Connections at the Crossroads

Bryn_Mawr_and_Kimball_1940s

It’s not just the stop sign that looks so unfamiliar. Where’s the traffic light at the northeast corner of Kimball and Bryn Mawr, the busy crossroads of Chicago’s Hollywood Park neighborhood? And I know that’s a mail box, but what’s the large object directly behind the light post?

This photograph of young Marty Marcus standing in front of Jack’s Kosher Meat Market, 3356 W. Bryn Mawr, was taken sometime in the early 1940s. I’ve written about Marty’s connection to the neighborhood in several blogposts.

When I first saw Marty’s photo, I thought how quaint. Bryn Mawr Avenue, when it was  a sleepy no-light small town Main Street. Then a few days later I recalled another photograph I have of the same intersection.

Kimball_Avenue_1944

Dated 1942, this photo shows a bustling Kimball / Bryn Mawr intersection. I don’t know the exact year for Marty’s photo, but it’s possible these photos were taken the same year or at most a couple years apart. The second photo was shot from the two-flat at 5445 N. Kimball, looking north towards Peterson School. I cropped it from this photograph of the Victory Garden that stood at the corner of Kimball and Catalpa, published in an earlier post.

Jack’s Kosher Meat Market is also partially visible on upper right-hand edge of the second  photo. As in Marty’s photo, the awning above Jack’s storefront is rolled up, while the corner store has its awning down. I can see the streetlight pole that was right behind Marty as well, but I can’t make out whether there is a traffic light. Marty tells me he remembers a policeman was stationed at the intersection.

Is that the #82 bus running southbound on Kimball?

I searched to see whether the Kimball Avenue bus route existed in the early 1940s and found it on a list of historical bus and train routes. In 1931, the Chicago Surface Lines (CSL)  introduced the Kimball #82 trolley bus route between Lawrence and Peterson, but service was suspended in December 1942 because of the war.

Connections

From 1963 to 1970, I crossed this intersection at Kimball and Bryn Mawr on my way to Peterson Elementary School. By then, there was a traffic light. And a Chicago Police Department crossing guard shepherded us children safely across the busy streets. Jack’s Kosher Butcher was no longer there, but another Kosher butcher was in business at the same address. I passed that storefront countless times on my way to penny candy heaven at the Hollywood Bowl, a few doors further east.

The world changed between 1942 and 1962, but storefronts along Bryn Mawr Avenue, from Kedzie down to Bernard,  did not. Even under different ownership, the shop window at 3356 Bryn Mawr looked the same in the ’60s as it did in the ’40s.

I was already writing this blogpost when I remembered meeting Fred Karb several years ago at a Von Steuben class of 1974 reunion. Fred told me he grew up in Albany Park and his father had owned a shop on Bryn Mawr for 50 years. It had been at three different addresses, but always on Bryn Mawr. I looked up my notes, and sure enough: Fred’s father was Jack, the owner of the butcher shop in Marty’s photograph.

Related: Check out the Bryn Mawr Business District Hall of Fame for a full listing of Hollywood Park family-owned business from the ’30s through the ’70s. I first wrote about small businesses along Bryn Mawr Avenue in Mom and Pop Part 1 and Part 2.

14 Responses to Connections at the Crossroads

  1. John Erickson June 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    I was a Police Boy at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Kimball in 1940 (8th grade) and am sure the “mystery object” beside the light pole wasn’t there then.

  2. Frances Archer June 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    John, my first thought was it may have been a piece of road construction equipment. Perhaps they tore up Kimball at some point?

  3. marty marcus June 16, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Frances, I think the mystery shape might have been a news stand. There was one there for a while during the forties. I also was a police boy at that corner 1944-46.

  4. Frances Archer June 16, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Thanks for clearing up the mystery.

  5. Howard Glantz August 19, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Harry Sussman’s wife sold his store on Bryn Mawr to David Rosenberg after his death.

    The Gillis family includes Lois who graduated Von in 1955. All three were very good looking kids.

    My wife Toby was cashier at Tonya’s Restaurant at north east corner of Spalding & Bryn Mawr in 1959. She graduated Von in 1960.

    East of Tonya was a golf store owned in part by my uncle Pete Weiss. The pro offered me free lessons if I would clean up the store after school, but I was not into golf. that was 1955.
    He had a net and mini driving range inside the store.

    Where Sawyer dead ended into Bryn Mawr was the Elliott & Cramin Paint Store, owned by Morrie Elliott & Harry Cramin. They would each work a month and take off a month and three days together at the end of each month. Their building burned down around 1972.

  6. Frances Archer August 19, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Thanks, Howard, for these details. I’ll be adding them to the Bryn Mawr Hall of Fame. The Elliot & Cramin store was rebuilt wasn’t it? Same location?

  7. Howard S. Ex October 12, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Frances,

    Marty Marcus was correct about the object behind the light post, it was a news stand, although much newer than what I remembered. My dad bought our sunday paper there every weekend from a gentleman who worked there every day, rain, shine, snow no matter what. I don’t remember his name, but I do recall the he had at least two ?boys? who he made enough money to send through college, maybe medical school. Along side of the stand was an small drum-like container that he used to burn wood, etc. to help keep warm during the cold. I was a street guard on that corner for one semester and would huddle next to it, warming my hands and back side.

    He, also indirectly taught me a great lesson on work ethics.

  8. renee chernoff October 18, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    I remember the paint store on Bryn Mawr and Sawyer with Howard’s help. My mom used to get her hair done at a salon on the south side of Bryn Mawr in that vicinity, gal who did her hair was Peggy, not sure if she was the owner. In the 60’s going to Peterson, we used to have lunch at CV’s Snack Shop at the corner of Kimball and Bryn Mawr. We had a charge account there; my mom was going to school at Northeastern in those days (when it was Chicago Teachers College North) so she had classes while my sister and I were in school. She would go there at the end of the month to settle the bill…one of my earliest experiences having credit! Other times we would meet her in the college cafeteria for lunch with my mom and her friends…it was cool being so grown up walking the halls of the college yet attending grammar school.

  9. Naeem Dhiraj February 26, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    I appreciate posting these pics here. Certainly they are incredibly valuable from a historic perspective, but to me, it gives a different perspective and makes me feel so good as I imagine myself at that specific location in the 40’s and 60’s. It’s just stunning. Can’t express in words.

  10. Naeem Dhiraj February 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    Oh! forgot to mention in my previous post, I have been living in this neighborhood for five years now and happen to encounter this webpage just out of my curiosity of the historic photographs of W. Bryn Mawr Ave and N. Kimball Ave. It’s amazing.

  11. Naeem Dhiraj February 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I always pass by Davis Cleaners and many other shops on my way on W. Bryn Mawr Ave. to the Northeastern Illinois University. From now on, I will remember the history of these places and feel the historical foundation. Some of the buildings looks exactly as they did before, for e.g. the Hollywood bowl in the above picture. Excellent.

  12. Frances Archer February 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Thank you for your kind words and for visiting the blog. Enjoy seeing the neighborhood through your eyes.

  13. Frances Archer February 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Thanks again for visiting and I apologize for the delay in moderating your comments. It’s funny that the only two shops that are still the same today as they were in the sixties are the two dry cleaners, Davis and Biltmore.

  14. howard korengold July 3, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    I remember the news stand at Kimball and Bryn Mawr. It was a ritual to go there to buy the Sunday paper. My father, too, told me that we had to support the stand because the owner had a son in medical school. I also enjoyed the photo of Marty Marcus. I’ve known him since high school. He was best man at my 1955 wedding and we are still friends notwithstanding the distance I am from the Chicago area.

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