As reported most recently, the Historical Society and the Park Ridge Park District entered into an Agreement on March 20 regarding the renovation of the Solomon Cottage. At this time, the parties have agreed upon the services of FGM Architects, the same firm which has designed our new park at 733 North Prospect. FGM Architects has submitted its estimated fee for services, and once the estimated costs of renovation work are also known and agreed upon, the Society and Park District will sign off on a long-term lease for use of the Cottage as its new home.
On May 17, the District received a letter from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), with a summary of its review of the plans for the new park. The IHPA has authority for this purpose as the park property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was determined that the plans for the park constitute an adverse effect on this historic Illinois place, and the Park District must enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to, among other stipulations, rehabilitate the Solomon Cottage and Wohler’s Hall in accord with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties. (The IHPA letter can be found at the Park District’s website as part of the packet of information for its Board of Commissioners meeting of June 19.)
The requirement for rehabilitation work to the federal standard poses uncertainty as to what can or can’t be done to reconfigure the interior of the Cottage for our contemporary purpose as the Park Ridge History Center, and this is not addressed in the letter. Additional costs that might accompany this requirement are yet unknown. We have appealed to the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for clarification in regard to rehabilitation of the Cottage, and both the Society and Park District await this information soon so that we can resume our conversation regarding the costs of renovation work with this information.
The Society’s Trustees remain committed to bringing a new life to the 1908 Hannah Solomon Cottage as the Park Ridge History Center. We will continue to report on project developments.
-Paul Adlaf, President
LOST AIRPORTS OF CHICAGO
On Wednesday, April 16, Nicholas Selig presented a speaking program on behalf of the Park Ridge Historical Society at the Summit of Uptown.
Mr. Selig is the author of the 2013 book, Lost Airports of Chicago. During his presentation, he displayed many images of those airfields relatively close to Park Ridge, up and down the Des Plaines River corridor. His maps, diagrams and images of the “Park Ridge Airport” and “American Airport” were the highlight of the program, as his research clearly showed how these two airfields bracketed the distance from Touhy Avenue on the west side of River Road to the intersection of Devon Avenue and Higgins Road to the immediate south.
Paul Adlaf, Dave Charewicz, Nick Selig and Brian Lazzaro visit after Mr. Selig’s program
Mr. Selig has been involved with flying as a teenage Civil Air Patrol cadet, army and civilian aviation mechanic, charter, freight and corporate pilot, and airline maintenance technician. Based on his travels as a weekend flyer, he wrote his book to give recognition to the many long-forgotten small airports in the Chicago area which played a role in our nation’s aviation history before they are completely forgotten. His follow-up book, Forgotten Chicago Airfields, was released on May 1.
At right: Pat Adlaf at the Society welcoming table
The Society welcomes these new members and thanks them for support of our mission:
Dr. Anthony Borrelli, Life Member
Laura and Gary Briars
Jennifer and David Briggs
Thomas Mallin, Life Member
Thanks also to Carol Gonzalez for stepping up to Life Membership.
JOIN US FOR OUR HISTORIC BIKE TOUR!
Date: Saturday, August 16, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. — 9:30 a.m.
Begins: At Solomon Cottage, 721 N. Prospect, Park Ridge, IL 60068
Description: Our ride will take us to many historic sites in Park Ridge.
We will share what we know about places like Johnston Circle, Cedar Court,
the location of the first movie theater in town, George Penny’s brickyard, Civil
War era graves, our first library and much, much more!
Sign Up: Our tour will be limited to 20 riders.
To sign up for our tour, please call (847) 696-1973.
Please leave your name & phone number. We will confirm your reservation.
Additional Upcoming Events
Tuesday, August 5: Look for us at the annual “National Night Out” community event in Hodges Park from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4: The Society is pleased to announce that it will again present its “Spirits of Old Park Ridge” event at the Town of Maine Cemetery, featuring visits to the gravesites of Park Ridgers whose stories will illuminate the life and times in our community over the
decades. More information to follow, or visit www.pennyville.org for updates.
WARTIME MEMORIES PROJECT UPDATE
Twelve oral histories are now recorded for Maine High School alumni from the Classes of 1945-1948. The audio recordings are being transcribed, and will be edited and made into print editions of the interviews by late summer. The companion videos of these interviews are being edited by current Maine Township High School students and should be ready about the same time as the audio transcripts. We thank all of the participants in this project from the Maine High School Classes of 1945-1948, and the students at Maine South and Maine East who provided support for the interviews and videotaping.
Our Wartime Memories Reception and these oral histories will be acknowledged in a short documentary being prepared by District 207 staff to introduce students to the Maine Flyer 70 project, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II on VE Day and VJ Day in 2015. The purpose of the documentary is to inspire current students to contemplate an appropriate monument or mural or plaque for this purpose, likely at the Maine East location. John Murphy will speak to our work during the documentary, which will also include images recalling the wartime
years in Park Ridge.
LAMPPOST NOW AVAILABLE VIA EMAIL OR PRINT
If you would like to receive the next Lamppost via email rather than receiving a print copy, please notify us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By doing so, you will be helping us to conserve costs in print production, thereby increasing monies available for our History on the Move project.
If you’d still like to receive the Lamppost in print, we will continue to be happy to mail it to you.
And, if you can’t find your back issues of the Lamppost, remember that they are now available on-line as well. Please be assured that Society Members will always be the first to receive new issues, with on-line publication at a later date.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The Society wishes to thank Judy Kaplan for her dedicated volunteer efforts in producing the Lamppost newsletter for the past several years. She is responsible for organizing the Lamppost copy we submit into the professional layout you see in the finished product. The Society also owes a debt of gratitude to another talented volunteer, Dave Charewicz, long-time Park Ridge resident and professional photographer. Most recently, Dave provided
the photos for our Annual Dinner in 2013 and our Homecoming Reception in 2012 as well as other past events.
-Editor, Nancy Pytel
REMINISCING ABOUT THE PARK RIDGE NEWS AGENCY BY JAMES A. FIZZELL
In the 1940s and 50s, many boys worked for the Park Ridge News Agency. It was owned by a distinguished gentleman who was interested in
young men making something of themselves. Mr. Max Holub was the owner of the Park Ridge News Agency next to Scharringhausen’s on Main
Street, as well as the Edison Park News Agency which was actually a substation of the main agency in Park Ridge. The Edison Park agency
was on the east side of Oliphant Street just south of the Northwestern Railroad crossing.
Delivering newspapers required discipline and physical condition. Most of the boys rode bicycles many miles every day, throwing papers from the middle of the streets to homes on either side. It required memorizing the routes as well. Few boys wanted the disgrace or the cost of missing someone and having the “boss” go out to deliver the missed paper.
For the boys delivering the morning Tribune and the Sun (now the Sun-Times), it meant getting up at the break of dawn, or earlier,
to fold the papers and get on the street. There was a 7:00 a.m. deadline for deliveries.
I began delivering the daily papers in Edison Park in about 1946. I had an afternoon route delivering the Daily News and two ethnic newspapers, the Dziennik Chicagoski and the Abendpost, to about 40 customers in the southwest part of the community. The manager of the Edison Park office was George Prellberg. George was a gentle person to work for and always helpful to the boys. He was a good teacher and taught us to roll and tie the papers, count change, talk to customers in a professional way and other life lessons. At that time there were about half a dozen boys delivering afternoon papers from Edison Park. I remember George Burck, Rich Schiefelbein, Jack Lunnaberg, my brother Tom, and especially Jim Waschow.
Jim Waschow was a little older and he also drove the delivery truck taking papers to the stores. The evening papers were called the Bulldog Editions and the deliveries were called the Bulldog runs. There were two each evening getting the latest editions to the stores as fast as possible.
All daily papers came to Park Ridge by way of the Northwestern Railroad. They were unloaded onto a baggage cart by the waiting driver and thrown down to the waiting truck parked on Main Street. Many of us looked forward to the day when we could drive the truck and do the Bulldogs. Those of us who had the time in the evening would be runners for Waschow, counting out the papers as he drove from one stop to another, and running them into the stores. We picked up the earlier edition returns at the same time.
Also, getting a morning route was a big deal. The older guys, Bill Forney, Jack Kelsey, Roger Futrell, Doug Lattner, and a couple of
others (can’t remember their names), delivered the Tribs. I fondly remember when Mr. Prellberg asked if I would be interested in a Trib. route. Those routes were bigger with more papers and paid a lot better than the afternoon routes. Eventually, I delivered the Tribunes and the Suns
to nearly all of Edison Park south of Touhy and north of Northwest Highway. It was necessary to get to the agency about 4:00 a.m. to be sure of getting a good bike. Also, to get the several hundred papers tied was quite a job. We had tying machines like the bakeries used. If it was
wet, we wrapped the papers in wax paper. On Sundays the papers were huge, too many to fit in the baskets. We made bundles of them and the
truck drivers would drop them off along our routes for us.
We paper boys each rode special delivery bikes made with a small front wheel and a big basket mounted above it. The basket could hold a
lot of papers and was easier to handle than a regular bike with the basket mounted to the handle bars. Those tended to tip over and were
unwieldy to ride. When we finished our routes some of us ran the paper stands at the Northwestern station. The Tribs were 4 cents in those days. We
met each train starting with the 5:53 inbound at Park Ridge and finished with the 8:31. After we finished, we took the remaining papers to the
office, counted the receipts and headed for school. I went to Taft. Fortunately I was able to arrange my school schedule to be available for work. In those days, Taft was on a split schedule because it was so overcrowded. Most of us who worked were able to go only when we had scheduled classes.
Rural routes were delivered by drivers either in the trucks or in the jeep. The open jeep was the easiest to deliver from because there was no top. Waschow delivered the rural routes in the morning. Much of it was in the Manor which was not a part of Park Ridge at that time. He also delivered the Air Force houses (mostly trailers) at the Douglas Plant, now O’Hare Field. Jack Lunnaberg later delivered the afternoon rural route from the jeep. He was unfortunate enough to turn the thing over one afternoon. He was under it but suffered few injuries.
Eventually I went to work at the Park Ridge office, delivering the Bulldogs, and doing the morning runs and complaints too. Also, those of us driving the trucks delivered for kids on vacation or sick. Most of the boys missed very few days. Responsibility was a big deal then.
Part of the responsibility of the drivers was to deliver the papers to residences along the Northwest Highway from Washington to Prospect. On that run was the old rectory for St. Paul. It was a run-down house with a sloping porch just west of the old church. Father Smith was adamant that the paper be on the porch, quite a deal when driving in traffic on the westbound side of the Highway. If the driver missed the porch, there was a phone call to Mr. Holub before the driver could get back to the agency. One afternoon, just as I lofted the paper over eastbound cars, Father Smith opened the screen door and the paper hit him right in the stomach. When I got back to the agency, Mr. Holub met me with his ever-present cigar wagging in his mouth. “I hear you got Father Smith’s paper on the porch today,” was all he said.
The cigars were Perfecto Garcia Queens. He gave me 25 cents every day so I could pick one up for him when I delivered afternoon papers to Piepho’s Drug Store. The drug store was on the point at Talcott and Devon. Those cigars actually cost 25 cents each in those days. He chewed them down to the nubs, but never did light them.
Mornings were great times. It was quiet and there was little traffic. It was safe for kids in those days. In summer, it was already light out, and the heat of the day had not started. In winter, it could be brutal, though. I remember driving the open jeep out to Douglas (O’Hare Field) to deliver to the Air Force housing on a morning in about 1950 or 51. It was still dark. The temperature was about 25 below zero with a stiff west wind. The jeep had a governor to keep it slower than 35 mph. Usually, we could break the governor by flying down the hill down to the Higgins Road underpass under the Soo Line, and popping the jeep into 2nd gear. It wouldn’t work that morning, so 35 mph was it. There was no Rosemont then, just a little school. Orchard Place School was the name, I think.
If we finished early enough, most of us would head a couple of doors east to the Coffee Cup next to Gillick’s for breakfast. Two eggs with toast were 75 cents, coffee 10 cents.
At Park Ridge, Bill (Bimmy) Arensfeld was the mechanic who serviced the vehicles and kept them running. There were dents, etc., governors to replace, and always something needing work. While the Agency was a narrow store front on Main Street, there was a big garage and work area behind it and several other stores facing the alley. The manager of the Park Ridge Agency was Bill (Buck) Ziggenbein. I can’t remember the
names of some of the other adults that worked there. Alice Baedeker ran the front office and was the bookkeeper. Some of the Park Ridge delivery boys I do remember were Wally Richardson, Don Skadow, Rich Schiefelbein, Gino Rizzo, Ron Chambers, Denny Pitt, and Arie VanDiggelen. There were others whose names now escape me.
Not all the guys at the agency were angels. One was in trouble a lot. One time he found a pot of axle grease as we were waiting for the evening papers to come in. He decided to grease the railroad tracks on the outbound side. The trains were headed uphill as they stopped at the station there. When the first train tried to get started, it just slipped. The next train had to come and push it up the hill. Another time work was being done on Touhy and there were barriers left along the side. He decided to set up a couple of them to turn the traffic up Grace Street that dead-ended at the tracks. Cars, semis, etc. were stuck up there during the rush hour. They had to back out because they couldn’t turn around there. One icy night I was driving down Courtland to deliver the bulldogs to Piepho’s and he was running them for me. He was a lot older and bigger than I was and thought I wasn’t going fast enough. So he decided to push my foot and the accelerator to the floor and down the street we went at a good 35…on ice. The final straw was the day he was following an old lady who was too slow for him. He edged up and pushed her down Prospect Avenue as fast as he could. That was enough, and he was terminated.
Shortly after I started at that agency, Mr. Holub began to handle magazines as well as papers. Eventually, the Park Ridge News Agency was the largest distributor of magazines in Illinois, handing all the magazines going to O’Hare. The Main Street building was much too small and a new facility was built east of the corner of Devon and Talcott. It spanned the area between the two streets.
Every year, Mr. Holub would sponsor a major event for newsboys who were high school seniors. He kept track of his boys. At the appropriate time he would send those who were eligible to Chicago to take an exam for college scholarships that he evidently funded. The first one I remember receiving one of these was Bill Forney. In 1954, I received one of these scholarships and headed to the University of Illinois.
Mr. Holub was a great man, and responsible for many delivery boys going on to college. I never remember him getting mad at any of us, even when we had an accident and bent one of the vehicles. I used his car one afternoon to deliver a complaint and managed to put a dent in it. His comment to a shuddering youngster was something like, “It can be fixed.” He was honored for many contributions to the City of Park Ridge as well.
The News Agency ceased operations in the late 1960’s from what I understand. With it went the opportunity for many young people for meaningful employment. The agency provided a lot of boys who have gone on to lead productive lives with discipline, a sense of responsibility, and good training which have helped them succeed throughout the years. Many of those boys have had exemplary careers. Mr. Holub and the Park Ridge News Agency served Park Ridge well for all the years it was in existence. It gave kids jobs and the papers were delivered on time. For young people seeking a good place to work, there is nothing today to replace it.
Youth Campus Tours: Saturday, August 2, 10 am & 11 am
The Society will conduct a brief exterior walking tour around the Campus to highlight the architecture and builders of the eight legacy cottages at the former Park Ridge School for Girls. No admission or reservation required. Tours leave from the Solomon Cottage at 721 North Prospect Avenue.