40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!


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40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: GrowingRetro (12.130.117.---)
Date: April 27, 2010 04:08PM

Hi. I'm new to Forgotten Chicago but thought you might be interested in this subject... I've been doing research/speaking on WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens over the winter/spring and I'm quite enamored of the topic. Found out that an empty lot in my hood (peterson/campbell) was once part of an original WW2 VG.

I have been working with my Alderman (O'Connor - 40th) and the property owners for permission to start a community vegetable garden there. We kicked it off yesterday! If you're interested in learning more www.petersongarden.org or we are on FB at Peterson Garden or Twitter @GrowingRetro

We are doing a drive to find vegetable gardeners who want to take part in this revival garden for the 2010 season. Know anyone?

Another cool thing... in my searching I found some suggested seed lists from the 1940's. I did research to find out which varieties are still available... about 67% are still around but I wouldn't say readily available. Anyway, I bought the ones I could find and we'll be growing them in the Peterson Garden! I like to think of it as "history re-eating itself"...

You can read more about WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens on my "other" blog - www.theyarden.com or listen to the story on Chicago Public Radio http://ht.ly/1DMyO

Not trying to be too self promoting here but I LOVE the topic... I'm an avid gardener and my husband and I joke that now I'm not only obsessed with our own garden but with garden's that don't even exist anymore!

LMK if you're interested in gardening in our retro VG or if you have any other questions on Chicago Victory Gardens. If YOU had any pix you could share, that would really rock. I've had a hard time finding any. I talked to a very sweet 92 year old lady about that fact and she said "Honey, nobody had cameras." That was my duh moment (for that day).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2010 06:42PM by GrowingRetro.

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Re: WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: daveg (130.36.62.---)
Date: April 27, 2010 04:23PM

I saw a picture of a VG in the newly published book on the Lawndale-Crawford community. It was created by the folks at Home Run Inn at 4254 W 31st street.

The author of the above book hangs out here and may chime in. I will gladly yield to him.

Good luck.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2010 10:44PM by daveg.

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Re: WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: jclillig (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: April 27, 2010 06:39PM

There are some remnants of Victory Gardens throughout the city, usually flagpoles, plaques, star-shaped ornaments, or cement planters set into the sidewalk. Right now I can think of one in Bridgeport, maybe 29th street near Canal, and another at the intersection of Barry and Leavitt on the north side. I know that I have seen others, but I can't recall specifically where right now.

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Re: WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Richard Stachowski (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: April 27, 2010 08:06PM

daveg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I saw a picture of a VG in the newly published
> book on the Lawndale-Crawford community. It was
> created by the folks at Home Run Inn on 4254 W
> 31st street.
>
> The author of the above book hangs out here and
> may chime in. I will gladly yield to him.
>
> Good luck. That's just west of Crawford Bible Church on keeler. Is there a marker there? We used to grow victory gardens durring that time but I didn't know why we did it. I was only like 6 on 7 years old at the time on 50th and May street.

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Re: WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: daveg (---.lightspeed.joltil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: April 27, 2010 10:35PM

Richard Stachowski Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> daveg Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I saw a picture of a VG in the newly published
> > book on the Lawndale-Crawford community. It
> was
> > created by the folks at Home Run Inn on 4254 W
> > 31st street.
> >
> > The author of the above book hangs out here and
> > may chime in. I will gladly yield to him.
> >
> > Good luck.

> That's just west of Crawford Bible
> Church on keeler. Is there a marker there? We
> used to grow victory gardens durring that time but
> I didn't know why we did it. I was only like 6 on
> 7 years old at the time on 50th and May street.

The picture of the VG at Home Run Inn is on page 85 of the book. With all the changes in HRI over the years, my guess is that the garden is long gone. It looked to be fairly elaborate.

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Berwyn Frank (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: April 27, 2010 11:13PM

Growingretro. In my book I have a page where I focus on two WWII victory gardens. The first image is of Home Run Inn Tavern's victory garden on 31st & Kildare in Little Village. The old tavern building is LONG gone and there would be absolutely no remnants of this garden.



The second image came from a woman who is like my surrogate grandmother here in Berwyn. This image is not that good because I was focusing on her father who was presiding over a victory garden ceremony on the corner of 28th & Kenneth in Little Village. There was a photo I had of just the garden itself but I gave it back to her without scanning it for some reason. I will try to get it. You still can see some of the garden in this photo.

Here is the caption from my book where I talk about the gardens.

"The war effort was enormous during World War Two. Just about every person pitched in doing one thing or the other. Factories were converted to manufacture items needed to fight the war. Many blocks in Lawndale-Crawford had "victory gardens," typically located on corners, where encased signs were posted with the names of block residents that were serving in the armed forces. These encased signs also indicated whether soldiers were killed or injured. Woman of the block would decorate the victory gardens with flowers in patriotic themes. Above is a victory garden ceremony being presided over by Joseph Peca (see page 48) on Twenty-eighth Street and Kenneth Avenue. Below is Home Run Inn Tavern's victory garden provided by the Grittani family on Thirty-first Street and Kildare. (Courtesy of Doris Peca Remp and Joe Perrino.)"



Here is one that is very special to me. This is my childhood home in Berwyn where my parents still reside after 34 years. By some amazing twist of fate, I ran into the niece of the woman that my parents bought the home from in 1976. Their family lived in the home from the early 1940s till 1976. She had an album of photo's of my house in the 1940s that she let me copy. The home is on a double lot with the empty side being on the corner. Here is the victory garden that was once assembled in my backyard.



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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: WayOutWardell (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: April 28, 2010 10:58AM

Fantastic photos!

There was a small VG at the intersection of Diversey and Marshfield and given that a lot of that neighborhood has been condo-ized, I figured it would be gone too. Glad to say that if you Google Streetview that intersection and look north from Marshfield, you can see red, white and blue bricks laid in a V.

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: shekaago (---.49.171.244.swcp.com)
Date: April 30, 2010 09:35PM

Thanks to everyone for posting so much info here. I've learned so much from this site! Welcome and thank you for starting the post, GrowingRetro. Great old photos, BFrank! And WOW, thanks so much for pointing out the red, white and blue V on Diversey and Marshfield. I will try to take a walk by there next week.

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Artista (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: May 02, 2010 10:08AM

hi Growing' ! Fantastic is all i can say. Ill have to drive on out. Im glad that you had been so earnest in seeing this come to fruition (no pun intended) Im surprised there arent more VGs in Chicago.

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Artista (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: May 02, 2010 10:21AM

Diversey and Marshfield is one GREAT intersection WayOut' The historic architecture within a T intersection is beautiful and of course the VG lot..WoW

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Berwyn Frank (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 02, 2010 09:16PM

I was looking through my old image file and I DID scan the victory garden image from 28th & Kenneth I mention above. I just forgot where I put it. Here it is.



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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Artista (---.ual.com)
Date: May 02, 2010 09:21PM

Very very cool Frank thanks What is the exact location of that site and from what angle is the pic taken? just curious



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2010 01:19PM by Artista.

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: davey7 (---.dsl.chcgil.ameritech.net)
Date: May 05, 2010 06:05PM

Wouldn't most victory gardens have been in peoples yards (such as the side yard example above)? Chicago didn't have that many vacant lots available then for gardening.

After urban renewal in Hyde Park, a few lots took many years to redevelop and were used for about 15 years as community gardens.

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: GrowingRetro (---.pools.spcsdns.net)
Date: May 13, 2010 08:20PM

Hi everyone!

THANK YOU for the great comments and photos! I am in awe!

To answer the question about VGs being in lawns... they were EVERYWHERE!

Here's some stats from 1943:
- 53,095 REGISTERED family gardens
- 14,062 children’s gardens
- 39,469,647 sq ft (908 acres)
- 55,000 lbs of produce
- Plus there were an additional 100,000 "unregistered" gardens...

The Chicago plan for Victory Gardens organization was so successful that after the 1942 growing season the powers that be in DC sent it out to all major urban areas in the US as a role model and blueprint! It's amazing!


[hr]

We've gotten great response to the retro Victory Garden on Peterson and Campbell!

We're doing a fundraiser May 20 RETRO style to help raise funds and have a good time! Swing music, bake sale, 1940's costume contest! We're hoping to make history again as Chicagoans go back to the soil to grow their own food.

If you join us for the fundraiser be sure to say hi! I'll most likely be the one in the Rosie the Riveter outfit unless I decide to dress up...

THANK AGAIN for all the great pictures and comments. The next step after we get the garden built is to do an oral history project (video really) of people who remember Victory Gardens! Send an email to [email protected] if you want to participate or know someone who should...

To learn more about the garden: [url=http://www.petersongarden.org]CLICK HERE[/url] (new website!)
To get a ticket for May 20: [url=http://www.petersongarden.eventbrite.com]CLICK HERE[/url]

You are all fabulous!

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Re: 40th Ward WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens... AGAIN!
Posted by: Berwyn Frank (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 13, 2010 09:22PM

Artista, I am sorry that I did not see your post. The garden on 28th & Kenneth (the pictures of the man and the last one I posted) was located on the SW corner of 28th & Kenneth Ave. in Little Village. Here is a google maps view of it today. The two buildings on the end were built after the war.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=2800+s+kenneth+chicago&sll=41.808628,-87.665037&sspn=0.006989,0.01649&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=2800+S+Kenneth+Ave,+Chicago,+Cook,+Illinois+60623&ll=41.840449,-87.735325&spn=0,0.01649&z=17&layer=c&cbll=41.840444,-87.735441&panoid=Hi57anpZ0YqG5lz6OXs-lw&cbp=12,219.51,,0,1.6

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