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.
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.
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.