WBEZ | Old Town http://www.wbez.org/tags/old-town Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en There in Chicago (#20) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/there-chicago-20-105073 <p><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/1-31-2013.JPG" title="Wells Street at Burton Place--view north" /></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/1-30-1976_0.JPG" title="1976--the same location" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">How well did you find your way around the Chicago of the past?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">We are on Wells Street a long block south of North Avenue.&nbsp;In 1976 much of the Old Town strip still&nbsp;self-identified as a funky center of the counterculture.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Thirty-seven years later, the&nbsp;physical view up Wells Street hasn&#39;t changed much. However, a wave of gentrification has swept westward from La Salle through this area. The rents here are no longer cheap.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 01 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/there-chicago-20-105073 There in Chicago (#3) http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-17/there-chicago-3-96261 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="330" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/20--2012--North-Wells .JPG" title="North Ave @ Wells St (view east)" width="495"></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="330" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/20--1949%20%28Frank%29.jpg" title="1949 (Frank photo/author's collection)" width="495"></p><p>How well did you find your way around 1949 Chicago?</p><p>The one obvious clue is the streetcar signed for Route 72, which is the number still used by the CTA for North Avenue. The double-wires overhead is another clue. Trolley busses were soon to replace streetcars here, and North Avenue was one of the few streets near downtown that had trolley busses.</p><p>The red herring clue is the narrow street. This stretch of North Avenue wasn't widened until 1972, when all the buildings along the north side of the street were knocked down. But purely by coincidence, there's still a drugstore on the northeast corner of North and Wells.</p><p>Thanks for your answers. Next time we'll move further away from downtown, into one of the neighborhoods.</p></p> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-17/there-chicago-3-96261 The Cider House story http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-07-19/cider-house-story-89141 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/schmidt_ciderhouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-14/2121 N. Hudson Ave..jpg" style="width: 495px; height: 374px;" title=""></p><p>Chicago history is more than just a fire. But sooner or later, there's bound to be a story of the Great Conflagration of 1871. The house at 2121 North Hudson Avenue is at the center of this tale.</p><p>The Chicago Fire started on the Near South Side. Pushed on by strong southwest winds, it burned through downtown, jumped the river, and continued moving north. Nothing in its path seemed safe.</p><p>By the second evening the fire had passed Center Street (Armitage). Here the buildings were fewer and farther apart. On Hudson Avenue, the only house was a little wooden cottage belonging to a policeman named Richard Bellinger.</p><p>As the fire approached, Bellinger was determined to save his home. He tore up the wooden sidewalk, then collected all the water he could, in whatever bucket or bottle or cup was handy. Then he waited--but not for long.</p><p>Sparks from the fire started to hit the house, and Bellinger quickily doused them. The fire kept coming, Bellinger kept pouring water. He ran around the four sides of the little cottage, he climbed on the roof, he dropped back to the ground. Wherever the flames lit, Bellinger was there to put them out.</p><p>He grew tired. He lost track of time. But he was winning. The fire around him was almost gone. And then--he ran out of water!</p><p>Was all his hard toil for nothing? All he needed was a bucket or two more! Oh, cruel twist of fate!</p><p>But wait! Bellinger remembered the barrel of apple cider in the cellar. He told his wife to draw some of the cider into buckets. And with this bit of liquid, the valiant policeman was able to extinguish the remaining flames, and save his home.</p><p>The Triumph of Policeman Bellinger became a part of Chicago folklore. It was even reprinted in school textbooks. On October 8, the anniversary of the fire, teachers would march their classes to the cottage on Hudson Avenue, and tell the story of how it had been saved by cider. Besides the Water Tower, this little frame house was the only building that had survived the disaster.</p><p>Then one day in 1915, a little old white-haired lady appeared at the door of 2121 North Hudson Avenue. It was Mrs. Bellinger, come back to visit the old homestead. She was invited in and looked around. Then she began to reminisce about the events of forty-four years before.</p><p>Yes, she said, her late husband had worked mightily to save the house. After the fire, they had sheltered 21 people in the tiny cottage. However, that cider business had been invented by some reporter with an over-active imagination.</p><p>"We did have a barrel of cider in the basement," Mrs. Bellinger declared. "But we didn't use it because we were able to get enough water from the dugout across the street."</p><p>That destroyed one myth. And more recently, historians have determined that at a couple of other wooden cottages on Cleveland Avenue also came through the fire. So the Bellinger house is not even unique as a survivor.</p><p>But it still makes a damn good story.</p></p> Tue, 19 Jul 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-07-19/cider-house-story-89141 Something You Should Eat (Cinco de Mayo edition): Guacamole from Adobo Grill http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-03/something-you-should-eat-cinco-de-mayo-edition-guacamole-adobo-grill- <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="281" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/23135685?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215" width="500"></iframe></p><p>It may seem like a tired trend, but while many new Mexican restaurants attempt to duplicate it, you have to hand it to <a href="http://www.adobogrill.com/">Adobo Grill </a>for being one of the first in town to make tableside guac a staple part of the experience, as much as a shaken-and-strained margarita. For Cinco de Mayo this week (one of the least important holidays on the calendar by the way; the <em>simchas torah</em> of Mexico), I thought it only appropriate to showcase something from the Mexican kitchen. There is only one Adobo left in Chicago now - the original, in Old Town (Yorktown and Bucktown have long since closed). There's another one in Indianapolis, and they still make it the same way: fresh serrano chiles, onions, garlic and salt, mashed in a lava <em>molcajete</em>, then the incredibly soft and creamy Mexican avocados I only wish I could find in my local grocery store, folded in and mashed with some tomatoes and fresh cilantro. They're going to have some special menus and live music in honor of Cinco de Mayo this week, so check the website or give them a call to make reservations. Buen Provecho!</p></p> Tue, 03 May 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-03/something-you-should-eat-cinco-de-mayo-edition-guacamole-adobo-grill- Revision Street: Joanna Ericson (VII) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vii <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="281" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-14/onlyarooster.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>(photo by TheeErin, via Flickr) </em></p><div>&nbsp;</div> <p><em>One last word from Joanna, in her own voice:</em></p><p><em> </em></p><p class="audioplayer_container">&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 19 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vii Revision Street: Joanna Ericson (VI) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vi <p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>Joanna lives in Old Town.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kymberlyanne/3261771553/sizes/m/in/photostream/"><img width="500" height="334" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/old-town-spice.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>The Spice House, Old Town (photo by Kymberly Janisch, via Flickr)</em><br /></a></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Old Town is hard because I like to escape to a place that was different from the society that I was in at work, and now I&rsquo;m still in that whole world. It feels kind of funny to be in such a financial and greedy environment all day long, and then feel like I&rsquo;m still there when I come home. I don&rsquo;t like that. I&rsquo;m not interested in that. It&rsquo;s not my intention to become a cajillionaire and work the system and find little nuances where I can make every dime and penny that I possibly can. That&rsquo;s not something that&rsquo;s interesting to me, but that sort of consumerism and greed seems pretty present in Old Town. On the other hand, it&rsquo;s beautiful and it&rsquo;s really pleasant. So I don&rsquo;t like that all of my neighbors are white and wealthy, but they make things look really pretty.</p><p>I got chicks in March. I have chickens now in my backyard. I&rsquo;m raising them for eggs. I got them as one-day-old chicks. In the mail. The postman called me and said, Are you home? I could hear the chicks chirping in the background. [<em>Laughs</em>.] It was hilarious. He was like, Are you home, I&rsquo;ve got this loud box of squawking chicks. He sounded like he had done that before.</p> <p>The perfect broiler is like three to six months old, right now they&rsquo;re four. I wanna see some eggs, and they haven&rsquo;t laid yet. They will lay for about four years and they will lay one egg a day, so I&rsquo;ll have 28 eggs a week. I&rsquo;ll be selling them for $3 a dozen [<em>laughs</em>]. A little income on the side. I have one that will lay green and blue and sometimes pink eggs. I&rsquo;ll have brown and colored eggs. I&rsquo;ve never slaughtered anything in my life. I have no idea how I&rsquo;m gonna do it [<em>laughs</em>] but I&rsquo;ll make it work. My boyfriend&rsquo;s convinced that he&rsquo;ll be called in to do it, but I will do it myself. I have named them. People say that you should not name them if you plan to kill them, but I named them chicken dishes purposefully so that they know their place: Tandoori, Paprikash, Tetrazzini and Pollo.</p> <p>I bought a pre-fab coop, and they have an indoor space that I sort of close them up in at night. There&rsquo;s an outdoor area that is all caged in, even on the bottom so that the city rats can&rsquo;t sneak in and kill them at night. They&rsquo;re delighted. I thought my neighbors would be a little bit uncomfortable with it, but there are dogs that are in there and there are people that are down in that patio quite often and the dogs don&rsquo;t bark at them, the people just kind of look at them as they&rsquo;re poking around. People will ask me, How are the chickens doing? But no one really seems to be bothered. The birds in the trees make more noise. So people have been really receptive to it. My boss grew up in Wisconsin and still has dreams about buying farmland. He has already volunteered to take care of them when I&rsquo;m on vacation.</p> <p>My mom always had a pretty big garden and she didn&rsquo;t grow up on a farm but all of her cousins did. She grew up in northern Minnesota, so it was all around her. My parents compost and were kind of hippies, so to me this feels like, This is how I was raised.</p> <p>The point of it all is, it&rsquo;s surprising to me that this big city is just a bunch of hicks. We really are. I have been absolutely stunned at how many people had chickens in their past. I&rsquo;ll say, Oh I have chickens. And they&rsquo;re like, Oh my family used to have chickens. Or, My aunt used to have chickens. We&rsquo;re all just a town of farmers is what it seems. Chicago is just kind of a bunch of hick farmers posing as city kids.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vi Revision Street: Joanna Ericson (V) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-v <p><p><em>Enthusiastic Joanna had been telling me <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-joanna-ericson-iii/33069" target="_blank">how she learned the hand signals used on the trading-room floor during a slow day at work</a>. Things have changed since they were &nbsp;the primary means of communication, however.</em></p> <p>It&rsquo;s almost tragic to go down to the floor of the exchange now, because even the guys that are standing in the pit have what look like Blackberries and are trading on their electronic terminals more than half the time, and then flashing only every now and again. So even now, they&rsquo;re still trading on their electronic platforms because that&rsquo;s where the liquidity is in the market. That&rsquo;s the number-one rule, you always go where the liquidity is.</p> <p><em>Do you see any connection between changes in food production you&rsquo;ve become interested in recently and the changes that are affecting your work place?</em><br /> <br /> Well both are about efficiency, right? So it makes sense&mdash;or actually, I don&rsquo;t know if it&rsquo;s entirely logical, but one can see that through modernization, both of those industries have become more and more efficient. I think for both industries, price point is <em>so</em> important that any efficiency matters greatly. So it makes sense that&mdash;I&rsquo;d never thought about that before&mdash;both industries are requiring fewer and fewer workers and that&rsquo;s creating a problem for everybody for both industries. Which is interesting, this sort of factory model that&rsquo;s being used in both of them.</p> <p>Part of why I like this job is because we have a 24-hour desk, so in the morning we have guys that are there that are working my European shift, that are trading for my clients during the European hours. I walk in, they hand me a stack of tickets of things that they&rsquo;re working or things that they traded overnight. I keep track of all of that. Then in the afternoon, by about one-thirty the Asian shift comes in and gets ready for their markets. So I get in at 6:30 and I leave at 4, and I pass my tickets to my Asian shift and then it&rsquo;s theirs and I&rsquo;m finished. They may call me every now and again to say, I don&rsquo;t know who this guys is, or, Who is this trader?, or, What is it that he really wants to trade? But for the most part, I&rsquo;m finished. This is one of the beauties of the market. On Friday afternoon, it&rsquo;s shut.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t expect that to stay for that way for very long. I think it will go to six days a week, because right now the S&amp;P for example trades over 23 hours a day, for 45 minutes total it&rsquo;s closed.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagogeek/4495033915/#/"><img width="375" height="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-14/st-michaels.jpg" alt="" title="" /></a> <code> </code> <br /><em>St. Michael's Church in Joanna's Old Town neighborhood (photo by ChicagoGeek via Flickr)</em> <br />&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: left;">I&rsquo;m finished at four, so emotionally, I have a lot of room for myself and my personal life. I have the time and can explore things, and when I&rsquo;m on vacation I&rsquo;m completely off. I don&rsquo;t read the news. I don&rsquo;t look at the markets. Usually I run away to Alaska where I don&rsquo;t have cell service for that very reason. Right now, I have a very busy personal life. I started culinary school seven weeks ago at night, so I&rsquo;m in culinary school two to three nights a week. Right now I&rsquo;m learning how to make sauces. The other day I did a b├ęchamel and we&rsquo;re gonna do Hollandaise on Monday. I have been involved in a community garden for the last two summers, but things have changed a little bit, so I&rsquo;m more actively gardening in my own house in my own space.</p></p> Mon, 16 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-v