Please see the last post on the previous page to see the beginning of this story.
Ok, so since this is Berwyn Frank that you are dealing with here you could probably guess that the story doesn't end there. Before my visit I was contacted by a representative of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago and they mentioned to me that the people of Greater St. Paul A.M.E. church found some "old Czech items" in the attic of the building during roof repairs and they would like for me to help identify them. Of course that piqued my interest! During my visit I was able to look at a treasure trove of items that miraculously survived in the attic having gone unnoticed for the past 75-80 years. To make a long story short I was able to make a generous donation to the church and take home some of these forgotten Czech treasures from the attic of the John Hus Memorial Building. This was a once in a life time opportunity. How many times have you wondered if there were undiscovered treasures still sitting in a historic building from its past? This is one of those stories. If someone had told me "I bet that there are some old items sitting in any one of the several Czech buildings in Chicago," I would have said no way. Not after the current owners have been there for almost 50 years. Well I guess I would have been wrong. Here are some of the amazing items that now reside in my collection of items from the Czech neighborhoods of Chicago.
AMAZING framed photo of an "Honor Roll" of Chicago Bohemians serving in I believe WWll. These men were members of the Czechoslovak Society of America Lodge řád Rovnost čís 53 or translated: Order of Equality lodge number 53.
In closing I would like to thank Mr. Charles Leeks and his staff as well as the great people of the Greater St. Paul A.M.E. church for this wonderful experience. The congregation really needs money for repairs to this historic structure and I can only hope that they find the funding they need to keep this building going long into the future.
I have tears in my eyes. How wonderful that the building is still so well maintained, that the items survived all these years and that you are now their caretaker.
Thanks so much for posting this!
The address on the clock, 3817 W. 26th in your last post on page 5 of this thread reminded me of a hobby shop that was close to the Leber Jeweler store.
The name of the hobby shop -- Linka's. It was on the north side of 26th and close to the Atlantic (as we called it) show.
My brother and I took many a trip there back in the 50s. I remember it being small but it was packed with stuff.
There was another hobby shop on 22nd close to Marshall Blvd (North Lawndale?), that has been mentioned on this forum. I forgot the name, but it had a "hand" in the window that when covered with your hand, caused an electric train to start on its circular journey. Remove your hand, train stopped. Our parents had to pull us away from that window.
Thanks again for all your great posts here and sorry this strayed off topic.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/21/2011 04:30PM by daveg.
Congrats on finding such a wonderful treasure it could not have fell in better hands! It's a wonderful feeling to find something from the past in such good condition. thank you for sharing it with us. and thanks to the people of Greater St. Paul A.M.E. church. The building is beautiful!
Here is a page from a postcard booklet on the neighborhoods of Czechoslovak Chicago and vicinity put out in 1925 by Chicago Bohemian photographer E.F. Macha from my collection. This page highlights "Merigold" in North Lawndale which is interesting because by 1925 North Lawndale was the largest Jewish neighborhood in the city of Chicago. Merigold still had a significant population of Czechs at that time. For some reason Macha also includes a Czech business on that page which was located on Madison St. in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.
The building on this page which really fascinates me is Sokol Tabor which was located at 1300 S. Karlov. The organization started in 1890 and this building was constructed in 1902. Here is a caption from my book on South Lawndale where I describe what Sokol is.
"One of the Czech traditions brought to Lawndale-Crawford by the Bohemians was Sokol, which means "falcon" in English. Sokol was a fraternal organization started in Bohemia in 1862 to promote physical fitness and Czech nationalism. The Czech's philosophy was to possess a sound mind one must have a sound body. Lawndale-Crawford would have two Sokol halls, Sokol Chicago and Sokol Havliček-Tyrš."
Sokol Halls would also typically house other Czech organizations such as clubs, fraternal organizations, etc. This particular Sokol hall, Sokol Tabor, was also headquarters to a lodge of National American Unionists as well as home to a saloon run by Florian Holek.
Here is a rare image of the building after a fire broke out in the frame structure in 1915. The building was badly damaged and all of the organizations records and history were lost. Another Sokol organization called Slovanske Lipy, from DeKoven and Canal Sts., had just merged with Sokol Tabor and was the oldest in Chicago going back to 1868. They had records, photos, and history from the 1860s onward, concerning the first Czechs in Chicago which was all lost in the fire.
The postcard booklet described above was put out in 1925. By 1927 the building was razed and a 1925 era brick apartment building was erected in its place which was typical in North Lawndale during that time period.
In 1926 Sokol Tabor was looking to move west where many of its members now resided. They contacted Sokol Oak Park which was actually located on 16th St. in Berwyn. Sokol Tabor merged with Sokol Oak Park in their new two year old building and kept the name Sokol Tabor. [url=http://www.sokoltabor.org/]Sokol Tabor[/url] still survives till this day in Berwyn.
Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2011 04:35AM by Berwyn Frank.
> Frank - WOW (again)
> The address on the clock, 3817 W. 26th in your
> last post on page 5 of this thread reminded me of
> a hobby shop that was close to the Leber Jeweler
> The name of the hobby shop -- Linka's. It was on
> the north side of 26th and close to the Atlantic
> (as we called it) show.
> My brother and I took many a trip there back in
> the 50s. I remember it being small but it was
> packed with stuff.
> There was another hobby shop on 22nd close to
> Marshall Blvd (North Lawndale?), that has been
> mentioned on this forum. I forgot the name, but
> it had a "hand" in the window that when covered
> with your hand, caused an electric train to start
> on its circular journey. Remove your hand, train
> stopped. Our parents had to pull us away from
> that window.
> Thanks again for all your great posts here and
> sorry this stayed off topic.
Dave I am sorry I did not respond to this comment.
Linka's......man oh man. If I got a buck for every time someone asked me why I did not include Linka's in my book about [url=http://www.amazon.com/Chicagos-Little-Village-Lawndale-Crawford-America/dp/0738577375/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303399356&sr=8-1]Chicago's Little Village Lawndale-Crawford[/url]....... Linka's seems to be legendary to people in your generation and older. They were a sporting goods/hobby/stationary shop. Memories for many there, that's for sure. The other hobby shop you mention on 22nd near Marshall Blvd., that area was Little Village, or known by the locals there as Marshall Square. I think the poster B.A. Hoarder spent some time at that shop. They had the "magic hand" that made the train move right?
That clock in my post on the previous page is sure cool huh? It probably dates from the 1930s or early 1940s. Here is an add from Leber's Jewelry Store from 1926.
You're right Frank, the shop with the "hand" painted on the window was in Marshall Square. Just like daveg my Dad had to pull me away from that window; for a five year old there was something magical about being able to operate the train that way.BTW, further west on 22nd was Krametbauer (sp) Shoe Store, that place was fun too. They had the x-ray machine that showed how well those new kicks fit your feet. Naturally we played on the darn thing, Mom not knowing at the time that we were being exposed to radiation. My feet hurt just thinking about it now.
Another historic North Lawndale building may be lost. The former Beth Jacob Anshe Kroz Jewish synagouge at 15th & Drake burned this past weekend. I don't know if the congregation will have the money to rebuild.
Penn, William (1644-1718) William Penn was born in England. Much to the distress of his father, he converted to Quakerism at age twenty-two. Suffering persecution in his native England for his beliefs, Penn traveled across the Atlantic and founded the Province of Pennsylvania, which is now the U.S. State of Pennsylvania. The principles Penn established for the government of this new province would later heavily influence the Founding Fathers of the United States as they wrote the U.S. Constitution.
This next one is kind of neat. I scanned this 1908 image from the grandson of the man pictured below. Charles C. Shotola was a Chicago Bohemian who opened up a meat and grocery market at 799, current address: 1556 S. St. Louis in North Lawndale. By the 1920s they moved to Cermak Rd. in Cicero where the shop operated until the 1970s or 1980s. The family still owns the building on Cermak and runs a company manufacturing dumplings out of it today.
So when I was looking at the photo I said to myself, man that building he is standing in front of looks awfully familiar. Well after thinking about it for a few more minutes I remembered where it was and that I have a vintage image of it in my collection!
The Pillinger Apartments are still located at the N.E. corner of 15th & Central Park, a block away from the original location of the Shotola market on 16th & St. Louis! You can see the spot right where he was standing is on the left side of the rounded turet. Pretty cool......
Nice pics Frank, on your post of the school you said the building "still stands in amazing original condition". But it looks like it has several additions, the apt. building looks more original. Not to argue, just a observation. ;)
222psm, the building does have a couple of additions but they are VERY old and blend in with the rest of the building perfectly. The google maps view is very poor quality, this building needs to be seen in person to really appreciate it.
Berwyn Frank Wrote:
> Thanks guys.
> 222psm, the building does have a couple of
> additions but they are VERY old and blend in with
> the rest of the building perfectly. The google
> maps view is very poor quality, this building
> needs to be seen in person to really appreciate
Don't get me wrong, I think they did a great job blending the additions in. They look great, I guess I'm just a purist. CPS did a addition to my old elementary school and it just does not look right. You can definitely tell, not so with Penn. If I had not seen you original pic and just saw the school today I'd probably never would have guessed that it had been added on.
Hi BerwynFrank, first of all Thank you for this great treasure of information! I am happy to report that the "nonoperational" fountain at 1950 S. Avers once again is Operational! I took a video with my phone yesterday while riding around the city on my motorcycle. I happened to hear about this area from a friend of yours i met at Sokol Tabor since we are taking the Czech class together, "Teddy". Well, every weekend for the last month, I've been all over 1200 S - 2200 S & 3200 W - 4400 W (As well as other more "modern" Czech areas near Berwyn). If you need any help, I'd love to lend a hand, as I'm very comfortable in that area and went out and talked to a neighbor while I was there last time. Thanks again for all the history & pictures!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2011 06:15PM by kaimln.
Hello Kaimln, yes I am aware that the fountian is now operational again. I took Teddy and his future wife on a tour of Czech Chicago. We spent a couple of hours and didn't even scratch the surface of sites to see! Teddy and Misa took fantastic photos of some of the sites (one of the fountian as it was working), and I was goiong to post them here but the size is to large to add to my photo hosting account.
You should spend some time in the area of 2200-3200 S. and 4500-2400 W. That is the area now known as Little Village formerly Lawndale-Crawford or Czech California to the Czechs. You could use my book as a guide!
I will definitely have to! My Mexican grandmother still lives off 23rd & California, and I spent my weekends as a child (late, late 80s/90s) at my cousin's apartment building on 21st & California. I never paid attention to history was before my eyes then, so I'm sure your book will steer me in the right direction. Thanks again!