One of the regular contributors to this blog, Jack Decker, has generously shared his collection of six photographs of Albany Park during the 1960s. All except one of the photographs were taken around the Ravenswood ‘L” (now the Brown Line.) station at Kimball and Lawrence.
Jack graduated from Roosevelt, but married a Von girl, so he has friends from both schools that he’d love to reconnect with. If you know Jack and would like to get in touch, please use the Contact form to send me your email and I will forward your message to him.
1) Ravenswood “L” terminal station at Kimball and Lawrence avenues.
Kimball Avenue is the station I know best of all Chicago public transportation stops. My first trips were with my mother in the early 1960s, when I always wore a nice dress and good shoes to go downtown. By seventh grade, I was riding the Ravenswood “L” in raggedy jeans with my friends, headed for State Street stores and a counter lunch in the basement of Field’s or Carson’s. It was a schlep to take the Kimball Avenue bus from Peterson to Lawrence and then the “L” to the Loop and back on what may have been the slowest route in the system, but the round-trip fare was less than a dollar and we had nothing but time.
Chicago architect Arthur U. Gerber designed the station around 1909 in the style of Craftsmen bungalows which were common in the area. (1) During the years I rode the Ravenswood “L,” I wouldn’t have known what was meant by Craftsman style, but I knew I liked the cozy look of the station. It was replaced in 1973 with a steel and glass building that took away the charm of travelling from Albany Park into the city.
2) Chef Christopher’s restaurant
Help me out here! I have no memories of this joint.
3) Deborah Boys Club
Not quite in the area of the Ravenswood terminal, but near enough at Ainslie and Kimball. I’ve written extensively about the community center, but I don’t mind saying it again: I really like the sharp angles and long lines of this compact corner building. In fact, it may be the best example of modern architecture in Albany Park.
4) National Bank of Albany Park under construction
This story that requires more research or comments from the readers, please. The bank in this photograph appears to be the same building as the Albany Park National Bank at 3424 West Lawrence in this photograph from about 1915. Did the name change from Albany Park National Bank to National Bank of Albany Park, or was this a different bank? And did its name later shrink like a wool sweater thrown in the dryer to Albank?
Update: Thanks to reader Lisa for researching the background of the financial institution. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune (June 24, 1953) the Albany Park National Bank closed during the Depression. The reorganized bank known as National Bank of Albany Park re-opened in 1953.
5) National Bank of Albany Park Grand Opening
It seems pretty clear that this is the same building as the one in the 1915 photograph, yet Jack describes it as the Grand Opening. Was it closed for some time? And, any idea where the short-order cook who is about to feed the meter worked? Mitch’s? Cooper & Cooper?
6) The day the movies stopped running
Jack tells me this photograph was taken the day after a fire at the Terminal. Much has been written about the Terminal Theatre on Cinema Treasures, a site devoted to old theaters.The comments alone are worth the price of admission.
Thanks to Mike Wolstein for his help in identifying the dates of the photographs.