From the President

Vol. V No. 3 - SPRING 1994

By: Kathy Gemperle

Congratulations to the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society on the grand opening, on April 16, 1994, of its new Historical Museum and Research Center at 6424 N. Western Avenue!

We are pleased to announce that the Edgewater Historical Society has just formed a Building Fund Committee, co-chaired by Thom Greene and J.D. Meacham, with an eye toward making our own dream come true. Anyone interested in helping on the committee can contact me. We are looking for a low-cost location that has some historic interest. If you have an idea regarding a site or fundraising, jot it down and send it in to me.

Our last two general meetings contributed nicely to our storehouse of information about Edgewater. Many thanks to our guest speakers, Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Special Collections Curator of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, and Kathy Cummings, researcher.

During her presentation on March 26 at the Edgewater Library, Katherine Hamilton-Smith shared with us a pre-1909 postcard of an unidentified location on Broadway (see photo on page 3). We’d appreciate receiving any information you might have about this building.

Our May 5th meeting at the North Shore Baptist Church featured a slide and research presentation by Kathy Cummings on the 30 homes built in Edgewater that were designed by George Washington Maher. The presentation included both interior and exterior photographs of the houses and a history of Maher’s relationship to J.L. Cochran, the developer of Edgewater. Although most of the homes have been torn down. Kathy came up with some possibilities in the Lakewood Balmoral area and on Winthrop Avenue.

The biggest surprise of the season, however, came from a founding member, Nancy Arnold, who offered EHS the opportunity to hold a fundraising event of stellar proportions! On Saturday, May 14, 1994, Mrs. Arnold opened her home, the Colvin Mansion at Thorndale and Sheridan, for a day of tours and provided vintage clothing, jewelry and household items for a sale on her patio to benefit EHS. This last remaining residence on Sheridan Road designed by George Washington Maher was recently sold by Mrs. Arnold to a new owner.

On short notice, we notified and mobilized our members. The Lerner News-Star graciously arranged advertising space at the last minute. Only one week away from taking his nuptial vows, trouper Thom Greene trained a team of tour leaders and assistants to manage about 120 tourgoers.

Inside the mansion, the Arnolds gave tourgoers a special double treat - the chance to view and bid on some of their antiques, including pieces that were originally part of the William Randolph Hearst estate at San Simeon, while listening to the wonderful live music of celebrated guitarist Jack Cecchini.

Meanwhile, on the patio, Sue Davoust and a team of volunteers sold “remainders” of the Arnold household, from stylish hats and hand-painted china, to humidifiers and bunk beds.

Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Arnold and her children, the gross proceeds of the home tour and patio sale, totalling over $2300, enabled EHS to establish a Building Fund.

Special thanks to Sue Davoust, who handled all the publicity on one day’s notice, Jean Davidson for doing the flyers, and to our impromptu organizers - Sue Davoust, Francine Gemperle, Josette Haig, Martha Kraeger, Suzanne Pierce, Ann Tice and Bonnie Wagner.

Many thanks to all the EHS Board members and “extras” who covered so many stations I’m still dizzy thinking about it! “Extras” included Carol Beaver, Amanda Blomstrom, Donna Coleman, Jean Haider, Betty Jaci, John Kraeger, Lori Lynch, Jerry Marcoccia, Denise Mason, Ceci Murphy, Rita Ream, Charlotte Rogers, Elisabeth Wilcox-Szegho and Rose Wandel. What a Team!