This fabulous Hollywood Park neighborhood history gem is courtesy of Dennis Briskin, who also contributed photographs to the Peterson Park story. It’s his graduation photo from nursery school, the School for Tots, at 5948 N. Bernard, just south of Peterson. I don’t know how long this nursery school kept its doors open, so leave a comment if you remember it from after 1950.
The photo probably appeared in a local paper, though you never know. I’ve found that the Chicago Tribune used to publish a lot of local news. How local? Well, in researching Peterson Park, for example, I found the Trib announced every PTA meeting at Solomon School during the fifties and sixties.
It’s interesting to see children’s names and addresses appeared in print; that, of course, would never happen today. It’s also interesting to see children from Albany Park, North Park, Hollywood Park and Peterson Park attended the same nursery school. I’m sure it’s been many years since any single group or organized activity drew young kids from all these neighborhoods.
In the heyday of the Jewish communities in Albany Park, North Park, Hollywood Park, and Peterson Park, these four North Side neighborhoods were much closer than they are now. The distance is the same, but the demographics have changed.
Another change that helped dissolve the Albany Park-Peterson Park connection is the transformation of the neighborhood high school into a magnet-type school with a citywide student body. From 1933 to 1982, most kids in these neighborhoods (except the part of Albany Park that fed into Roosevelt) attended Von Steuben High School, but many crossed paths long before their freshman year.
Due to nearly annual school boundaries changes, kids flopped back and forth between Solomon, Peterson and the Von Steuben Upper Grade Center throughout the fifties and early sixties. Local synagogues, Deborah Boys Club and Hollywood Park also drew hundreds of kids across neighborhood lines. Lastly, and possibly most significantly, there was the cousin factor. So many kids had grandparents or cousins or aunts and uncles living in the same house or apartment building or across the street or one block or one neighborhood away.
North of Peterson, south of Peterson, was it so different ?
Read my previous post, North of Peterson, to see the other photographs contributed by Dennis Briskin.