Just south of Peterson

School for Tots

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.

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15 Responses to Just south of Peterson

  1. Dennis Briskin October 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Note a name spelling error: The final name in the caption should be Citron not Citon. Her married name was (is?) Pinto. My late mother told me of playing golf with Barbara at the now-closed Hillcrest Country Club in Long Grove (?).

  2. Dennis Briskin October 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    In later years, the space occupied by the school housed Renee’s Beauty Salon. My mother went there every Friday afternoon to “have her hair done.” After I got my driver’s license (November 1961) on Fridays when I wanted to borrow my mother’s car, I would go into the shop to get her car key. In my much younger days, when I went in with my mother, they would give me a cookie. Renee’s partner in the shop was a burly guy named Casey.

  3. Frances Archer October 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Dennis, you reminded me of a story. My father was teaching me to drive and on a Saturday morning he suggested we drive over to Jay’s to pick up the dry cleaning and his shirts at the Chinese laundry. I was at the wheel and I got us there fine and parallel parked. But when we were leaving, I got mixed up and instead of braking, smashed into the car behind me. My dad quickly told me to switch seats with him and he took the blame. I guess he was worried I’d lose my student driving privileges.

  4. Donald Cherry October 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I grew up a ways east of this neighborhood, but it still looks and sounds so familiar to me. Also, the pictures look strangely like modern-day Japan. Different for sure, but the school photo on this post share some things with the school photos I see here in Japan. 1950s and 1960s America shares some things with modern-day Japan. If you like this site, and I sure do, and you have any sort of interest in Japan, or even just the post World War II era, I suggest you see the movie Always. It’s a Japanese movie, and I THINK that is the English title (Always). Even as an American, it will really send you back.

  5. Frances Archer October 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Donald, I was a big fan of Japanese movies back in the late seventies. Kurosawa of course, and others whose name I now forget. So I’m definitely going to check out the movie. Thanks for mentioning it.

  6. Jerry Schecter October 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    A big hello to Dennis Briskman. I hope you remember shooting hoops with me at Peterson School yard. We must have been 12 or 13 at the time. I spent a lot of time inthe school yard as I lived directly across the street on Kimball ave. Nice memories. Thank You Frances. Also in the picture is Larry Soloman who I went through grade school and high school and Don Feinstein who later became a principal himself. Some of the other names are familar. I have forwarded this site to all my old Peterson and Von Stuben friends.

  7. Dennis Briskin October 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi, Jerry. I remember YOU as one of the nicest guys I ever met; always upbeat and friendly. Very smooth athlete, too. My hoops shooting is quite forgettable, I am sure.

    Peterson School holds special memories for me beyond going back and forth between there and Solomon until grade 5A when those of us north of Peterson Ave. stayed at Solomon.

    My Briskin grandparents lived on Christiana directly across from the playground. In my later years at Peterson I used to walk across the street to eat kosher burgers for lunch.

  8. Jerry Schecter October 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Thanks for remembering me. I also remember you as being a great guy and having a fairly nice shot. I also believe I ran into your sister at my inlaws ( the Goldflies) not too long ago. Best wishes.

  9. Dennis Briskin October 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Never had a sister. And having a nice shot suggests you are remembering someone else. Looked you up in the 1963 yearbook. You were class of Jan. ’64

  10. Thomas Phone October 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Ehhh? Schecter. Return the indicator to room 215!!!!!

  11. Mickey Dickler December 26, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    I am a “South of Peterson” guy who married a “North of Peterson” gal…Mickey Dickler and Judy Kronenberg. Today marks our 46th wedding anniversary. This proves the North and South can live in peace 🙂

  12. Frances Archer December 26, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Happy Anniversary!

  13. Larry Gold March 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Renee’s was located next to school for tots which closed in 1959… I lived across the alley from SFTots @ 5940 n. Bernard… On the sw corner of peterson and Bernard was B&B Delicatessen which later became Martino’s…no one brought up The MilkPail on Devon and mcCormick….The gas station on Bernard & Bryn Mawr was named Steelman’s Sinclair…The furniture store on Peterson & St. Louis was named Town House Interiors owned by the Dainis family…Sarah Bassan was the teacher @Shaare Tikvah… Joseph Liebenson was the principal & other teachers were Raya Broyde, Esther Hankins,Paul Zalish & Ida Golden…Cantor was Murray Lind….The little store on the nw corner of Bryn Mawr & Kedzie was Jay’s Mart….. Tower Cabana was on Peterson and Kedzie from 1957 until 1961 & the McDonald’s was built in 1956…the rabbi was Morris Gutstein… Hope I have helped a bit….

  14. Frances Archer March 26, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Hi, Larry. Nice to hear from you. Great details about the area.

  15. Frances Archer March 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Larry, about Jay’s Mart — was there a gas station at the corner? In the sixties there was a Shell on the NW corner of Bryn Mawr and Kedzie — Milt and Morrie’s Shell Station. There were a few Silverman kids at Peterson who were related to the owners. I was told that Milt and Morrie (not sure if it was both or one) later opened the Shell on Old Orchard Road, south side, immediately to the east of the Edens.

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