th Thursday 7:30 pm meeting to be held at St. Gregory cafeteria.  There were 113 people in attendance.  Harold Haywood of Balmoral was the designated chairman at this first and subsequent meetings.

The May 11th meeting was announced via a flyer.  125 people attended.  There had been 500 surveys distributed in the neighborhood in early April.  200 people responded.  Three names were considered for the area.

1. West Andersonville Neighbors Together 

2. West Andersonville Community Organization

3. West Andersonville Residents

A vote was taken at the May meeting as to which name was most popular.  WANT won 40-0-16 meaning 51 people were undecided.

It is unclear when the June meeting was held but it must have been very early since the 1st garage sale was set for June 24. Discussed at this meeting was signs of some kind defining the area and the 1st of many, many complaints/discussions/and possible solutions regarding the ever present DOG-POOP!

There were no formal meeting in July or August but many small meetings were taking place in regards to forming a steering committee leading to by-laws an official organization.

At the September meeting Gerry Urbanus made the motion to name this organization W.A.N.T. motion 2nd and carried.  A steering committee was officially formed.  Harold Hayward named chairman.

The 1st official Steering Committee meeting was October 9.  It was decided to mail a notice to everyone who had attended an earlier meeting, using the ECC Permit stamp (#8426) notifying them of the November 21st meeting at Ebenezer Church.

A WANT X-MAS party was held Dec 19th at the 1st Free Church.  The 1st official newsletter was mailed this month.

During this 1st year the cost of doing flyers and refreshments were paid for by Harold and a small contingent of neighbors.  The printing and mailing was underwritten by ECC.  Ms. Shapiro of ECC was very instrumental in her support and advice this year.

[Comment: It is not difficult to see why the name West Andersonville Neighbors Together won out over the competitors.  The other acronyms were WACO and WAR!]

–prepared by LeRoy Blommaert based on his recollections, October 2013.  He was president of the Edgewater Community Council 1974 through 1976.