September 28, 2011

About Stewart School and Uptown from a Reader

Bill Matteson
Uptown Chicago History Correspondent

One of the neat perks of this Uptown blog is running into so many people you "almost knew";
this one is from John, now retired and living in Orange County NY. John is a former teacher at Lane Tech and went to Stewart school with Harrison Ford back in the day. Please read John's last two lines.

I went to Stewart School, the same time as Harry Ford. Had Mrs. Crammer, Mrs. Hefferman, etc. Just saying hi! Remember the big bus building fire by the boys side playground? I did not see it mentioned in your blog.

I remember Mrs Kramer, red hair and leopard skin fur coats, she lived at the Edgewater Beach I remember the fire also. It was Wilbert Bus company. Where did you live and what years were you in Stewart?

Do you recall the guys with a bull whip in the boys playground? We had a neighbor move two houses down about 10 years ago who's father worked at Wilson Ave bowling, the multi-story bowling alley and billiard tables. Small world! He has since moved to Ohio

I was probably one of the Bull whip guys. Send me your email address

LOL, if it were you, about 5 years older than me, it scared me when it made that loud crack, but I loved to watch from the chain link fence in the alley. In later years I actually got a leather whip to try it out for myself, and it did make a crack. One does not hear about things like that anymore.

Hi Bill, (in reference to practicing with bull whip's in the school yard)

Yep, that had to be you in the school yard, there was a girl there too and another guy or two. Imagine after all these years.

Odell Jackson was the manager of the Walgreen's on the corner of Broadway and Wilson. I have tried to find him too. In 1970 the same little old lady was still working there from when we were kids. Remember when the First Federal Bank put in a heated sidewalk, so it did not need shoveling?
Yeah, we spent lots of time at the Mode, the Riviera, Uptown, Pantheon, etc. We went to the movies every Saturday. I also remember going to the Chicago theater to see Frankie Lane, and when a circus came to the Uptown theater. It is a shame about the Granada theater. I spent a lot of summer time at Wilson Beach, and the Corinthean Yacht Club. A neighbor had a boat, and let me sail with him. That is one of the things about Chicago I could never get out of my system. We were all friends, no matter what your position in life. Even the ball players (Cubs) were really friendly as they left the Sheridan Hotel to go to a game, and took time to talk. Heck, the family games of "soft ball" at the parks included everyone. I was surprised to learn they now have an occasional game of 16 inch ball here. I still have my original indoor ball, and have since bought two more via mail. The sports stores here never heard of the ball. The indoor ball had a nickname, something like mush ball.

Hi Bill,
I sure do remember Bissets, when very young I remember using the ladies room there. And we would go to the Oasis at the corner of the alley behind Stewart and Wilson, and get a cherry coke with two straws. I also went to John the Barber. Next to the Alden Hotel was the Chinaman's laundry. I do not remember the name of the drug store at Wilson and Sheridan, but spent a lot of time in there. Going down Wilson in the other direction was a vegitable store, and a fish store. There were also numerous candy stores, usually in a basement with a street entrance. Near Broadway and Sheridan there was another bowling alley, that also had a Burlesque Bar on the corner. The block before had a bakery. I see that the Beuena Church was torn down. That was such as beautiful building. Going down Sunnyside, one apartment complex had a beautiful, but old stone garden with miniature buildings. I used to go up the the Edgewater Beach Hotel to see the radio show, I think was called the Breakfast Club, and of course their elephant. The fireworks were always wonderful on the fourth of July. The best year was when the city built "the Hill" in the park for sleigh riding. We also did a lot of fishing off "the Hook". The bait shop is still there behind the yacht club.

Bill, you lived about 2.5 blocks from me. About a 5 minute walk apart. Around 1954 I was swimming the rocks with my sister while visiting our dad, and a big storm came in and washed all our clothes, wallets, etc into Lake Michigan. We were in the water when the big wave came, and felt lucky to be alive after we managed to get out, and finding everything missing that we left on the rocks.

I would have loved to see the construction when they put the rocks in place. They are such big blocks of stone. Do you know where they were mined, and how far they were transported, as well as the means of transportation?

Remember the Shamrock bar on Wilson, on the right going toward the lake. And, the ice truck and horse drawn vegetable wagon that went down the alley calling their presence as they went. We would have to run down with money to buy what our mom told us to buy. The ice man would give us a chip of ice to suck on. To think people were still using ice boxes then. Did you know the "cigar tree" in our back yard behind Stewart? That tree was there for so long. We did not know it was really a catalpa tree, which is supposed to be short lived. It was also a great climbing tree. Remember climbing the wall of the school with the bricks that stuck out of the wall, and climbing to the two low roofs on each side of the building. The Pit side was easier to climb since we had the pit wall to start on. It is amazing how such old memories come back after all these years. I was asking my 92 year old mother about when she took me to Clarendon's playground and sand box, where a boy with mongoloid down syndrome would play, and she said I was only two at that time. I have no idea how that came out of this old brain. And, don't forget the terrific ice skating at Clarendon in the winter. That was the biggest rink I can remember seeing. Later on I ice skated at a pay location not far up Wilson, but don't recall the name. I do remember you had to walk past a bar, which turned out to be one for an alternative life style.

Let the memories roll! I feel bad for the kids today not having a feeling of security in their world. It seems we had much more freedom, and responsibility.



bill Matteson said...

The Breakfast Club was Don McNeill's show from the Edgewater was the longest running radio show ever 35 1/2 years.

Anonymous said...

It was Ford Hopkins Drug Store at Wilson and Sheridan. I bought my Bonnie Braids Doll there in 1952.

Cheryl Peck Deters

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the two taverns on Broadway between Montrose and Wilson that catered to a Native American crowd..the War Bonnet and the Tee Pee Inn? The police were there every night for soem type of violence..

bill Matteson said...

two taverns
I worked in the printing trades all my life, and as a supervisor in the Film Prep Dept at I.S.Berlin Press at Belmont and Kimball. one of the guys who worked with me was Frank X(last name withheld)and he was one hell of am artist, he would dress in full regalia at sport shows and charge $25 per portrait.Frank lived in Uptown and would drink in those two taverns. He would come in every Monday morning all beat up. He would tell me that they were friends until about midnight and then someone would let out a war whoop and a full scale fight would happen, I told Frank to find a different place to drink, He said "Why"

linda albright said...

does anyone remember gandall's drug store on the corner of sheridan and montrose? it was run by two brothers who were not twins but looked so much alike. and there was a small grocery across the street from there called Acies (i think that was it) where you could get a big bottle of pepsi and a twinkie for 24 cents!!


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