Thursday, May 9, 2013

This old house

This is the house where my father grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.  I had never seen it before because I had the address wrong.  The address that I thought was the right place is now a Walgreens.  My surviving aunt recently told me I was off by about a block and a half so I made the ancestral home land my turn around point for a 9.2 mile run today.  I was happy to hold a 10 minute a mile pace even with various traffic obstacles and red lights and thrilled to finally see where my dad lived until he went into the army in the 1940s.  The block is an odd combination of boarded up buildings, some run down buildings, and some fancy gentrified single family homes.

My grandparents had long since moved to the Chatham area on the south side before I was born and then moved again to the Rainbow beach neighborhood a few blocks from the lake.  I don't remember the three flat in Chatham but drove by it on the way to a tennis tournament last year with my daughter.  That building is pictured below.  Just more of the same kind of lower middle class apartments you would expect from an immigrant family running a laundry route, then a butcher counter, and later a corner grocery store.

 I only recall the last three flat in Rainbow Beach but never knew the address because I was a little kid.  However, the Newberry Library near the law school specializes in Chicago history and among other things has city phone books back to the beginning of the phone company.  So over the summer, I plan to rummage around the Newberry collection in hopes of pinpointing the apartment that I remember and then bike down there to see (its fifteen miles from my place so too far to run) what is still standing.  Hoping to go three for three.  Also want to check the Newberry photo archives for the corner of 50th & Michigan where my grandparent's grocery store was located.


  1. Okay, so next time I'm in Chicago, we should go for the Landsman's 30K. We can start at your place, run up to Lawrence, head west to Albany Park to my grandfather's former grocery store on Lawrence (and house, if I can get the address from my father), then down Kedzie to Humboldt Park, then West on Division back to the Lake, and then back to your place. By the time I was born, my grandparents had moved to Lincolnwood, but that's too much for one run. . .

  2. That's really cool. I envy your living around old family haunts.

  3. Happy to do the 30K you proposed, but can also just run out path along the north branch of the Chicago river. If we drive to beginning of path at Lawrence, we can probably do Lincolnwood and Albany Park in one run for a Janger run down memory lane.

  4. That would require considerably less commitment. :-) I like it.