WBEZ | Ronald Reagan http://www.wbez.org/tags/ronald-reagan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tear down that wall? Not so fast: Permit to raze Reagan's Hyde Park boyhood home under review http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/tear-down-wall-not-so-fast-permit-raze-reagans-hyde-park-boyhood-home-under <p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="429" scrolling="no" src="http://www.voanews.com/flashembed.aspx?t=vid&amp;id=1573488&amp;w=640&amp;h=429&amp;skin=embeded" width="640"></iframe></p><p>A permit to demolish a boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan has been placed on hold as city officials decide whether the vacant Hyde Park six-flat is worthy of preservation, WBEZ has learned.</p><p>Heneghan Wrecking and Excavating Co., on behalf the University of Chicago, last Thursday applied for a permit to raze the three-story brick building, 832-834 E. 57th St. The move triggered an automatic maxium 90-day review by landmark officials because the structure is among a class of buildings with &quot;potentially significant architectural or historical features,&quot; as listed in the city&#39;s Historic Resources Survey.</p><p>(The above news story from Voice of America last month shows the building&#39;s exterior and efforts to preserve the structure.)</p><p>The demolition permit is one of three currently under such review by the city. The list, which includes St. Boniface Church, 1352 W. Chestnut &mdash; the subject of a preservation battle for more than a decade &mdash; <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/demolition_delayholdlist2012.html">can be viewed here.</a></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/40rr_header_sm.jpg" style="height: 141px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="Former president Ronald Reagan. (File/WhiteHouse.gov)" />Reagan, a former California governor who served in the White House from 1981 to 1989, lived in the Hyde Park building with his family for about 10 months <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/ronald-reagans-chicago-home-98605">when he was four years old</a>. It is one of several Illinois places Reagan lived as a youth. The best-known is the Dixon, IL home where Reagan moved when he was nine years old that has been restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.</div><p>Located on the northeastern edge of the expanding University of Chicago Medical Center, the building has been eyed for demolition since the university purchased it in 2004, angering some preservationists and Reaganphiles.</p><p>&quot;[W]hile the university is more-or-less ignoring the Reagan home preservation effort, it is actively lobbying for an Obama Presidential Library,&quot;&nbsp; Former Reagan aide Peter Hannaford wrote in<em> American Spectator</em> last month:&nbsp; &quot;Chicago politics being what they are, the betting is on that project and not saving the cold-water flat apartment building in which the only U.S. president born and bred in Illinois lived during his boyhood.&quot;</p><p>According to ordinance, the city&#39;s Department of Housing and Economic Development can look at a range of preservation options &mdash; or none at all &mdash; during the review period, including a landmark designation.</p></p> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/tear-down-wall-not-so-fast-permit-raze-reagans-hyde-park-boyhood-home-under Ronald Reagan's Chicago home http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/ronald-reagans-chicago-home-98605 <p><p>Before Barack Obama, only one U.S. President had called Chicago home. As a boy, Ronald Reagan lived on the first floor of the building at 832 East 57th Street.</p><p>The Reagans moved into their&nbsp;apartment in January of 1915. They&rsquo;d come to the city from the western Illinois village of Tampico. Jack Reagan, Ronald&#39;s father, got a job selling shoes in the Loop. His wife, Nelle, stayed home with the two boys, 6-year-old Neil and little Ron&ndash;called &ldquo;Dutch&rdquo;&ndash;who was going on 4.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-02--Reagan%20home.jpg" title="President Reagan's Chicago home--832 E. 57th St." /></div><p>The University of Chicago was a few blocks east, but the area where the Reagans settled wasn&rsquo;t fashionable. Nor was the building&ndash;their flat was lighted by a single gas lamp, which operated when a quarter was deposited in a timer. They probably picked the location for its easy access to the Cottage Grove streetcar line.</p><p>After living in tiny Tampico, Chicago was a brave new world for Dutch Reagan. He was excited to see all the people and activity. When a horse-drawn fire engine clanged by his apartment window, he decided there could be no finer profession than Chicago fireman.</p><p>All was not pleasant for Dutch. He came down with bronchial pneumonia and nearly died. A neighbor brought over a set of lead soldiers for the boy to play with, and they became his favorite toy.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-02--Reagan_0.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 380px; float: right;" title="A child of Hyde Park (National Archives)" /></div></div><p>Jack Reagan was a&nbsp;drinker, which didn&rsquo;t help the family&#39;s finances. President Reagan remembered that his mother &ldquo;had to make a soup bone last several days and be creative in her cooking.&rdquo; Fried liver was considered a Sunday feast.</p><p>The boys did their part, too. In&nbsp;the summer, Nelle would hang a sack of fresh-popped popcorn around each of their necks, and send them out to peddle it in front of White City&nbsp;amusement park, a mile away on 63rd Street. Child labor laws were fairly loose then.</p><p>Sometime in 1916 the Reagan family left Chicago and moved to Galesburg. It&rsquo;s not clear whether Jack quit his Loop job, or was fired. But their time in Hyde Park was over.</p><p>Many years later, President Reagan told a friend he&#39;d once lived in Chicago, but didn&#39;t know the address. Reagan had always been frank about his dad&#39;s drinking. The friend scoured old arrest records, and found Jack Reagan of 832 E. 57th St., charged as a &quot;drunk-and-disorderly.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, in Hyde Park, the University of Chicago continues to expand. Since the Chicago home of our 40th President doesn&rsquo;t have any landmark status, its future is uncertain.</p></p> Wed, 02 May 2012 09:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/ronald-reagans-chicago-home-98605