WBEZ | Norwood Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/norwood-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Norwood Park, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/norwood-park-past-and-present-105835 <p><p>Norwood Park, Community Area 10,&nbsp;is one of Chicago&rsquo;s railroad communities.&nbsp;The original settlement was planned around the Chicago &amp; North Western commuter line.&nbsp;But that&rsquo;s not the beginning of our story.</p><p>In 1833 Mark Noble filed claim to 150 acres of land in the area. He built a frame house on a glacial ridge and lived the life of a gentleman farmer. Today his home, at 5634 North Newark Avenue, is the oldest building in Chicago.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3-7 (1)--Noble's House.jpg" title="Mark Noble's 1833 farmhouse" /></div><p>Other farmers followed Noble.&nbsp;Then in 1868, a group of Chicago investors&nbsp;purchased 860 acres near the railroad for real estate development.&nbsp;Taking their name from a popular novel, they called their community Norwood Park.&nbsp;A town hall and shops were built across from the C&amp;NW station.</p><p>The new town featured wide lots with expansive front lawns. Instead of following the rigid Chicago grid, the streets were pleasantly curved&ndash;one of them even formed a circle. Three small parks were laid out and hundreds of shade trees planted.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</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/3-7%20%282%29--map%20-%20Copy.jpg" style="width: 518px; height: 385px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">To promote development, frequent ads&nbsp;were run in the Chicago newspapers.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s worth quoting one of them&ndash;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Only 11 miles from the Court House on the Chicago &amp; North Western, 30 minutes ride.&nbsp;Eighty feet above the lake on beautiful, rolling ground, perfect drainage.&nbsp;No malaria, no saloons, no nuisances of any kind.&nbsp;Good society, churches, graded schools, stores.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">New settlers arrived.&nbsp;They built large Victorian homes on the high ground near the ridge. As Norwood Park&nbsp;grew, the residents saw the need for city services.&nbsp;In 1893 they voted to become part of Chicago.&nbsp;Today the historic heart of the original town is&nbsp;called Old Norwood.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3-7%20%283%29--homes%20in%20Old%20Norwood%20%28Nickerson%20Ave%29.jpg" title="Nickerson Avenue in Old Norwood" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The eastern part of the community was not developed until after annexation.&nbsp;Though closer to the city, the land here was marsh.&nbsp;New sewers solved that problem, and bungalows began going up.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">By 1930 Norwood Park&nbsp;was home to&nbsp;14,000 people.&nbsp;A&nbsp;local shopping district had&nbsp;evolved near Northwest Highway and Raven, and a string of small factories&nbsp;lined the railroad.&nbsp;Then came the Depression and World War II.&nbsp;Building stopped, with large areas to the south and west still prairie.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Development resumed after the war ended. Now the families of the Baby Boom were buying cars and looking for ranch homes. The outer portions of Norwood Park&ndash;Big Oaks, Union Ridge, Oriole Park&ndash;were filling up. The population reached 27,000 in 1950, and 41,000 ten years later.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3-7 (4)--NW Hwy 1957.jpg" title="Northwest Highway-Raven, 1957 (author's collection)" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, it took a while to tie Norwood Park to the city.&nbsp;The railroad was fast, but expensive.&nbsp;Most residents who wanted to get downtown faced a long, slow journey, driving on surface streets or riding the Milwaukee Avenue streetcar.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Northwest (Kennedy) Expressway was completed in 1960.&nbsp;The community&nbsp;now had convenient auto access to other areas, though traffic&nbsp;grows heavier each year.&nbsp;The O&rsquo;Hare branch of the CTA Blue Line has been an alternative since 1983.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Drawing a map of Community Area 10 should not be attempted by amateurs.&nbsp;That&rsquo;s because the boundaries are so complicated.&nbsp;Politics is the reason, of course.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/18--Am%20I%20Still%20in%20Chicago%20%288200-block%20W%20Catherin%20Ave--street%20lights%20end%20at%20city%20border%29.jpg" title="Catherine Avenue--street lights end at the city border" /></div><p>During the 1950s Chicago wanted to establish a land connection to the new O&rsquo;Hare Airport, and began claiming large swaths of territory.&nbsp;The boundaries of Community Area 10 were stretched west to Cumberland Avenue.&nbsp;But in the middle of all this Chicago land, there are several blocks that refused to join the city, and remain unincorporated.&nbsp;They are known as Norwood Park Township.&nbsp;</p><p>Today the Chicago community of Norwood Park is a stable, middle-class area.&nbsp;The population of 37,000 is&nbsp;largely&nbsp;White European American. About 12% identify as Hispanic. Local landmarks include the Noble home, Superdawg Drive-in, and Taft High School, inspiration for the musical <em>Grease.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><em><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3-7%20%285%29--Taft%20High%20School%20%28aka%20Rydell%29-5601%20N%20Natoma%20Ave%20%281%29.jpg" title="Taft High School, aka Rydell" /></em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 07 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/norwood-park-past-and-present-105835 Landmark Destroyed: The Henry Rincker House http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-11-04/landmark-destroyed-henry-rincker-house-93629 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-04/11-04--Rincker House.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>For decades into the 1970s, the Lilac Farm grocery store stood near the southwest corner of Milwaukee and Devon. Customers rarely gave a thought to the old frame farm house behind the store. Neighborhood kids knew it only as &quot;the haunted house.&quot;</p><p>Then, in 1978, a developer bought the 5.2 acres of land that included Lilac Farm, the farm house, and a few other buildings. He planned on replacing everything with a strip mall and some condos.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="326" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-31/11-04--Lilac Farm.JPG" title="" width="490" /></p><p>Now the old farm house attracted some more attention. It seemed the structure had been built by a German baker named Henry Rincker as long ago as 1851, when Milwaukee Avenue was still a wood-plank toll road. Besides being the earliest surviving example of Chicago balloon-frame construction, the Rincker House was also the second-oldest building in the city!</p><p>In 1979 the city council approved landmark status for the house. The developer opposed the action and sought a demolition permit. A compromise was reached, with the developer agreeing to move the Rincker House to another location on the property.</p><p>The house was still standing on its original site in February 1980, when vandals set it on fire. Despite heavy damage, firefighters saved most of the building. But the worst was yet to come.</p><p>Bright and early on the morning of August 25, 1980 a bulldozer appeared on the property and leveled the Rincker House.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="326" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-31/11-04--Rincker House.JPG" title="" width="490" /></p><p>What about &quot;landmark preservation?&quot; The wrecking company had gotten a permit to knock down a structure at 6384 North Milwaukee Avenue, the lot where the Rincker House stood. But the house&#39;s official address was listed as 6366. When the demo permit was issued for 6384, the city computer had not recognized a building with protected status.</p><p>What about the large signs on the Rincker House that proclaimed it a city landmark? The bulldozer operator said he hadn&#39;t seen them.</p><p>An investigation was launched. Lawsuits were filed. A prominent state senator was brought to trial for allegedly trying to fix the case--and acquitted. Meanwhile, little more than a mile from the Rincker site, the Mark Noble farm house was confirmed as Chicago&#39;s oldest building, dating from 1833. That took some of the sting out of the demolition &quot;mistake.&quot;</p><p>A strip mall now occupies the southwest corner of Milwaukee and Devon. And the Henry Rincker House remains&nbsp;notorious as a Chicago City Landmark that was destroyed.</p></p> Fri, 04 Nov 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-11-04/landmark-destroyed-henry-rincker-house-93629 Chicago's oldest house? http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-09-07/chicagos-oldest-house-91526 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-07/Noble House Chicago_WBEZ_Schmidt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago is gearing up to celebrate the 175th birthday of the Henry B. Clarke House. Located a mile south of the Loop, it's usually cited as the city's oldest building. But out in the Norwood Park neighborhood, at 5624 N. Newark Avenue, there's an even older house.</p><p>Mark Noble was English by birth. Along with his family he arrived at the little settlement near the mouth of the Chicago River in 1831. He operated a saw mill and helped organize a Methodist congregation.</p><p>In 1833 Noble claimed 150 acres of land a dozen miles northwest of town. He built a small frame house on the Waukegan Road and moved into the life of a gentleman farmer. But he died in 1839, and his widow sold off the property.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-05/09-07--Noble House.jpg" style="width: 495px; height: 379px;" title=""></p><p>Noble's house passed through a series of owners. Thomas Seymour bought it in 1868. He was part of the company developing the new village of Norwood Park in the area. Since the Seymours were a large family, he added a two-story addition to the original building.</p><p>Seymour used the property as a country farm. He planted a vineyard, and an orchard with over a thousand apple and cherry trees. For a while he raised blooded short-horn cattle.</p><p>Chicago annexed Norwood Park in 1893. Waukegan Road became Newark Avenue. Thomas Seymour died in 1915, and the property to the north and west was subdivided. The house was sold again.</p><p>The new owner was concert pianist Stuart Crippen. He added electricity and indoor plumbing, converting the house into a year-round residence. It remained in the Crippen family for over 70 years. As the children grew up and got married, the house was divided into separate flats.</p><p>In 1987 the Crippens put the old homestead up for sale. Developers had their eyes on the 1.7-acre property, but the Norwood Park Historical Society beat them out. The purchase price was $285,000.</p><p>With aid from various sources, the historical society began renovating the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House. The goal was to restore it to an early 20th Century appearance. While the work was going on, the original provenance was confirmed--the southern section of the house dated from 1833, making it the oldest building within the Chicago city limits.</p><p>The house became an official city landmark in 1988. In 2000 it was put on the National Register of Historic Places. The house has even made it into the movies, appearing in John Goodman's film "The Babe."</p><p>Chicago's oldest house is operated as a museum. The historical society stages many events on the grounds, most notably the June yard sale. The house itself is open to the public on Saturday afternoons. Since the society is still paying off its mortgage, contributions are gratefully accepted.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Sep 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-09-07/chicagos-oldest-house-91526 North Side Aldermanic Races http://www.wbez.org/story/bernard-stone/north-side-aldermanic-races <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/3478679048_abba175cf3_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 11:00 p.m.</em> There were a number of tight North Side aldermanic contests, with runoffs to follow in April. Among the highlights are a virtual tie in the 46th Ward race to replace retiring Ald. Helen Schiller, and 83-year-old Ald. Bernie Stone will face challenger Debra Silverstein in a runoff, as Stone edged Silverstein by just a few hundred votes.</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 35</strong></p><p>36 of 36 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Rey Colon, (i) 4,451 - 51 percent</p><p>Miguel Sotomayor, 2,174 - 25 percent</p><p>Nancy Schiavone, 2,117 - 24 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 36</strong></p><p>55 of 55 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>John Rice, (i) 6,709 - 48 percent</p><p>Nicholas Sposato, 3,346 - 24 percent</p><p>Jodi Biancalana, 1,964 - 14 percent</p><p>Brian Murphy, 656 - 5 percent</p><p>Thomas Motzny, 650 - 5 percent</p><p>Bruce Randazzo, 628 - 5 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 38</strong></p><p>53 of 53 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Timothy Cullerton, (i) 5,795 - 48 percent</p><p>Tom Caravette, 2,699 - 22 percent</p><p>Bart Goldberg, 945 - 8 percent</p><p>Carmen Hernandez, 723 - 6 percent</p><p>Mahmoud Bambouyani, 704 - 6 percent</p><p>Sheryl Morabito, 672 - 6 percent</p><p>John Videckis, 402 - 3 percent</p><p>Ed Quartullo, 237 - 2 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 39</strong></p><p>47 of 47 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Margaret Laurino, (i) 7,735 - 76 percent</p><p>Mary Hunter, 2,392 - 24 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 41</strong></p><p>56 of 57 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Mary O'Connor, 5,885 - 30 percent</p><p>Maurita Gavin, 4,890 - 25 percent</p><p>Richard Gonzalez, 1,887 - 10 percent</p><p>Thomas Murphey, 1,718 - 9 percent</p><p>Jim Mullen, 1,650 - 8 percent</p><p>Daniel Lapinski, 1,593 - 8 percent</p><p>Brock Merck, 728 - 4 percent</p><p>John Quinn, 528 - 3 percent</p><p>Barbara Ateca, 353 - 2 percent</p><p>James Schamne, 152 - 1 percent</p><p>George Banna, 134 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 43</strong></p><p>57 of 59 precincts - 97 percent</p><p>Michele Smith, 5,040 - 37 percent</p><p>Tim Egan, 3,862 - 29 percent</p><p>Charles Eastwood, 1,394 - 10 percent</p><p>Rafael Vargas, 1,219 - 9 percent</p><p>Mitchell Newman, 637 - 5 percent</p><p>Bita Buenrostro, 408 - 3 percent</p><p>Jim Hinkamp, 378 - 3 percent</p><p>Mike Jankovich, 356 - 3 percent</p><p>Carmen Olmetti, 149 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 45</strong></p><p>53 of 53 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>John Garrido, 5,121 - 32 percent</p><p>John Arena, 3,567 - 23 percent</p><p>Marina Faz-Huppert, 3,065 - 19 percent</p><p>Michael Ward, 1,638 - 10 percent</p><p>Anna Klocek, 1,189 - 8 percent</p><p>Don Blair, 965 - 6 percent</p><p>Bruno Bellissimo, 216 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 46</strong></p><p>47 of 47 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Molly Phelan, 2,712 - 20 percent</p><p>James Cappleman, 2,706 - 20 percent</p><p>Emily Stewart, 2,018 - 15 percent</p><p>Don Nowotny, 1,591 - 12 percent</p><p>Marc Kaplan, 1,331 - 10 percent</p><p>Michael Carroll, 1,241 - 9 percent</p><p>Scott Baskin, 821 - 6 percent</p><p>Befekadu Retta, 602 - 4 percent</p><p>Diane Shapiro, 458 - 3 percent</p><p>Andy Lam, 186 - 1 percent</p><p>Caitlin McIntyre, 141 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 47</strong></p><p>51 of 52 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Ameya Pawar, 8,351 - 51 percent</p><p>Tom O'Donnell, 7,157 - 44 percent</p><p>Matt Reichel, 600 - 4 percent</p><p>Tom Jacks, 342 - 2 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 48</strong></p><p>53 of 54 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Harry Osterman, 10,161 - 81 percent</p><p>Philip Bernstein, 716 - 6 percent</p><p>Jose Arteaga, 639 - 5 percent</p><p>Patrick McDonough, 629 - 5 percent</p><p>Steven Chereska, 354 - 3 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 49</strong></p><p>42 of 42 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Joe Moore, (i) 6,857 - 72 percent</p><p>Brian White, 2,665 - 28 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 50</strong></p><p>44 of 45 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Bernard Stone, (i) 4,143 - 37 percent</p><p>Debra Silverstein, 3,763 - 34 percent</p><p>Greg Brewer, 2,095 - 19 percent</p><p>Ahmed Khan, 659 - 6 percent</p><p>Michael Moses, 475 - 4 percent</p><p>Here is a look at some of the aldermanic races WBEZ reporters will be following closely.</p><p><strong>50th Ward</strong></p><p><em>Updated At: 8:40 p.m. </em>&nbsp; Vote tallies show tight races in the 46th and 50th wards on Chicago's North Side, where runoffs appear likely. Candidates in the 46th Ward are vying to replace retiring Ald. Helen Schiller, who represents much of Uptown. Chicago's oldest alderman, 83-year-old Bernie Stone, is fighting to hold onto his seat in the 50th Ward.</p><p>On the city&rsquo;s far North Side, West Ridge residents say this race is about the same issues brought up in past elections: development and beautification of the once-thriving retail corridors on Devon and Western Avenues, as well as building cohesion among the ward&rsquo;s ethnically diverse populations. When incumbent Ald. Bernard Stone declared that he would run again for an eleventh term, the 83-year-old said now was &ldquo;&shy;not the time for change.&rdquo;</p><p>In his last election Stone found himself forced into a runoff. Later, he lost the Democratic Committeeman seat to State Senator Ira Silverstein. In this race, Silverstein&rsquo;s wife, Debra, is running against Stone, as is one-time Stone ally, Michael Moses. Both of those challengers hail from the area&rsquo;s Orthodox Jewish community. Also running are Greg Brewer, an architect who unsuccessfully bid for Stone&rsquo;s seat in the last election, and Ahmed Khan, a young community organizer of Indian-American descent.</p><p><strong>47th Ward</strong></p><p><em>Updated At: 9:06 </em>&nbsp; Ameya Pawar has a slight lead over Tom O'Donnell and two other challengers in the 47th Ward race to replace Ald. Gene Schulter.</p><p>In this ward, 35-year incumbent Gene Schulter dropped his reelection bid in January to make a play for the Cook County Board of Review. That unsuccessful run set up the first wide-open race since the 1970s in this ward that includes Lincoln Square, North Center and Ravenswood. Schulter threw his support behind Tom O'Donnell, a longtime ally who is president of the Ravenswood Community Council. Schulter gave O'Donnell at least $15,000, helping set up a huge money advantage for O'Donnell. He raised more than $100,000 since jumping into the race just over a month ago.</p><p>His biggest competitor is 30-year-old Ameya Pawar, a program assistant at Northwestern University who bills himself as young, savvy and reform-minded. He collected endorsements from both major daily papers, and managed to raise about $30,000 without the backing of an established political organization. Activist Matt Reichel and Northwestern University administrator Tim Jacks are also running for the seat.</p><p><b>46th Ward</b></p><p>This ward is largely contained within the Uptown neighborhood, which entered this election at a crossroads. For years it&rsquo;s been under pressure to preserve a tradition of taking care of the economically and socially underserved. At the same time, young homeowners want to see new businesses that can serve them, and raise their property values.</p><p>Outgoing Ald. Helen Shiller had championed to keep affordable housing in the 46th Ward, and she won her final battle most recently with the creation of the Wilson Yards mixed-use development. The development brought in a Target and an Aldi grocery, but it also included low-income and senior housing. Shiller&rsquo;s decision not to run left the door open to eleven candidates, who have had to delicately address economic development while retaining affordable housing.</p><p><strong>41st Ward</strong></p><p>This ward includes far-Northwest Side neighborhoods like Edison Park, Norwood Park and Edgebrook -- largely white, middle-class areas home to many cops, teachers and city workers. There, the City Council's only Republican, Brian Doherty, gave up a reelection bid for an unsuccessful run for the state legislature. He threw his support behind his longtime administrative aide, Maurita Gavin (who, it so happens, took Alderman Doherty to prom back in the 1970s). She is running on a platform of continuity, promising even to keep largely the same staff.</p><p>She faced a huge field of 10 challengers, including three former or current police officers and a fireman. In contention are Mary O'Connor, a small business-owner and Democratic committeeman, Richard Gonzalez, a police sergeant who has loaned large sums to his campaign, and Thomas Patrick Murphey, an urban planner who nabbed the Chicago Tribune's endorsement. Bread-and-butter issues dominated this campaign, like basic city services and preventing local police from being deployed to other wards. Most candidates promised to fight to uphold the area's &quot;suburb in the city&quot; character, dominated by single-family homes and good schools. Also running for this seat are former police officer Jim Mullen, firefighter Daniel Lapinski, small-business owner James Schamne, police officer Brock Merck, George Banna and Barbara Ateca.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef and Gabriel Spitzer contributed to this story.</em></p><p><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 21:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bernard-stone/north-side-aldermanic-races