Mom and Pop–Part Two

3300block

Earlier this week I wrote a post about the business district that ran through the Hollywood Park neighborhood on Chicago’s far north side, calling it a small town Main Street. I had no idea. It wasn’t a small town, it was practically a shtetl, an old world town with a large Jewish population.

3300_Bryn_Mawr

As it turns out, a lot of neighborhood kids were related to the owners of Bryn Mawr Avenue businesses. And if they weren’t relatives, the business owners had close ties to the neighborhood. As Julie Levin Freireich pointed out, we all knew someone who worked at or owned one of the shops on Bryn Mawr.

Harry Block was lucky enough to call the owners of the Hollywood Bowl “Aunt Helen” and “Uncle Joe.” Helen was his grandmother’s sister, but Harry still had to pay for his candy.  Harry’s first job was delivering presciptions for Irv Plotkin. “Pay was 10 cents per delivery plus tips!”

former_site_of_Sandler's_Drugstore

Site of Sandler’s Pharmacy

Harry set me straight about Irv’s Barber Shop–it wasn’t on Bryn Mawr after all. I should have remembered: Irv’s was around the corner on Kimball, next to Whirly’s, where I had lunch every Saturday. Harry also knew Hollywood Hardware Morrie’s (Maury?) last name: it was Munson, and Arnold Munson was in Harry’s class at Peterson.

The shop next to the florist at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Kimball wasn’t a Kosher butcher. It was the Hollywood Fisheries, owned by the Greene family. They had a daughter, Suzie Greene, in–you guessed it–Harry’s class at Peterson School. There was, Harry adds, another fish store, owned by the Zaretsky family just off Bryn Mawr on Kedzie.

Zaretsky’s shop was next to Lerner’s Hot Dogs, where, once again, Harry had a classmate, Jay, and I also had a classmate, Mark. Next to Lerner’s was Lazaar’s, which was a Kosher butcher, or more accurately a meat processing plant. My mother got our salami and hot dogs there. Even my Zeide, my grandfather, in Pennsylvania, got his salami and hot dogs there. He lived in a small town outside Johnstown, where there wasn’t a Kosher butcher.  Twice a year we brought salami and several pounds of frozen Lazaar’s hot dogs to western Pennsylvania.

Former_site_of_Plotkins

Plotkin’s Drugs was located on the corner of Bryn Mawr and Christiana

Arlene Silverman Andresen, whose cousin Debbie was one of my earliest friends at Peterson, possibly had more relatives connected to Bryn Mawr Avenue businesses than anyone. “The Plotkin Pharmacy was owned by my Aunt Bea and Uncle Irv,” Arlene told me.  “They owned the building and lived in a house which was attached to the pharmacy. Sometimes I would help out behind the counter. I also had another uncle who owned Milt and Morrie Shell on the corner of Bryn Mawr and Kedzie. That seemed to be the neighborhood hang out! My mom ran Irene’s dress shop for years. Another one of my aunts ran Factor Shoes.”

Kimball_and_bryn_mawr

Schaeffer’s Flowers on the corner

My former classmate Lenny Low reminded me about Doris and Sam’s newstand at the corner Kimball and Bryn Mawr. You couldn’t miss Doris–the outfits! the hats! the sunglasses!

Lenny told me that at Irv’s (and Bob’s) barber shop they would put a muscle-man body under your picture. He also remembers K Brothers Grocery Store, Marty’s Slot Car Racing, a tailor shop, the great burgers from Morrie’s, the best beef and kishkes from Al’s Butcher Shop, and Levin’s TV Repair.

This is how another grade school friend, Steve Dubow, remembers it:

“On the north side of the street from Spaulding to Christiana, there was the Grocerland, Victor David Men’s Store, Factor’s Shoes, Irene’s Dress Shop, Klein’s Jewelry (later moved across the street), Hamilton’s Card Shop, Jewel, Melin Cleaners (my sister worked there), Ben’s Fruit Stand and Lerner’s Bakery. Other stores on the street that come to mind were a Dutch Mill candy store, Fan’s Fishery (where we bought our lox and smokefish), Hollywood Fisheries and most important, the Raceway, where we raced our slot cars. There was also a small storefront Chicago Public Library on the corner of Sawyer across from the Laundromat.”

tongsteagarden

Bill Tong is another Peterson alum and son of a family-owned Bryn Avenue business, Tong’s Tea Garden. Actually, his family had two Bryn Mawr Avenue businesses, as Bill explained to me: “Probably the oldest business on Bryn Mawr still operating under the original name is Biltmore Cleaners. My dad told me it had been there since the 1940s. He first came to the neighborhood in 1947 to operate The Lee (predecessor to Tong’s Tea Garden.)”

Certified_grocery

Bill identified more business owners: Frank was the owner of Whirly’s, the Dong family owned the Chinese hand laundry, and Morrie Gershowitz owned the Certified.

Merle Citrin Monroe recalls:

“a school supply store named Hamilton’s and a beauty shop between Christiana and Kimball, near the Hollywood Bowl. I ate my first pizza at the Tower of Pizza. Factor’s was the shoe store with one of those floroscopes for your feet. Don’t forget the tavern (anyone remember the name?), Lichtman’s Bakery and Bernie’s Jewelers, which also sold those fountain pens we needed for learning cursive. There was a magic trick store just north of Bryn Mawr on Kimball and a children’s clothing store east of Spaulding. The mom of one of my classmates worked there for years.”

 

Bryn_Mawr_laundromat

Several people remember a Chicago Public Library branch at Sawyer and Bryn Mawr. I don’t. But Marshall Kravitz told me the Albany Park branch opened in 1962, the year after my family moved into Hollywood Park, so that may explain why I never went to Bryn Mawr branch.

Bill Tong and Julie Levin Freireich gave me the history behind Bon-Shar women’s clothing store: (Bon)nie and (Shar)on Sadowsky, both Peterson School classmates, were daughters of the store’s owners.  Julie also told me her cousins are the Zaretsky family who owned the fish store on Kedzie.

And who knew the snack shop on Kimball and Bryn Mawr was a DeMar’s before it was C.V’s? Correction: DeMar’s opened on the southeast corner of Peterson and Kimball in 1960 or 1961. Previously it was a restaurant called Green Gables. For a while it was Rancho Luna, a Cuban restaurant where my father ate a lot.  Now it’s Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Thank you to all the contributors for sharing your memories. They add up to a historical record of a specific place at a specific time, but for several generations Mom-and-Pop shops were integral parts of many Chicago neighborhoods. In fact, you might even say they were the neighborhood.

You’ll find more photos under the Photos tab of this blog. If you think of something we missed, add it to the Comments.

Photo credits: (1) 1935 photo of Bryn Mawr, Chicago: Growth Of A Metropolis, Harold Meyer and Richard Wade, p. 345. (2) Night photo of the corner of Bryn Mawr and Spaulding, courtesy of  The Point and Shootist. (3) Tong’s Tea Garden photo, courtesy of Bill Tong. All other photos by Frances Archer.

Sources: For those of you who can’t get enough, Bill Tong created a great historical resource for a Peterson School class reunion.

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84 Responses to Mom and Pop–Part Two

  1. jennifer March 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    Frances, another winner! I loved reading this — kind of like Mayberry meets Bryn Mawr and Hollywood! Have you read “Crossing California” by Adam Langer? I think you would like it a lot.

  2. Sheila Linderman March 10, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    This is so great! What terrific memories you’ve stirred (although I still can’t remember what I had for lunch today). Here are some additions:
    1. There was another women’s clothing store–Al Slae–first located on the south side of the street, then on the north side, just east of Kimball.
    2. The Birnbaums owned Factor’s Shoes. It’s where I got all of my shoes.
    3. Bernie Klein (of the jewelry store) was close with my dad up until he died (my dad, that is). He moved to Vegas. He had a daughter named Taffy, and they lived on Jersey.
    4. Joe and Helen sold the Hollywood Bowl to Jessie and Joe (I think that was his name) Shear. These were Kevin Bernstein’s aunt and uncle.
    5. The deli on the corner of Bryn Mawr and Spaulding was the Hollywood, owned by the Baumgartens. I enjoyed many a corned beef sandwich there.
    6. There was a kosher butcher accross the street–Lipman’s–where we got all of our meat. My mother insisted upon inviting Mr. Lipman to my brother’s wedding. We still laugh about that (he wasn’t invited to mine).
    7. And, who could forget the hobby shop next to Mr. Lipman’s? They had everything! My brother used to build model airplanes that were often on display there. I think that may have been the first place he worked (before he was a fountain boy at Zfaney’s).

    Now, here’s a question for y’all: there was a fine dining restaurant way east (almost at Jersey) on the north side of the street. We used to eat there in the early 60’s. Does anyone remember that place, and if so, the name?

  3. Bonnie McGrath March 10, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    frances, i enjoyed this so much!! you should write a screenplay about this strip!! what a story some of the stories going on inside the stores would make… a real period piece…. and the info. so reminded me of elaine’s book, division street princess!!

  4. frances728 March 11, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Sheila, what a great list. Thanks for adding this. The Hollywood deli was wonderful. I remember eating lunch there in eighth grade once in a while and seeing Peterson School teachers. Was Mr. Lipman’s butcher shop the same as Al’s. It must have been. And I will asked my mother about the restaurant. I don’t remember it all.

  5. frances728 March 11, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    Jennifer, thanks for reading. I loved Crossing California. It’s about the neighborhood just to the northeast of Hollywood Park, so there was some overlap. Langer wrote about a period ten years later than I am covering, but his experiences were so similar.

  6. frances728 March 11, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    Bonnie, thanks for your comments. As I was writing I felt like I was channeling Elaine’s story and putting it into a different time period.

  7. Dave March 11, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I think that you have done a wonderful job of bringing back the story of a”forgotten gem”. The history of Jewish life from the 1930s through the 70s along Lawrence and Devon Aves has been well documented by the likes of Irving Cutler, Neal Samors, and Adam Langer. However, few were familiar with the marvelous history of Bryn Mawr.

  8. frances728 March 11, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Dave, everyone always talked about Albany Park and Rogers Park, but we were left out. Perhaps because we were a smaller, more concentrated neighborhood, we formed stronger bonds with our local businesses. The fact that we were somewhat isolated from surrounding neighborhoods–by the college and the cemeteries and the sanitarium on the west side, by the channel on the east and Lincoln Village on the north–may have also fostered a stronger sense of community. One of my friends told me he spent the first 18 years of his life on Kimball Avenue: his family lived on Kimball, he went to Peterson elementary school on Kimball and he went to Von Steuben High School on Kimball.

  9. thepointandshootist March 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    Thanks for the links to my sites, you are the best. Really enjoyed this trip in the wayback machine.

  10. Mark Lerner March 14, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Francis nice story. I have a couple of additions for you. Next to Biltmore Cleaners was Elliot and Cramin Paints and besides Whirleys and of course Lerners there was Bobo’s hotdogs, and if memory serves me right by Peterson and Jersey behind McDonalds was a pool called Tower Cabana. The present drug store on bryn mawr and kedzie {Arcadia} is owned by the grandson of the greek we all got cigarettes from, I think the last name was Haralampopulos George and Sophie. That was the best corner to catch grasshoppers. There was also another newsstand on the corner where the deli was. Don’t forget the Bryn Mawr Tap next to Sandlers pharmacy. There was another barbershop called Vince’s across the street from the deli. A Texaco station on bryn mawr and bernard. It’s amazing that in that small stretch from kimball to kedzie there were so many duplicate businesses but everyone made a living.

  11. frances728 March 15, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    Thanks, Mark, this really solves a few mysteries about the names of some of the businesses. I couldn’t remember that the other gas station was a Texaco and in one of the earlier comments Danny Miller mentioned bringing notes to “the Greek” for his mother’s cigarettes. Does anyone remember what was on the lot on Kimball before it was Les-on Drugs?

    I really appreciate knowing about Arcadia, as I may try to learn a little more about all the businesses that existed back then. There used to be two empy lots on Peterson at St. Louis, where there now are office buildings, and I’d go there to catch grasshoppers and fireflies.

  12. Danny March 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Oh my God, this is too good, so many of those places came back to me the second I read their names, even if I haven’t thought of them in over 40 years! One thing I don’t think anyone mentioned–wasn’t there a Judaica store on Bryn Mawr at some point? I’m not surprised by Sheila LInderman’s amazing memory–and she moved away before anyone else! That old photo is amazing. Just tell me one more time which shop in that old photo became the Hollywood Bowl: was it the meat market, the fruit store, or Dutch Mill? Thanks for writing these posts, they are very fun to read!

  13. Danny March 15, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    Oh, and to answer your last question, Frances, I want to say that a gas station used to stand on the Les-On lot, but I could be wrong. I do remember that we called Les-On “the new store” a full 20 years after it was built! What’s Les-On now? And next to it–wasn’t that one of the first 7-11 stores in Chicago?

  14. frances728 March 15, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Danny, that’s what I thought about the Les-on lot, too, but was wondering if I was having a false memory. That would mean three gas stations in the stretch from Kedzie to Bernard, and there used to be three at the Peterson and Kimball intersection as well.
    The black and white photo from the thirties wasn’t the block with the Hollywood Bowl, but a block east. So north side of the street, between Kedzie and Spaulding, closer to the Shell station than to Kimball. There was a Judaica store on Lawrence just east of Kimball–could that be what you’re thinking of? I know what you mean about the images popping up as you read the words. The same thing happened when Mark mentioned the paint store. I could visualize the lettering on the sign as though I had seen it yesterday.

  15. bill April 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    Great post. I was similarly obsessed with the ethnographic history of Chicago neighborhoods and small businesses, in my case primarily the stores along Broadway between Diversey on the south and Cornelia on the north, which was pretty much the extent of my universe growing up. The Busy Bee hamburger joint. Ricky’s – From A Snack to A Meal. The Evergreen market. The “Gyp Joint” as the candy store across from Nettlehorst was affectionately known. Al’s hamburgers. The Wishing Well. Hanover’s. The Drum gift shop. Ideal candies. So many I can picture but can’t remember. Gyros on the Spit, or Spit on the Gyros as we called it. I’d love a map, or a photographic record, circa 1965.

  16. frances728 April 5, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    Since my father’s office was at Clark and Roscoe I knew some of the places you mentioned. Ideal Candies and the Drum were great places. I also remember the original Ann Sather’s on Belmont, the Japanese Star market next door to my father’s office. I read in an old book that Chicago developed with so many of these decentralized retail areas throughout the city, there’s enough retail space to accommodate a city of 80 million people. Check out historicaerials dot com. You don’t get a street view but in some locations you can figure out the individual storefronts.

  17. Mordy August 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Does anybody remember there was a newsstand on the corner of Spaulding and Bryn Mawr, that was owned by a little old Jewish man named Leo.

  18. Frances Archer August 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    I remember the stand but didn’t remember his name. Thanks for the info. I’ll add it to the Bryn Mawr hall of fame page.

  19. Alan Spector August 16, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    I also remember the gas station where Les-on and the 7-11 stores were. My memory is telling me it was a Sinclair gas station. I remember the big green dinosaur with it’s long neck as it’s symbol.

  20. Frances Archer August 17, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    Alan, I remembered there was a gas station there but couldn’t think what it was. And I remembered that the gas station on Bernard and Bryn Mawr was a Texaco, and then there was a Shell at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr on the northwest corner. I think it was a Standard/Amoco on the southeast corner–I’ll have to check with the Lerners to see if they remember. But if that’s right, then within four blocks we had four gas stations.

  21. Deb August 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    A few doors down from the Hollywood Bowl was Dance Arts Studio, run by Miss Carol (Carol Stecker). She was a role model and friend to many, many girls and a few boys. My sister and I have been friends with Carol all these years. I am sad to say she passed away this week.

  22. Frances Archer August 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    I am truly saddened to hear of Miss Carol’s passing. Please let her daughters know their mother is well remembered all these years later. We were so lucky to have her in the neighborhood. I started at age six when the studio was on Peterson and continued through eighth grade.

  23. Deb August 22, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Hi, Frances. Is Archer your maiden or married name? My sister, Roberta, also started when the studio was on Peterson; did you know her?

  24. Sue-Ellen August 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    I just got off the phone with Roberta and searched around until I found this. Miss Carol will be missed. She was such a strong presence in my life. I lived around the corner on Kimball, first 2 flat after the alley. I loved seeing the familiar places and so many memories (even though I only lived there until 2nd grade at Peterson School. I remember Helen & Joe and visited every Saturday I was at the Dance studio on and off until about the 9th grade even though we no longer lived there. Thanks for the information and memories.

  25. Frances Archer August 29, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Thanks, Sue-Ellen, for sharing your memories. We’re all thinking about the impact Miss Carol made on our lives.

  26. Laura Sampson Epstein August 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Thanks Frances. This sure takes me down memory lane. There was also a Schwinn bicycle shop on the north side of Bryn Mawr just east of Sawyer. I got my first bike there. I do remember the paper stand on Kimball and Bryn Mawr but I don’t know the man’s name who ran it.

  27. Frances Archer August 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi, Laura. It was Lex’s bike shop. And remember the woman at the newsstand always wore bright clothes, sunglasses. Her name was Doris.

  28. Bill T. September 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    I remember the Sinclair gas station across the street from our restaurant, Tong’s Tea Garden, which remodeled in 1970 and had a grand opening of the dining room on March 15, 1970. There was a small Pie Pantry that was open for only about a year (1972), located in between the 7-11 and Les-On Drugs. When the Pie Pantry closed, Les-On Drugs knocked out the wall and added the former Pie Pantry space. Tong’s Tea Garden was located between two college book stores, Beck’s to the east of us, and Follett’s to the west. Around 1974, Follett’s moved its operations into the campus of Northeastern Illinois University, and the vacated store became a sporting goods store. Beck’s took over the book store operations from Follett’s around 1988, when it closed its Bryn Mawr Avenue store. Caren Realty was located across the street, operated by Jean Caren and her son (she represented me and my wife, and she found our house in Skokie in 1997), Irv’s barber shop operated until April 1984, when Irv Olsen passed away at age 74. There was a second barber shop located on the west side of Kimball, south of Bryn Mawr, in the same building as CV’s Snack Shop. I don’t remember the name, because my Dad didn’t get along with the owner, and I never got a haircut there; we always went to Irv’s.

  29. Frances Archer September 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Bill, thanks adding to the historical record. If you have any more photos of Tong’s Tea Garden in addition to the one I’ve already posted of the exterior, email them to me and I will post them.

    Anyone remember the name of the barbershop in the CV’s building?

  30. David S. Criz September 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Living first in a bungalow at 5334 Bernard and then in a 2-flat in the 5700 block of the same street from 1941 through 1960 here are my business additions to the best of my recollection. Brynwood Restaurant owned by Bill Kaplan (daughter Judy in my class). Feder’s Grocery (both East of Spaulding on N side of Bryn Mawr), Charlotte & Harry Robbin’s Dance Studio, Mr Butler’s Grocery (both West of Hollywood Bowl but East of Greene’s Fishery, Hollywood Smart Shop a dress store my mother was constantly visiting east of the supermarket pictured in the story, a fruit and vegetable stand storefront (I can picture the owners but their name escapes me) east of the Hollywood Bowl next to the Chinese place I remember to be Lee’s Chop Suey.

  31. Frances Archer September 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Thanks, David, you’ve solved more than a few mysteries. Brynwood Restaurant must be the place someone wrote about in an earlier comment. She remembered a nice restaurant on that end of Bryn Mawr. And Miss Carol’s Dance Arts Studio must have taken over the space that was Charlotte & Harry’s Dance Studio. Miss Carol’s studio had been on Peterson Avenue in 1963 when we moved in, and sometime soon after that she moved to Bryn Mawr. Lee’s Chop Suey was run by the man who eventually owned Tong’s Tea Garden, and his son Bill Tong has given much of this information to me. Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about: when did the McDonald’s open? Several people have mentioned that it might of been one of the earliest ones. From what I can tell on old aerial photographs, it was there in 1962.

  32. Bob Criz September 14, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    There was a restaurant called “Tanya’s” which I believe was on the NE corner of Spaulding & Bryn Mawr. Good Burgers!! Regarding MacDonald’s, i’m guessing it was opened in ’58 0r ’59. I remember we were there at the Park every day on our bikes and would ask them every day while it was being built when they were going to open.

    What about Tower Cabana…the swim and ice skating club behind MacDonald’s?

  33. Frances Archer September 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Thanks for the info about McDonald’s. If it opened before 1960, it probably was one of the earliest. About the Tower Cabana, I’ve been wanting to write about that but haven’t found much information. It was still open when we moved into the neighborhood but I was never there. Seems like it would make an interesting story for a number of reasons.

  34. renee chernoff October 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    what a great trip down childhood memory lane. The Texaco station was owned by Mr. Esposito who always did all our repair work. In fact, he got me my first car, a used Triumph Spitfire. He was really nice to my mom, my sister and me. Our cousin’s father owned a real estate office somewhere in the vicinity of Bryn Mawr and Kedzie. His name was Krolick. Everything you did, you did on Bryn Mawr…no need for shopping malls or Wal-Marts.

  35. Frances Archer October 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi, Renee, and thanks for the info. Then name Esposito really rings a bell. There was a small building on a diagonal on the northeast corner of Bryn Mawr and Kedzie that was Hollywood Realty, at one point owned by Max Michnick and Paul Ackerman. A granddaughter of Max Michnick gave me the information, but she had no dates for the business, so if it’s the same business, your cousin’s father may have owned it before or after.

  36. Stuart Linderman January 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Wow! What a shlep down memory lane! My sister posted a bunch of specifics above (her memory is better as she is MUCH younger than I) but I still have something to add.

    In the early 60s there were three drug stores on Bryn Mawr. Sandler’s, Plotkin’s, and, Gil’s, which was located on the south side of the street just west of Kimball. The CVs building on the SW corner (which also housed Beck’s Bookstore) was built in the early 60s just to the east of Gil’s.

    There was also a very small grocery/newsstand just north of Bryn Mawr on the west side of Jersey in the late 50s. A very odd little hut where we used to buy milk. I have no recollection, however, of a name.

    Some isolated memories kicking around, unattached: The rock garden in Hollywood Park. The lack of curbs on Central Park. The big lot before Chicago Teacher’s College was built. BICYCLE PARADISE!!!!!!!!!!!! (gone by the mid-60s). And I remember Max telling me and all the other patrol-boys about how sex worked. It took me another 8 years to find out he was (more or less) correct. And while we’re at it, does anyone remember the yell, made faint only by distance, “come on innnnnnnnnn”?

  37. Stuart Linderman January 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    The land on both sides of the canal, from Bryn Mawr north to Peterson was basically a dump with a lot of bicycle trails. We all referred to it as “Bicycle Paradise”. It got cleaned-up around 1965 or so. On the west side of the canal, the two blocks south of Thorndale were really, really seedy.

  38. Frances Archer January 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    Welcome, Stuart. Good to hear from you. Except for an empty lot or two on Peterson near St. Louis, Hollywood Park was fully built out in my childhood–I’m year older than Sheila. I didn’t realize how new some parts of the area were, or how old other parts were. Like Peterson School, for example. I just recently learned that milk used to be delivered along the alleys–by horse drawn wagon. More soon.

  39. Frances Archer January 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    About the lack of curbs on Central Park: we lived on that street. I have a copy of a letter my mother wrote to the Cook County assessor protesting the assessment due to the lack of curbs. For some reason, it really bugged her.

  40. Stuart Linderman January 26, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    In the Peterson School grounds in the 50s and early 60s there was a wooden toboggan next to and perpendicular to Kimball. Sporting goods were stored in the locked bottom section. I remember Mr Kaz (the gym teacher) hading out stuff in the late 50s when I was a student at Peterson. As the toboggan (painted a dismal green with white trim) deteriorated and required maintenance, it finally succumbed to liability and budget issues and was torn down. In those days the ground was covered with pea gravel and sliding into a base (more often than not delineated by a flattened Clincher box was reserved for the really dedicated. As I recall there were two baseball backstops, a “good” one along Christiana adjacent to the school and a cheaper one parallel to the toboggan. Alonf the northern edge if the playground were swings (kiddie swings on the Davis Cleaners side), a merry-go-round in the NW corner, and there was a Maypole sort of gizmo with rope and wooden hand-swings on the Christiana side. And parallel bars and a high-bar.

    And at EVERY recess there was a mad dash to play “pinners”. The Hollywood Bowl ran a land-office business in “pinky” balls which were the ball-of-choice. They were hollow and pretty live. And PINK. The solid rubber foam balls were the choice for “fast-pitch”, where a batter squared-off against a pitcher using a painted square on the building to mark the strike zone, most often the boiler out-building, since it had mesh protected windows. Also used was the northern section of the school wall that faces Kimball. Fast-pitch was more of an after-school game since bats were frowned upon during school. And anyway, with pinners you could play with four or even six guys. See if anybody remembers “rushing”. (a feature of pinners).

    Frankly, I have no idea what the girls were doing during recess.

  41. Stuart Linderman January 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    If you’re ready for an amazing ride, go to this website http://www.historicaerials.com/

    Locate an aerial view of, say, Peterson School. Use the click options at the bottom to zoom down. THEN, click COMPARE at the top, select ‘SLIDE’ and you should see a red tab appear. Drag the red tab left and right and the overhead shot will move between the YEARS you’ve chosen. UNREAL!! You can, for example, swipe between 1952 and 1972 and watch how the area changed.

    There are aerial views of the Hollywood Park area for 1938, 1951,52, 62, 72, 88, 98, 2002, 2005, and 2007. Watch Tower Cabana appear and disappear. Watch all of Peterson Park rise from nothing.

  42. Frances Archer January 27, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Thanks, I have seen this. very cool.

  43. John Erickson March 2, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Stuart speaking of the land along the canal reminds me that the “clay hills” south of Bryn Mawr were fine biking trails but from Bryn Mawr to Peterson it was all thick underbrush in the 30s with the only structure a tar paper shack just north of Thorndale where a man we kids spoke of as the “hermit” lived his solitary life. We kept our distance. The Texaco station at Bernard was “Handy and Teddy’s”. What was the name of that small enclave west of Crawford (Pulaski) and north of Bryn Mawr? In the 30s the kids from there were bused to Peterson School – a unique service at the time.

  44. Frances Archer March 2, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    John, I’ve got the answer about the neighborhood west of Pulaski. I don’t recall ever hearing that name before I read the article though.

  45. Moshe March 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    I can’t remember the library on Bryn Maur. I remember when they built the new branch on Kimball corner Foster Avenue. Diagonally across the street was Zfanney’s. He made the best pop in the world.

  46. Frances Archer March 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Thanks for visiting. You remember so much. My second bicycle was from Lex; not the first, because we lived in Budlong Woods when I got my first one. And, yes, Zfaney’s was famous for its soda fountain. Next door was the Varde photography studio, and one of the owner’s daughters was my classmate. And the ‘new’ Albany Park library was built in 1962 or ’63. The alderman recently announced that she plans to replace it.

  47. Emily Hill Chardell March 15, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    I remember Bernie’s Jewelers! He and his wife worked there. I used to go there with my father to pick out gifts for my mother! I remember trying on a ring when I was a little girl and the wife saying to me, “you can’t wear a ring on your left hand – you have to save that for when you get engaged and married!” I also remember Biltmore Cleaners. I went to Miss Charlotte and Mr. Robbin’s dance classes for years – my parents knew them well. I also went to a piano teacher who taught at her apartment on Christiana. Does anyone remember when there used to be a hill in the park? I remember that someone fell down the hill and was badly hurt, so they leveled it. Also, my cousin worked at the McDonald’s part-time. It was the original architectural design – you ordered from the window and either took the food to go or sat on the white benches outside on either side of the building.

  48. len March 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Tower Cabana was membership only for swimming but open to the public for ice skating-no hockey. Near Biltmore Cleaners was a Bar B Q restaurant-not sure of name. In the 60’s there was Kimball Barbershop right across from P. school on B’Mawr. I am pretty sure a bet or two was placed in the “Greeks” on Kedzie and Bryn Mawr.

  49. Frances Archer March 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    You’ve solved a couple mysteries. Couldn’t recall the name of the barbershop. That’s hysterical about Nick. That’s also where kids got cigarettes and the occasional Playboy, so I’ve heard. Thanks for stopping by.

  50. len March 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Now you have me thinking. Has anyone mentioned that there was some sort of Army facility on the channel right behind Lerners & Lazars. Also, the B’Mawr bridge was barely wide enough for 1 car each way until the very late 60’s. Good stuff.

  51. len March 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Jack the kosher butcher was usually joined by wife Shirley (Shoylee as Jack pronounced it). He was quite a talker/philosopher and when she would try to get a word in he woud softly say, “Shoylee, please, I’m convoysing.”

  52. Frances Archer March 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Yes, there were guys in uniform around. Somewhere in my notes … I’ve got the branch of service.

  53. Frances Archer March 16, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    So funny. Did you see my note that I met his son recently?

  54. len March 17, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I did see that-never met any children back in the day.

  55. Anita Brook Dupree March 18, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    I worked at Tong’s Tea Garden on Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago when I attended Northeastern Illinois University in 1973-74. I was the only non Chinese and non family member to work there. Another college friend of mine eventually worked there too. My employment there was delightful. Mr. Tong and his family were always very nice to me, and working there, not knowing Chinese was actually very exciting. I loved watching Mr. Tong cook the orders, and I learned a lot about cooking, Chinese food, family and culture during my time there. To this day, I think about my experience working there quite fondly!

  56. Irving April 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    I also remember that there was another barber shop on Bryn Mawr where my father took me to get haircuts. Both the barbers, whose names I forget, had numbers tattooed on their arms, as there were a number of Holocaust survivors that lived in the area, including my parents.

    I loved the fries at Tong’s Tea Garden, which must have been cooked in peanut oil or sesame oil, as they had a really unusual and great flavor :)

  57. Frances Archer April 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Irving, thanks for visiting. You’ve brought up an aspect of our neighborhood history and my own education that I haven’t mentioned here yet. Although my mother had many aunts, uncles and cousins from Rosochacz, Poland, who died in the camps, I first learned of the Holocaust from friends at Peterson School.

    They explained to me the significance of the usually hidden tattoos, told me whom of our classmates’ parents were survivors. It wasn’t until I was older, maybe around sixth grade, that my family began talking to me about the Holocaust and religious teachers taught me the history.

    It seems there were quite a few barbers on Bryn Mawr!

  58. Eva Field Schweig May 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Tong’s & Lerner’s, I LOVED them both. Lerner’s was closer as we lived between the garage and the synagogue on Kedzie, later to become Jersey. I never got that.

  59. Frances Archer May 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Eva, it’s still called Jersey and I think the people who live there have difficulty getting UPS packages.

  60. Steve White May 20, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Don’t forget Red’s Barber Shop on the south side of Bryn Mawr just west of Sawyer, a few doors down from the library. It was called Red’s, but Red was gone even before I started going there in about 1956. Two of the barbers I remember were Mike and Marv – and my flattops never seemed to look as good as the one in the picture.

    The “odd little hut” just north of Bryn Mawr on the west side of Jersey was Jay’s Milk Station, which I guess you could call a forerunner of the “convenience store”. It was about the size of a large closet.

    The previously mentioned restaurant near Jersey on the north side of Bryn Mawr, I think was called The Hickory Pit, although I’m not sure it would be called “fine dining” today.

  61. Mindy White May 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Steven, isn’t that the place we always called “the little store”? I don’t think I knew it had an actual name!

  62. Steve White May 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Yeah, I forgot about that. It actually did have a name, but “the little store” was appropriate.

  63. Howard Sims July 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    When I was only 15, my mom got me a “work permit” and I promptly got a job as Sandler’s Pharmancy…as a “soda jerk,” a clerk, a cashier, and a delivery boy…kind of a jack of all trades. Harry Sandler and Norm Rieger operated the store…I think I made 50 cents an hour. After Sandler’s, I worked at Milt & Morrie’s Shell on the corner of Kedzie & Bryn Mawr. They were great guys. How many of you know that Milt & Morrie opened the Shell station on Old Orchard Road, just adjacent to the mall…its still there, and still operated as a Shell station.

  64. Frances Archer July 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    Howard, you’ve got so many details here for the “Bryn Mawr Hall of Fame.” All this is going in. Sounds like Sandler’s paid more than Plotkin’s. Harry Block claims he only made 10 cents a delivery, thought I’m not sure what years he worked for Plotkins. Arlene Silverman Andresen uncle was one of the owners of Milt and Morries — she left a comment on an earlier post, and mentioned the Shell was a neighborhood hangout. Thanks again!

  65. Nelson Komaiko July 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    First of all, thank you for all of the wonderful memories, Frances!!

    There was a small Chicago Public Library on the southwest corner of Bryn Mawr and Sawyer before the Albany Park branch library opened at Foster and Kimball. I used to go there when I was in Peterson School. (I went to Peterson from 1956 to 1960…we moved to Hollywood Park from Palmer Square when I was in 3rd grade). In 1960 Peterson only went through 6th grade…all of the students from Peterson and from Hibbard, in Albany Park, as well as some of the students from Solomon (it was voluntary for them) in Peterson Park, went to Von for 7th and 8th grade. We all remained at Von for high school, except for the Hibbard students that lived south of Lawrence, and the few Von elementary graduates who decided to go to Lane Tech (Jerry Fell from my class did this, I don’t remember if anyone else did). I worked at the Albany Park branch library as an after school job from the time I was 15 (got a permit to do this) until I graduated in January, 1966. I was what was called a “page”, and no, you didn’t get promoted to be a “chapter” A page in the library was the person who straightened out the shelves of books and magazines, and re-shelved the returned books, as well as those left on tables and desks.

    There was a butcher shop (kosher) on the south side of Bryn Mawr between Christiana and Spaulding run by a man named Max Lipman. My mother always bought her meat there. Mr. Lipman was an uncle of one of my classmates at Peterson and Von, Marty Leibman (he’s one of the partners that owns the White Sox now).

    Before that Certified grocery store was on Bryn Mawr, it was a National Tea grocery store…they were another nationwide chain that had been in the Chicago area.

    The meat packing company on Kedzie was Lazars (no double A). My mother used to work on Sundays as a cashier there…I think it was really more to get her out of the house, she couldn’t have earned a HUGE fortune working those 4 hours.

    I haven’t noticed anything on your articles about the place on the southwest corner of Bryn Mawr and Kedzie that we called “The Greek’s”. It was a very run down looking liquor store, that reputably functioned as a place that one could bet on horses too. It was owned by the father of a fellow in the class after mine at Peterson and at Von, Harry Harris…his real name was something like Haralampopulus (so for some strange reason he went by Harris )

  66. Nelson Komaiko July 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    The barber shop that Irving was talking about that had the two barbers that were Holocaust survivors was on Kimball a couple doors south of Bryn Mawr. I used to go to them to get my hair cut.

  67. Frances Archer July 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Nelson, good to hear from you. You’ve filled in a lot of blanks. 1) I heard about the library but didn’t know which corner 2) Did you know that when Solomon opened it was called a branch of Peterson School, and later became an independent school? Peterson was always overcrowded. They had branches all over the neighborhood at different times. One of the large eighth-grade classes in the 1940s was 108 kids. 3) What school did you go to when you lived in Palmer Square? Did you ever come across anyone at Peterson or in the neighborhod that you knew from Palmer Square? Or do you remember if your parents mentioned people who they knew from the older neighborhood? (One of the things I’ve been following is the connections between the West Side and Hollywood Park) 4) I’ll have to look up who gave me info on LIpman’s butcher shop, but I was told it was owned by Sidney Lipman and that his son Alan Lipman went to Peterson. Once I figure out who sent me that information, I’ll have an idea what years that was. It may have been before Max? Or Max and Sidney were brothers? 5) Did not know that about Leibman. 6) I didn’t have the whole story on Nick. I knew he had the newstand but not that there was building there, and not that his son went to Peterson. You are right about the last name, Haralampopoulos and I learned from Mark Lerner that his grandchildren own the drug store that stands on the site today. I’ve been meaning to stop in there one of these days to see if they have any photos. The betting story has been passed down. Also where kids got cigarettes and Playboy magazines. 7) did you see my piece on Lazar’s? Thanks again.

  68. Frances Archer July 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Do you remember their names?

  69. Howard Sims September 10, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Love the photo of Sandler’s Pharmacy…I worked there, as a “soda jerk” and a “delivery boy” for two years, from 1959 to 1960. Also, thanks for posting the photo and my comments about my club, The Regular Fellas…I just forwarded it to my Regular Fellas mailing list…that will get some fun comment, for sure.

    Howard Sims

  70. Frances Archer September 10, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks for sending your photo to me and sharing the blog. Did you see the comment from Jared Sorkin about his father? I am constantly amazed about how many job opportunities for young kids were available in the neighborhood. It seems like everyone had an after school job. There were still part-time jobs available in my day, but not as many.

  71. linda sowers November 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    There was a bar on Bryn Mawr next to Sandlers, I think it was called Hanks. He had a germen shepard named Duke and also sold packaged goods in front. My mother was a regular customer and my dad would go to Henrys on Kedzie.

  72. Frances Archer November 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Hi, Linda. Thanks for visiting. I’ll add Hank’s to the Bryn Mawr Hall of Fame page.

  73. linda sowers November 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I remember the library on Sawyer, in fact we got our polio vaccines there. I think they were sugar cubes then.

  74. Frances Archer November 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Linda, when I was at Peterson, at least in first and second grade, they gave us the sugar cubes at school. The library on Sawyer closed the year they opened Albany Park library –’62, I believe.

  75. Howard Perlman January 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    My friend Larry Dubin was lucky enough to live right above Plotkins! We lived on Christiana with my granparents. Lots of families lived together in the 2 flats. What a great childhood!

  76. Frances Archer January 31, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by, Howard. It was a memorable place for a child to grow up.

  77. David S Criz August 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    My recollection of the small branch library is that it was on the southeast corner (not sw corner) of Bryn Mawr and Sawyer during the years I was at Peterson and Von (1946-1959). Wouldn’t the Chicago Public Library be able to verify that for us? I was in there many times. Also the small Judaica store where I got my books and other supplies was on the east side of Spaulding south of Bryn Mawr next to the alley I think.

  78. Eric November 13, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Stuart (Post 1/26/2011):

    Your remarks about “Fast Pitch” interest me. I’m a ’79 alum (Petersen) and fast pitch was alive and thriving in the 70’s. The 80’s I recall, not so much. I’m curious to learn if was your generation inventing my favorite childhood pastime? I played fast pitch every moment I could and would play 3 games a day in the late 70’s (summers). Petersen was my favorite location, along with the parking lot at Shaare Tikvah. I was in my early teens then and was always attracted to the lots with fences to hit it over for home runs. These two locations were ideal. Hollywood Park Field House building had served it’s purpose in my younger days.
    Our favorite location at Petersen was the school wall facing Bryn Mawr just to the right of the north entrance into the school (facing south). I hated playing against the boiler building facing north as it took what seemed like 5 minutes to shag every hit ball all the way to the fence at Bryn Mawr. I can remember rattling many balls off the big picture windows of Plumpers Deli directly across the street but never a broken window. Dave Kingman of the Cubs inspired most of us then.. Thank you for the insight!

  79. Frances Archer November 13, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Actually, the guy who mentioned fast pitch grew up in Albany Park in the ’40s, so the game was around before my generation.

  80. Richard Cohen November 20, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    Hi to all,

    I was just rereading this thread and can answer a few of the questions brought up:
    Dave, I worked at the Bryn Mawr Sub-Branch Library (of the Chicago Public Library) during the Summer of 1959. It was located on the South West corner of Bryn Mawr and Sawyer. One of the head librarians at the time was Miss. Garlovsky. I was hired as a Page– the person who shelved returned books. Our memories sometimes play tricks on us, as mine has.

    The pink balls used for Pinners were called “Spaldings,” the super live balls usually bought at the Bowl (they carried every type of ball, including hand balls, both sizes of softballs, the hard white rubber balls we used for fast ball pitching in the 1950s-60’s, etc. Eric, it is nice to know that fast ball pitching has continued for so long off the same wall! The Bowl was truly the center of kid life for the area!

  81. Frances Archer November 21, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Richard, when I discovered the photograph of the facade of the Hollywood Bowl, which I posted on this website here http://francesarcher.com/2012/08/what-made-hollywood-park-so-sweet/ and here http://francesarcher.com/2012/08/inside-the-hollywood-bowl-1968/, I felt as though my mission of recalling the history of my neighborhood was complete. I’ve learned many fascinating details about Hollywood Park through this blog, but in many ways, the Hollywood Bowl encompasses the best of memories for not just me and my generation of school kids, but earlier generations as well. You are right to say it was the center of kid life for the area.

  82. Richard Cohen November 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Frances,

    I was recently searching for a picture of the Bowl, as I remembered you had it on your blog somewhere, so was very happy you included the pics in your post– the inside photo is something I thought I would never see. In the ’50s, there were two gumball machines just outside the front door (if you got the baseball colored gumball you got a free candy bar of your choice).

    I fully agree with you! More than anything else, my memories of the Bowl exemplify and remind me most of the happy times of my childhood in Hollywood Park– no doubt the reason I was searching for that photo.

    With your blog, you’ve kept alive an era and place preserved in the memories of everyone whose lives passed that unique way.

    Now if you can only start a blog on Havana Cuba in the ’50s :) .

  83. Frances Archer November 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Did you see it — I just posted the link in my previous reply.

  84. Richard Cohen November 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Yep! I shared the two photos with my classmates who grew up in the area with me.

    Thanks again.

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