Designated Landmarks

When we think of landmarks, we usually think of historically significant buildings. But in The Image of the City urban planner Kevin Lynch broadly defines landmark to include physical objects, stores, signs, buildings, rivers–anything that stands out in a landscape. Landmarks, he says, help us know a place well enough to picture it in our minds and form a memory of it.

By Lynch’s definition of landmark, the Hollywood Park of my childhood was a very knowable place. There was no shortage of visually strong landmarks. When I asked ten former Hollywood Park residents to name the neighborhood landmarks, everyone listed at least three landmarks and nearly everyone listed the same ones.

nighborhood_map

This same group of people came up with seven different versions of the boundaries of Hollywood Park. You’d think a neighborhood that disagreed on its own borders would have had problems seeing itself as a community. But in Hollywood Park, an abundance of distinctive landmarks, particularly ones associated with shared experiences, compensated for the weak borders.

In other words, seen from the outside Hollywood Park may not have looked like a distinct neighborhood, but from the inside … we knew.

Here’s how ten former residents remember Hollywood Park:

  • “1. Peterson School, 2. Hollywood Park, 3. the McDonald’s (one of the first ever, I believe), 4. the ‘commercial district’ of Bryn Mawr, 5. Northeastern University (‘the Teachers College’ as we called it), 6. Shaare Tikvah synagogue”
  • “1. The Park, 2. the stores on Bryn Mawr, 3. Teacher’s College”

Shaare_Tikvah

Congregation Shaare Tikvah B'nai Zion, 5800 N. Kimball

  • “1. McDonalds, 2. Peterson School, 3. CV’s restaurant, 4. Bryn Mawr Ave.”
  • “1. Hollywood Park, 2. the McDonalds on Peterson and Kedzie, 3. Northeastern Ill. University, 4. the TB Sanitarium”

Hollywood_Park_McDonald's

Hollywood Park McDonald's, Peterson and Jersey

  • “1. Hollywood Park, 2. Peterson School, 3.  Congregation Shaare Tikvah (where ‘everybody’ seemed to ‘congregrate’ for the Jewish Holidays), 4. certain fabulous houses, e.g., The Krausses at Christiana and Ardmore, 5. the Bryn Mawr Avenue shopping strip”
  • “1. Loree’s Snack Shop, 2. Hollywood Park, 3. Kiddieland w/ miniature golf, 4. Community department store [aka Shopper’s World, Zayre and now Home Depot].”

  • “1. The Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium (of course) and later Peterson Park, 2. Northeastern Illinois University, 3. Hollywood Park (the Park District Park itself), 4. the Bryn Mawr shopping district (because it gave it that neighborhood shopping feel), 5. the Peterson Ave. shopping/office district (because it gave it that urban city feel), 6. Peterson School, 7. Shaare Tikvah (definitely the stained glass windows!).  And, I guess, 8.  the McDonalds on Peterson, too, because it has been there for so long.  (My Dad said he remembered when the sign said something like ‘One thousand hamburgers served.’)”

Peterson_Elementary_School

  • “1. The Park, 2. MacDonalds, 3. Peterson School, 4. the big white house on the corner of Kimball and Ardmore, 5. Zfaneys, 6. The Pit, 7. Bryn Mawr Ave., 8. Shaare Tikvah”
  • “1. Lincoln Village: I bet I can name all of the stores….and 2) the Fishery on Lincoln and Kimball”
  • “1) Peterson School and 2) Hollywood Park-the two places I spent most of my time. I would also call the 3) TB Sanitarium and 4)  the Hollywood Bowl landmarks.”

Northeastern

Northeastern Illinois University, originally Chicago Teachers College-North

  • “1. Peterson School, 2. Northeastern Illinois University (and its predecessor Chicago Teachers College North), 3. Hollywood Park itself, 4. River Park (and its extension north of Bryn Mawr, officially known as Park #274, when I was a kid – read it on the map), and 5. the whole strip of mom & pop businesses along Bryn Mawr Avenue between Bernard and Kedzie.  And, of course, 6. Hollywood Kiddieland, located just north of Lincoln Village.”
  • “1. The public library and 2. Peterson, 3. Von, 4. Northeastern, and 5. Shaare Tikvah (our synagogue) come to mind as landmarks.”

Hollywood_Park_fieldhouse

Hollywood Park fieldhouse

Note: In the early 1900s, Hollywood Park was one of Chicago’s largest remaining undeveloped parcels of land, making it an ideal, out-of-the-way location for several large public institutions.

The Chicago Parental School (1900-1973), the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium (1915-1974), and the Northeastern/Chicago Teachers College-North (1961-present) were seen as landmarks of the neighborhood, though they also were separate, unrelated communities.

Credits: Thanks to Frederick J. Nachman for use of the photograph of Shaare Tikvah and to Jennifer Stix for the use of the photograph of the TB Sanitarium gate.

Related Posts: This is the third in a series of posts about the image of a Chicago neighborhood in memory. Part One is an introduction and Part Two covers the boundaries of the neighborhood. The series was inspired by my reading of Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City.

If you’d like to see what businesses made up the Bryn Mawr Ave. business district of Hollywood Park, check out my list.

I also have a series of posts on the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium.

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13 Responses to Designated Landmarks

  1. Ron Birtman September 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    You must be sampling the young crowd. What McDonalds? (prairie) What Northeastern? (Chicago parental school/ victory gardens). What Peterson Park? (TB Sanitarium)

    My landmarks? Hollywood Park (football field), Kedzie Field SE corner of Kedzie and Bryn mawr (football field), the powerhouse at Central Park and Bryn Mawr (football field) and the TB Sanitarium (football field if you could climb the fence).

  2. Frances Archer September 10, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    WOW! By my day, basketball must have replaced football as the sport of choice among Hollywood Park boys. Do you by any chance recall what year the McDonald’s came in. Sometime in the early sixties, I guess. Thanks for filling in some major gaps here.

  3. ron September 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    No, of course it was basketball then, too. But I didn’t think that the tree/hoop/backboard at Hollywood and St. Louis qualified as a landmark.

    Can’t help with the McDonalds. I was pre-Mac …not now, of course.

  4. Richard Jacobson September 29, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Here’s a question to any and all former H.P. residents. First some introductory info:
    Before they built the McDonalds, there was ANOTHER hamburger place on the lot right next door, as I recall. We used to go there for hamburgers, on Peterson just east of Kedzie, I believe. It seems to me that, when they started to build the McDonalds, they early on put up that sign that said “Over 10,000,000 Hamburgers Sold”. We hadn’t heard of McDonalds at the time, and I remember my dad laughing, “How could they have sold that many hamburgers when they haven’t even opened yet?”
    My question is, what was the name of the earlier hamburger place? It was a drive-in, I think. I remember the hamburgers were better than McDs, but McDs fries were clearly better. Was there even such a place? Or is this a product of my 4-5 yr old imagination? It must have been true–I’m sure the number was ten million or fifty million, something ridiculously lower than the signs today.

  5. Richard Jacobson September 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Can I start another landmark thread? About landmarks along the Kennedy driving downtown? The Magikist lips? “Lamps of distinction?” Morton Salt?

  6. Frances Archer September 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Richard, nice to hear from you. I’ve sent your question to some HP experts, and we’ll see what they come up with. I recall seeing the sign with 5 million burgers sold, and then it quickly jumping to 10 million with nothing in between–that’s what got my attention. But I’m not positive about the 5 million–it could have started at 10 million. From what others have said, we’re thinking the McDonald’s went up in ’58 or ’59 so it would have been one of the earliest, maybe in the first 100 stores. So I guess it’s possible they sold millions by the time the one on Peterson opened.

    There was a private swim club called Tower Cabana next to McDonald’s but I think that may have opened after McDonald’s. I’ve been trying to get more information on the club but haven’t yet. Anyone who knows about it contact me. I did find something about it closing due to bankruptcy.

    There’s a site called HistoricAerials.com. If you type in 3200 West Peterson, Chicago, IL an aerial shot will come up and you can view the same spot at different years ranging from 1938 to 2007. The site is down for maintenance tonight but you could check it out another time. I’ll be in touch if I learn anything new.

  7. Richard Jacobson September 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    My landmarks trend south and east of your respondents. I regard everything they listed as a landmark, of course (I never spent any time in Hollywood Park though–too far north.) North Park College campus, as you know, and then east on Foster to the North Park football field, where my sister was a cheerleader and my brother-in-law to be played football for the Academy; over the river past River Park, where I had my first very traumatic swimming lesson; then to Swedish Covenant Hospital where I was born, where my mom worked as a nurse, and where my grandfather stayed in the “Old People’s Home” for several happy and peaceful years. Much farther and I should start writing an Andersenville blog!

  8. Frances Archer September 30, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    One of my earliest memories of landmarks along the Kennedy is of the many churches visible from the highway, especially the one by Division.

  9. Frances Archer September 30, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Richard, someone asked if you might be remembering a place on the corner of Peterson and Kimball rather than next to McDonald’s. At the time you were talking about there was a place called Green Gables on the southeast corner of the intersection and apparently they had very good burgers.

  10. renee chernoff October 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Not really a landmark but the toboggan sled structure on the grounds of Peterson School, the big green thing that had a door in the back where the guy that manned it stored the sports equipment. My mom started school at Chicago Teachers College North soon after it opened to become a teacher and my sister and I used to go to meet her there for lunch in their cafeteria and hob-nob with the college set. We also had a charge account at CV’s Snack Shop where we could go for lunch during school…just signed the checks and my mom would come in at the end of the week to settle the bill. Also Hollywood Park had an ice skating rink near the fieldhouse during the winter months. I also remember Lincoln Village and the Wieboldts store,,,I think there was a water tower with their name on it…and Kiddieland behind Lincoln Village…who could forget that? We used to get ribs at Sherri’s on Bryn Mawr north of Kimball owned by the Friedman family. Sheryl was in my class, her cousin Sandy was in my sister’s class. Just about everything in that neighbourhood could be considered a landmark…

  11. Frances Archer October 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Renee, my mother taught at the Chicago Teachers College starting in 1961 and she was one of the student teacher supervisors, so she knew many of students who became teachers. Thanks for giving me the information on the Friedman family, I’ll add it to the page about Bryn Mawr businesses.

  12. Gary Zaid October 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Great Blog!

    My favorite landmarks are:

    1. Shaare Tikvah B’nai Zion, especially the beautiful stained glass windows.
    2. Martino’s ( their pizza and minestrone soup are some of the best in Chicago.)
    Located on the SW corner or Bernard and Peterson. Was previously a deli.
    3. Peterson School’s toboggon slides (removed many years ago)
    4. Hollywood Park field house. The park previously had a large pond that was filled in.
    5. Crane’s Pharmacy, was at NW corner of Bernard and Peterson.
    6. and of course the Hollywood Bowl ( ummm candy)

    Shaare Tikvah Bnai Zion was sold this month to a jewish school. I attended high holiday services in September with my parents who have been residents of Hollywood Park for over 50 years.

    Your Peterson Alum,

    Gary Zaid

    (BTW I saw the class picture that Juli posted)

  13. Frances Archer October 24, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    Hi, Gary, it’s been ages. Thanks for sending your list of landmarks. I’m going to include them in an update eventually. So, you knew about the pond. I thought it was gone before we were born. It’s one of the topics I’ll be covering. I wondered how much longer Shaare Tikvah would last, but glad to hear they found a buyer. That’s my classroom photo, and if you look for me on Facebook under Frances O’Cherony Archer, you can see the rest. Thanks for stopping by.

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