This was Deborah

Deborah_Boys_Club

The first time I visited the Deborah Boys Club in Albany Park, it was the late 1960s and I was in seventh grade. I didn’t think much of the building. It’s not that it had seen better days, but I was more interested in watching what was going on inside: several boys from my class at Peterson School were playing a game of basketball.

Looking into the history of the Deborah Boys Club, or Deborah as we called the community center, I came across a stunning early photograph. For more than 40 years I’ve been passing this building, now home to the Albany Park Community Center.  How did I not see, not admire, those sharp, clean lines and angles jutting outwards from the corner of Kimball and Ainslie?

I wanted an expert’s opinion. Is this the real thing? Is it as pretty as I think it is? For answers, I turned to Lee Bey, who writes about Chicago architecture on his WBEZ blog and talks about it on Fox News Chicago. Lee agreed:

“It’s a beaut! It’s a modernist building clearly influenced by the Bauhaus, particularly the work of Walter Gropius. The material and form remind me a lot of the Masters’ Houses, designed by Gropius at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany.”

I found the photograph on the website of Epstein, the firm, then known as A. Epstein and Sons, that in 1949 designed and built the Deborah Boys Club. The same firm that designed and built many, many, many of the world’s notable buildings. And the Deborah Boys Club in  Albany Park. There’s a story here, but I don’t know it.

The Old Deborah

Funded and operated by the Deborah’s Women Club together with the Young Men’s Jewish Council (later renamed the Jewish Council for Youth Services), the Deborah Boys Club first opened its doors in 1930 at 2441 W. Division with the goal of keeping boys off the streets and out of trouble by offering recreational and educational activities. Although the founders were Jewish social service agencies, the club was nondenominational.

Ron Shapiro grew up in an apartment above his father’s Division Street grocery store during the 1940s, a block away from the Deborah Boys Club. He knew it well.

I spent so many hours there that the manager gave me a set of keys to the gym in case he wasn’t there when a bunch of us from the neighborhood would show up early. I had the keys to the locker that held all of the equipment. I started going to Deborah when I was about 8 or 9 and continued until they moved north.

 

The New Deborah

In the 1940s Jewish families were migrating north from the West and Near West Side neighborhoods. Businesses and institutions followed in their wake. The new Deborah Boys Club at 3401 Ainslie included space for arts and crafts, radio and electricity, photography, wood shop, photography, a gymnasium, showers, lockers, library, kitchen, dramatics and glee club. At first the club was open to boys from 8 to 18; girls were admitted in 1954. By 1956, the club was serving 1,600 kids annually.

Carol Solomon Proesel, who attended Peterson Elementary School and graduated from Von Steuben High School in the late ’60s, says Deborah was a very integral part of her social life. She recalls after-school programs, babysitting classes,  music, arts and crafts, girls volleyball, dances with live bands: “Dances were a big thing. Inside during the winter, outside when it was warm.”

Kids came to Deborah from a fairly large area, stretching from Albany Park north to Peterson Park. In addition to its own programming, Deborah hosted meetings for community groups and had ties to local schools. Many SACs (social athletic clubs) found a home at Deborah for their meetings, dances and sports teams. In an earlier post, I published a 1958 photograph of the Regular Fellas club taken in the gym at Deborah.  An article titled “Sports Extensions” in the 1967 edition of the Peterson Elementary School newsletter reports on the tournaments held at Deborah.

Peterson School

Peterson Elementary School, 1967 newsletter

The Jewish Council of Youth Services closed Deborah Boys Club in 1975 for the same reason they left Division Street twenty-odd years earlier: the neighborhood changed.

Photo credits: The photograph of the Deborah Boys Club is from the website of Epstein, the 90-year-old Chicago engineering and architectural firm that built the Deborah Boys Club.

Sources: GROUND BROKEN AT NEW DEBORAH BOYS CLUB SITE. (1949, June 5).Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963),NW7.  Retrieved July 17, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1987). (Document ID: 489266662).

Group to Move at End of Year. (1949, August 21). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963),NW9.  Retrieved July 17, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1987). (Document ID: 489647572).

Deborah Boys Club timeline.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Lee Bey for his insights; check out his blog for his great photos and stories of Chicago architecture. Thanks also to Ron Shapiro, author of the memoir, Making Happy, and to Carol Solomon Proesel for sharing their memories.

Read more Albany Park Memories

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51 Responses to This was Deborah

  1. Ferne Berman November 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    As usual brings me back in time.

    Thanks again

    FERNE

  2. Jerry Pritikin November 11, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    I remember when it opened and it became our home away from home for my brother and myself. The older guys spent most of their time in the gym while the younger kids took art classes and joined special current event programs. There was always guys in their club jackets from the Regular Fellas, Little Gents and Epsilon. It was one of the first building built after WWll in Albany Park.

  3. Caryn Sipari November 11, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Great article Frances. I did summer camp there and was always excited to go anywhere the BIG bus took us. Whalen Pool with their monkey island was always a thrill. Going off to Henry Horner for a few days to sleep in cabins and all the outside activities that came with the stay was a treat. Somewhere I have an old beat up black and white photo of me and others during a campfire night of songs and roasting marshmallows and drinking the Kool Aid they called Bug Juice, lol. Those were the days that memories were made from.

  4. mark schneider November 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    1959 We arrived at Von Steuben for 7th and 8th grade from Peterson and we merged with the kids from Hibbard
    I was an Epsilon and had our club meetings at Deborah
    We also had our sleep overs there ( which need to be described later)
    In 1963 I was in a drummer for a rock band and had Battle of the bands at Deborah
    included Flock, Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters,New Colony Six, Buckinghams
    What a GREAT time.

  5. john sigerson November 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    I spent many many hours of my childhood after schools hours at Deborah in the 70’s. I recall learning photography from Mr. Weissmeyer and arts and crafts along with dodgeball, floor hockey and basketball in the gym it’s nice to see that it is still in use and helping the kids of Albany Park and beyond. I wonder if Frank Albanese is still the director.

  6. Frances Archer November 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Mark, we gotta talk. I bet you have some good stories. I’ll send you an email.

  7. Frances Archer November 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    John, thanks for stopping by and sharing our memories of Deborah. We’re you around when it closed? I’m sure there’s been a few directors since the seventies.

  8. Frances Archer November 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Hi, Caryn. I heard about Camp Henry Horner when I interviewed Ron Shapiro for this story, but I didn’t include his comments because of the length. He attended it back when Deborah was still on dDivision. If you locate that photo, send it to me and I’ll write a whole post about the camp. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Frances Archer November 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Jerry, do you recall what you thought of the building when it first opened? Did it seem very modern at the time. Also, did you ever go to the Max Strauss JCC? If so, how did the two centers compare? Thanks for visiting.

  10. Frances Archer November 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Ferne, hope all is well. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Harriet Berger Miller November 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    I went to summer camp and after school programs at Deborah. In high school my BBG group met there. I also volunteered during high school and college with the program sponsored by JCYS with the handicapped kids. The program was run by Lynn and Frank Albanese. My history will JCYS continued later in life as both of my daughters went to Camp Henry Horner. The program that Lynn and Frank ran later moved to Riverwoods Illinois where it has grown. I have so many fond memories of both Deborah in Albany Park and Camp Henry Horner in Ingleside, Illinois.

  12. joel Finkel December 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    i lived in the big yellow building kitty corner from Debroah. I think they started building in the spring of 1950. The had activities at the Hibbard School campas during the ummer arts and crafts, baseball games ect I remember making those lanyards and gettig pretty good at lit, even remember making a round one. I saw th materials we used in a Michales afew years ago it was half as good made in china.
    The frlist dlirector of the club took an aprtment in the builing and he had a daughter that
    was named Debrorah. I am sure his frist name was Phil and his last name I beleive was Brim. I also rember having dance one Saturday a month for 7 and 8th graders that I went to movies on other saturday night a teen lounge a radioi and electtic shop wher I built a cyrstal set an art room with clasess taught by a citly of Chlicago art teacher. We moved in December of 1953 but I did come back to Debroah for about a year from time to time, It was nothling in those days to take a bus aat about 5pm (Western Ave) jFrjom Howard st to Foster Fojster to Kimball and hoof it south to ansile Leave jDebroah about 9pm and get home B/4 10.00 as I said before we at 14 had the freedonm of the streets.
    The good old days
    Joel

  13. Pam Damato Carlson January 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    I miss Deborah Boy’s Club. Spent lots of time there in the mid-60’s. Being in a “club” was an important part of socializing back then. My brother was a Top Hat (Rick Damato) and my sister in law was a Si Gamma I think…I forgot what club I was in, lol. I think we had red jackets with white writing…and we weren’t one of the “in” clubs of the day….but dancing at Deborah on Wed nights to a record player, was one of my favorite times….Deborah was a great place to hang out….

  14. Frances Archer January 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Pam, thanks for visiting and sharing your memories. I’ll have to check if Si Gamma is included on my list of clubs– I don’t think so.

  15. david magnus February 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    While the boy’s club was under construction sign ups were under way on the patio of Hibbard school. Fifty cents bought a membership signified by a hard, silvered card. Arts and crafts were done on the patio and of course they moved inside once the club had been completed.

  16. Frances Archer February 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    David, thanks for stopping by. Interesting that the school and Deborah worked together from the start.

  17. Richard Cohen February 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    In 1957, I was elected president of the Jr. Esquires (thanks to the support of Barry Bernstein, who liked me, and was known to beat up anyone who opposed him). Our club met at Deborah, where we organized, and later went on a weekend trip to Camp Henry Horner. I remember going to dances at Deb– I can still hear Ricky Nelson singing his ballads, and playing b’ball in the gym. My classmate and friend, Marshall Klein, a master gourmet of all worthwhile eateries in Chicago (to his tastes), taught me a shortcut down the alley behind Deb, to a Lawrence Ave. hamburger joint where we spent many of our lunch periods from Von. I’m happy to know that Deborah continues to be a community center.

  18. Donny Simon February 19, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    I went to Deborah almost daily from 1955 -1960. It kept me out of fights, while going through some rough times. Remember some very special role models/counselors like Mr. Merwin (I think that was his name). Deborah was only three blocks from my home, and was like a home away from home. Community Centers are a great idea, but when I was very young I took a lot for granted. Now, I am grateful for it.

    We started a club then (the Lil Devils) and later I was picked for the Anacondas. Went to Volta and Roosevelt, and lived on Ainslie and Drake. Many good fiends were made. Thanks for the blog. BE WELL!

  19. Frances Archer February 19, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Donny, thanks for visiting. Did you know that at one point Volta fed in Von Steuben? Anacondas were big at Von.

  20. Donny March 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    High Frances, Yes, my sister went to Von (Barbara) and so did my cousins Myrna and Sharon Neiman. Cousin Norman Spellman graduated Von in @ 1945. Brother in-law Ron Korr, graduated from Von about 1960? Most of the Anacondas of my time were from Volta, Hibbard, and Petersen elementary schools. We had an awesome undefeated softball team (16″) with the legendary Larry Stork. At Petersen Park left field had to play him in the McDonald’s parking lot, but he still hit home home runs all the time.

    I only lived two and half blocks from Deborah until I was 13. Then the family moved to Petersen and St. Louis, but I decided to finish school at Roosevelt, although I had to pass Von every day on the southbound Kimball Ave. bus en-route. I saw Ben Shipin was on board here. I bet he could tell many stories about Deborah! Thanks for the blog and BE WELL!

  21. Brenda Wolin Terry March 5, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Thanks for the information. I attended Hibbard, Peterson & Von Steuben, and my dad had a store on Lawrence and St. Louis. In the 50’s it was Deborah Boys Club. We gals would walk to the boys’ club to see if any of “our boys” were there. Sometimes, boys from Amundsen who were bigots would go there & try to fight with our guys outside the building. It wasn’t fun when that happened. Most of the time, it was a great place for the boys to enjoy sports…and for the girls to look for the boys! Life was much simpler in those days.

  22. Frances Archer March 5, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Brenda, what was the name of your father’s store. I’m working on a list of Lawrence Ave. businesses. Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Bobbie LeVan aka Barbara Lerner April 24, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    joel:

    are you the joel who lived in warner center (woodland hills, ca)? if so, i am bobbie, your former neighbor and also fellow rough rider. i went to deborah in the 1960’s. the club i was in met at the J, and so i went to the J the most, but also spent a lot of time at deborah’s, listening to music and dancing, and once in a blue moon maybe looking into where the guys were playing basketball.

    if it is you, marc and i moved to las vegas in 2002. hope all is well with the family.

  24. Frances Archer April 24, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Hi Bobbie, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Always fun to find old friends here.

  25. Bobbie LeVan aka Barbara Lerner April 24, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    this comment really doesn’t have to do with deborah boys club. this is about albany park. i know you didn’t grow up in albany park, but you limited your knowledge to such a small part of the area. in the “albany park” part of this, there is so little about the actual albany park – at least the one i knew in the 1950s and 1960s. no mentions made of bateman, haugan and volta grammar schools, all of which fed into roosevelt high school. hibbard also fed into roosevelt and von. hardly any mention of roosevelt except what syd lieberman had to say. i left out our lady of mercy school on kedzie. i’m sure there were children there who went to roosevelt as well, and i probably left out other schools. no mention of horner park on montrose and california, which had a field house that many of us went to as kids. it had a man-made hill we would go sliding down in the winter, and it had an area for swings, teeter-totter (sp?) and monkey bars. it had a field house that held dances are friday nights. it had a daycamp. i took drama classes there, and there were other classes one could take to learn something new. there were tennis courts next to it to the south. i believe roosevelt held it’s baseball games at horner. there was the tasty freeze nearby, and on irving park and california, there was california park where we could go swimming. this probably was not albany park anymore. there was the kosher chicken store on kedzie where the they killed the chicken for you. when you walked by it, you could smell the stench. there were a number of stores on lawrence ave that catered to both the young and old. also on lawrence was the s&l deli, kitty-corner was the bonfire deli, and just a few doors north of the terminal theater was the purity deli. in, i believe, 1963, roosevelt went to soldier’s field. i forget who we played there, but we won and went from the blue division to the white division. the roosevelt alumni still keeps in touch with each other via one of its former students (flora schwartz) who gets information from many former rough riders and shares it with the rest of us via email. you mentioned lincoln village, but i don’t think you mentioned kiddyland there. we use to use lincoln village as a shortcut to devon. almost nothing was said about the max strauss center aka “the j.” for those of us who lived in albany park, we spent a lot of time at “the j.” my clubsisters and i had our meetings there. we listened to records there and danced. kids from other areas also came by. we also went to deborah too, but to talk about one and not the other is an injustice. the public library was on lawrence. when i lived on leland near sacramento, the el ran right next to the alley behind the 3-flat we lived in. the el ended at kimball and lawrence. my father used to tell me how, many years ago, he knew mike todd’s father who had a newspaper stand on lawrence and kimball by the el station. also, the terminal on friday nights during at least the first half of the 1960s was a meeting place for kids from roosevelt and probably von too. no one watched the movies. one hoped to maybe meet their next boyfriend or girlfriend there. it was a social thing. i think in all the years i went there on a friday night, i only watched two movies.

    growing up in albany park was great. as a child there was always kids to play with. we were never bored. it didn’t matter what the season was. it also seemed like everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood. on the block i grew up on in the 1950s, we had jewish, catholic and protestant kids who lived on the block, and we all played together and got along. the only time i experienced antisemitism in chicago that i was aware of was when some guys tried to pick-up my girlfriends and i to go for a ride with them and we refused. this was right near lincoln village. they called us the “K” word. all religions seemed to get along in albany park. i’m sure when we played games away from roosevelt, there were areas where the jewish players weren’t welcomed. however, i don’t remember seeing any fights myself. i think because i didn’t have those bad experiences, i was much more opened to knowing people whose backgrounds were different than mine, and i didn’t look for prejudice nor feel it. i did have one experience of antisemitism in los angeles, when i was in my 20s and i spoke out. i have no tolerance for bigotry, antisemitism, racism or gay bashing. again, aside from much of this being from my upbringing, it is also from the great kids i grew up with in albany park who were not closed-minded.

    i know i am leaving out a lot of stuff, but i wish i could have read more about albany park since that was what the site was about. i guess i am prejudice when it comes to roosevelt and albany park. my middle sister and i went to roosevelt. my oldest sister went to von. i’ve been away from albany park since 1967, and only visited once in 1977, so it’s been a long time since i’ve been there, which is why my memory fails me re other things there, but i will always be proud that i grew up there, and it will always have a special place in my heart. thank you for letting me ramble.

  26. Frances Archer April 24, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Bobbie, I started this blog to learn more about the area around where I grew up. It’s pretty clearly stated that I grew up in Hollywood Park, and I don’t claim to know a lot about Albany Park. People like you who are willing to share their memories are helping me learn more about what it was like. So your post was really helpful, and thanks for taking time to share your memories. Feel free to contribute more if whenever you like.

    Syd Lieberman generously shared some of his memories of Roosevelt during the late 1950s and early 1960s in this post. In that story I mentioned that I attended nursery school at the Max Strauss J about the same time Syd and his fellow Condors were meeting there; but I was so young when the J closed that I really don’t remember it. Also if you’re interested, I wrote about Hollywood Kiddieland a couple years ago: here and here.

  27. Bobbie LeVan aka Barbara Lerner April 24, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    i know you didn’t know much about albany park. i said that at the beginning. i just found this blog, so have not read other ones. i guess no one else has ever mentioned some of other places. i certainly hope i didn’t offend you. that was not my intention at all. i just found this in the middle of the night, and replied to it. i think i need to get to bed. it seems i wasn’t very tactful. can i blame it on lack of sleep? lol i enjoyed looking through the site, and i keep it on favorite places, so i am glad it exists. i also read syd lieberman’s book about the area. i thought he graduated in about 1963, but it seems he graduated when i was just starting roosevelt. we didn’t know each other, but i knew who he was because he was on the football team. i guess i was a freshman and he was a senior.

    at any rate, i’m sure there are many more people who have a better memory than i do who could give you a lot more info on albany park than i did. also, being away so long has not helped. i’m lucky if i can remember what happened yesterday, let alone 45 yrs ago. lol these are not the golden years. they are the tarnished years. lol it is a great site, and on the whole, i really enjoyed going through it. = )

  28. Frances Archer April 24, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Bobbie, thanks for your reply. No offense. I just wanted to be sure there was no misunderstanding that I was claiming to have written the book on Albany Park. Thanks again for your contribution.

  29. Harriet Berger Miller April 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    There is actually a Facebook group for Albany Park. Well over 200 members I believe from all parts. People talk from Von, Roosevlt, Haugan, Hibbard, Volta, etc. We have had discussions about the stores, Riverview, Kiddyland. You might want to check this out. You might find more of what you are looking for if you want to connect with that specific area. But I would also recommend continuing to check out this blog. There have been many interesting articles about the old neighborhoods. Hope this helps.

  30. Alan Melsky June 20, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    In response to Bobbie LeVan aka as Barbara Lerner, hope I’m writing to the right Barbara Lerner Do you remember me Alan Melsky, man did I have a crush on you at Roosevelt, Nice to say hello..

  31. Bobbie LeVan aka Barbara Lerner June 21, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    dear alan:

    wow, i can’t believe a senior had a crush on a lowly freshman. did we have any classes together? i went on facebook and saw you graduated in 1961. i came into roosevelt in january 1961. i am guessing you graduated in june 1961. i just found my first crush at roosevelt who was also a senior, class of june 1961, and he didn’t remember me either. i’m sorry i don’t remember you. these days i barely remember me. i would love it if we became facebook friends. would that be ok with you? i will go to your facebook and ask you to friend me. i had so many crushes in high school, but i never stopped to think that anyone had one on me. i never thought of myself as a person someone would have a secret crush on.

    thank you so much for writing to me. i really appreciate it. it’s also always nice to find another rough rider. roosevelt was a great school and a great experience for me. i hope it was for you too. let’s stay in touch. bobbie

  32. alan melsky June 21, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Bobbie, my mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be, Duh! my wife thinks I started slipping long ago. Anyway, I realize now, the girl I had a crush on was Barbara Lerman, (I’ll have to look at the yearbook to confirm,). The Barbara I mistook you for was in my homeroom and graduated with me in June 61. But, I’m sure there were plenty of freshman guys with crushes on you.

    Thanks for getting back to me. I don’t think my wife will mind our continued writing, I’d be happy to know more about where you lived, then as now. possible mutual friends and where your life has taken you since Albany Park days.

    I lived in AP (Central park and Anslie), during my junior senior years at Roosevelt, right below a guy everybody knew named Ziggy Seigal. Didn’t go to a neighborhood grammar school as I lived in the Senn district when I was younger. My two years at RHS however, and subsequent years as a commuter student living at home and attending U of I /Navy Pier, left an indelible mark on me. In HS I belonged to the Characters SAC, I just attended our 50th reunion last year, and ocassionally still see old friends – found out at the reunion my best friend in the Characters, Norm Olefsky died a year before the reunion. Tough thing to hear I was so looking to see him again.- kept asking myself why didn’t i make any effort to stay in touch. Life just gets in the way. My wife Susan Lerner, (any relation) Lincolnwood/Niles North and I recently moved back to the city from Evanston. we live in the north center neighborhood near Irving Park, Lincoln & Damen.

    I have two kids, one; 31 lives in WAsh DC shes a teacher and mother of a two year old, (my first grandchild) My son is 26 lives in Lincoln Sq. Chicago and is a professional Harpest,

    We’re both still working, in reasonably good health, and plan on staying in the city until they plant us

    if your feel like keeping up a commentary on RHS / Albany Park, or anything else . . . please write, I;d look forward to hearing from you

    Take care
    Alan Melsky

    Nice hearing from you

    Alan Melsky

  33. Frances Archer June 21, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    For a recent photo of Zyggy, check this post. Scroll to the end of the story.

  34. Mark Swerdlik July 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Enjoyed the history of Deborah and the follow-up posts. Anyone remember Herman who in the early 1960’s checked membership cards at the front entrance to Deborah? I believe he was an former boxer. I was a member of Deborah Boys Club in the early to mid 1960’s and played many a basketball game in the Deborah gym. I remember I played on the Cobegos (before the Cobegos I recall being a member of the Senecas and I believe Regular Fellas) “B” team and lost to the Anaconda “A” team by over a 100 points-probably the low point of my basketball career! I recall working as a DJ (with Mike LIntz) in the music portion of the club-we played records over the loudspeaker which lead to my joining a radio club at Deborah. In college, I worked as a counselor for the Deborah Boy’s Club daycamp (along with a number of my friends)-the camp would go swimming at River Park pool and use River Park for sports activities. Great fun and many memories from all of my time at Deborah. Thanks for eliciting them.

  35. Brenda Wolin Terry July 3, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Frances, my dad’s store was at 3451 W. Lawrence Ave. and was originally Wolin & Levie. They also had a store on Austin & Addison (5959 W. Addison). When they decided to split their partnership, Harry Levie moved to the Addison St. store & my dad’s store became William P. Wolin Furniture. The store directly east of him, which shared the building, was Paris Drapery. Directly accross from them wasa Harriet’s Variety Store, owned by Harriet & Irv Dishkin. I don’t know the exact address of that store.

    There was a laundromat around the corner owned by Eddie Chubin, but I don’t remember the name. My favorite bakery was between Bernard & Kimball on the south side of Lawrence, and it was the Terminal Bakery. There was also a currency exchange on that block. On the north side of Lawrence between Kimball & Bernard was a smaller version of the Albany Park Bank & a restaurant. The restaurant was alternately named K & L and C & L. Many of us who worked on the street on the long nights (Mon. & Thurs.) would have dinner at that restaurant. That’s all for now. Good luck with your project.

  36. Paul Warshawsky October 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    I was in the Regular Fellas 58/59/60 and the picture you posted i didn’t know one person. Are you sure that’s a Regular Fella Club picture? The guys i remember are Marv Gassma, Al Hirsch, Barry Connie, Archie Camberis, Merrill Ehrenberg, Burt Mandell, shelly snider ,jay sher Where did you get that picture. They’re NOT Regular Fellas

  37. Frances Archer October 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Paul, I will check back in my emails and let you know. Thanks for bringing this up.

  38. Paul Warshawsky October 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Thanks very much, I’m old but I’m not crazy I wish i could hear from my old club brothers mostly from Von Anyone remember BUnte in the Little Gents, Janice Tipp, Toby Ackerman I can’t reember the Von Girls club that we had mixers with But i miss so many guys Marv, Al, Archie, Barry, Shelly, Bob so many great guys, Can anyone relate to this message

  39. Frances Archer October 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Paul, mystery solved! Howard says all the buys you mentioned were his “seniors”. Howard remembers you.

  40. Frances Archer October 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Paul, Howard says to tell you that Joel Rich and Irv Flangel are on facebook.

  41. Mike Wolstein April 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Deborah Boys Club holds a lot of memories for me. I attended summer day camp there for about 4 years in a row in the late 50s / early 60s. I joined in about 1958 or 59 and went there every day after school (Hibbard). I remember that their gym was about 3 times the size of the one at the Strauss Center (my bedroom closet in Albany Park was larger than that one).

    However, my best memory of Deborah was one evening in the fall of 1961, when Dick Biondi was hosting a sock hop there. Over the past 52 years we’ve become “buddies”, and whenever he does a personal appearance, I go to see him and chat about the “old days.” Back about 10 years ago, I mentioned that sock hop to him, and although he didn’t remember me personally, he remembered doing that hop. What a memory the guy has! I go to see him every Thanksgiving when he does the toy drive at Stratford Mall in Bloomingdale, and he gives me a big hug. He’s like family to me.

  42. Frances Archer April 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Hi, Mike. Pretty cool that you know Dick Biondi. WLS, right?

  43. Richard Cohen May 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    “On top of a pizza, all covered with cheese…’

    “W L S, in Chicago…” 🙂

  44. Sandra N Elbaum September 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    Pam Domato: You’re name is very familiar to me. Could we have been in the same class at Hibbard? I graduated from 8th grade at Von UGC in 1960. Did you?

  45. Dan Mytnik October 30, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I look back now and think what a fantastic place this was and how very important it was in the development of my life. We lived in Albany Park on Gunnison and went to Hibbard and Von, with six kids in the family it was hard to keep us all busy and off the streets but there was always something going on at Deborah that we could take part in.

    In fact I see that John Sigerson added some comments back in 2011, John and I were class mates and shared many a memory at Deborah as he mentioned, playing dodge ball, floor hockey and basketball and I also remember getting to do some photography and arts and crafts and a lot of other things too. They had a great haunted house at Halloween with pumpkin carving contests and prizes. In fact as I grew older I got to work the Haunted House with many of my friends and that was a lot of fun. They employed my mom for a while and I also remember helping out for many a community cause over the years.

    I think about it now because I donate to the United Way and earmark the money to
    go towards boys and girls clubs and community center activity clubs like Deborah. Everyone we knew went there. It was a fun place to be and I think helped shape us to
    be better people, We need places like this within our communities.

  46. Frances Archer November 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi, Dan. Thanks for stopping. In an interview I did for an upcoming blogpost, I heard that a number of very good people in social work got their start in the Albany Park community organizations — Deborah and the Max Strauss JCC. Add in River Park and its many programs for tots to teens, and the community had a lot of quality programs to keep kids busy. A couple years ago I stopped by the River Park field house and was stunned to see how few classes they offered for children. As a preschooler I had a lot of activities at River Park and nursery school at JCC — both places gave me lots of memories.

  47. Leah Kaufmaan Bloomenthal February 23, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    Just discovered a link to this page. When I was a little girl, we lived at 4857 N Kimball – right across from Deborah. My Mother, Serella Kaufman, noticed that it was for boys only…she took all thee necessary steps to see that it would be open to girls (like me) also. The admittance of girls was a big step in those days, but it happened, and I remember many fun times there!

  48. Al Marks June 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    What a treat to of found this site. I initially lived on Lawndale and eventually moved to Kimball and Eastwood right behind the L. I remember playing basketball at Deborah and for some reason Bob Goldberg asked me to work at Henry Horner. That led to working at Deborah during my college years. I remember the nights where bands would play on either side of the gym. After work to K and L. Great people worked there. A special place.

  49. Frances Archer July 5, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    Al, thanks for visiting and mentioning your connectin to Deborah. It touched many lives.

  50. Monkeyislandrv October 27, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    Nice Article gives a lot of knowledge regarding Deborah.

  51. Frances Archer November 7, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks for stopping by! I’m afraid this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the history of Deborah, but it’s a start!

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