Blue Island Historical Society

Blue Island Historical Society Become a member today or join our e-mailing list for event updates! www.blueislandhistoricalsociety.com Located in the 134-year-old BIHS/Albee House at 13018 Maple Avenue, BIHS sponsors events and presentations throughout the year.

Become a member! Download form at http://bit.ly/BIHSMembership

Operating as usual

Set up is nearly complete for tonight’s Front Porch Concert featuring Lauren Duffy! We’ll see you at the Charles Young H...
08/14/2021

Set up is nearly complete for tonight’s Front Porch Concert featuring Lauren Duffy! We’ll see you at the Charles Young House - 12905 Greenwood Ave - at 7 pm.

Set up is nearly complete for tonight’s Front Porch Concert featuring Lauren Duffy! We’ll see you at the Charles Young House - 12905 Greenwood Ave - at 7 pm.

TOMORROW. Lauren Duffy performs live from the front steps of the landmark Charles Young House.7 p.m. | Free-will donatio...
08/13/2021

TOMORROW. Lauren Duffy performs live from the front steps of the landmark Charles Young House.

7 p.m. | Free-will donations will be split between the artist and the Blue Island Area Chamber of Commerce

TOMORROW. Lauren Duffy performs live from the front steps of the landmark Charles Young House.

7 p.m. | Free-will donations will be split between the artist and the Blue Island Area Chamber of Commerce

Our second Porch Concert of the year is only 4 days away! Join us at the landmark Charles Young House - 12905 Greenwood ...
08/10/2021

Our second Porch Concert of the year is only 4 days away! Join us at the landmark Charles Young House - 12905 Greenwood Ave - this Saturday at 7 p.m.

Our second Porch Concert of the year is only 4 days away! Join us at the landmark Charles Young House - 12905 Greenwood Ave - this Saturday at 7 p.m.

Images of yesterday's vintage base ball game between the Blue Island Brewmasters and the Chicago Salmon Vintage Base Bal...
07/18/2021

Images of yesterday's vintage base ball game between the Blue Island Brewmasters and the Chicago Salmon Vintage Base Ball Club.

A tradition after every vintage base ball game: the postgame meal. Thanks to today’s opponents - the Chicago Salmon - fo...
07/17/2021

A tradition after every vintage base ball game: the postgame meal. Thanks to today’s opponents - the Chicago Salmon - for making the trip to Blue Island, to Mary Kinell for hosting the meal, and to Brian Fee (our centerfielder, aka Beef) for providing the drinks and helping make it so special!

A tradition after every vintage base ball game: the postgame meal. Thanks to today’s opponents - the Chicago Salmon - for making the trip to Blue Island, to Mary Kinell for hosting the meal, and to Brian Fee (our centerfielder, aka Beef) for providing the drinks and helping make it so special!

TODAY AT 2 P.M.! Join us at Memorial Park (12804 Highland Ave) for the first Brewmasters vintage base ball home game of ...
07/17/2021

TODAY AT 2 P.M.! Join us at Memorial Park (12804 Highland Ave) for the first Brewmasters vintage base ball home game of the season!

While this family-friendly event is free to attend, we'll be accepting donations to ensure that programming like this continues. To donate online, click here: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

TODAY AT 2 P.M.! Join us at Memorial Park (12804 Highland Ave) for the first Brewmasters vintage base ball home game of the season!

While this family-friendly event is free to attend, we'll be accepting donations to ensure that programming like this continues. To donate online, click here: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

The action! The athleticism! The muttonchops! The blouses!Don't miss the first Brewmasters vintage baseball home game of...
07/16/2021

The action! The athleticism! The muttonchops! The blouses!

Don't miss the first Brewmasters vintage baseball home game of the year tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park - Burger insists upon it.

The action! The athleticism! The muttonchops! The blouses!

Don't miss the first Brewmasters vintage baseball home game of the year tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park - Burger insists upon it.

We beat the rain for today's Neighborhood Walking Tour! Thanks to all who supported today's event - including Jim Walsh ...
07/10/2021

We beat the rain for today's Neighborhood Walking Tour! Thanks to all who supported today's event - including Jim Walsh and Sportsfields Inc. for their sponsorship - and thanks to our Historian Ken Jellema for leading such a wonderful program and helping us celebrate the life & work of the Blue Island born-and-raised architect Robert Seyfarth.

07/08/2021
The Ward Seyfarth House

Learn about the history and significance of the landmark Ward Seyfarth House at our Neighborhood Walking Tour: The Architecture of Robert Seyfarth. Tickets for the Saturday, July 10 event are available online: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

A special thanks to Sportsfields and Jim Walsh for their sponsorship and support of this event! The Ward Seyfarth House is a special place for the Walsh family, and has been lovingly restored over the past several years thanks to more hard work and major investments in our community by Jim.

Learn about the history and architectural significance of this home - and many others - at this Saturday's Robert Seyfar...
07/06/2021

Learn about the history and architectural significance of this home - and many others - at this Saturday's Robert Seyfarth walking tour!

Tickets are available online and at the door of the Albee House:

https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site
13018 Maple Avenue, Blue Island. Program begins at 1 p.m.

Learn about the history and architectural significance of this home - and many others - at this Saturday's Robert Seyfarth walking tour!

Tickets are available online and at the door of the Albee House:

https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site
13018 Maple Avenue, Blue Island. Program begins at 1 p.m.

Learn about the life & work of Robert Seyfarth at our Architecture Walking Tour on July 10! The program begins at 1 p.m....
06/30/2021

Learn about the life & work of Robert Seyfarth at our Architecture Walking Tour on July 10! The program begins at 1 p.m. at the Albee House: 13018 Maple Ave, Blue Island

To purchase tickets online, click here: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

Learn about the life & work of Robert Seyfarth at our Architecture Walking Tour on July 10! The program begins at 1 p.m. at the Albee House: 13018 Maple Ave, Blue Island

To purchase tickets online, click here: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

Today's Brewmasters game has been postponed due to the condition of the field and the weather forecast - we'll announce ...
06/26/2021

Today's Brewmasters game has been postponed due to the condition of the field and the weather forecast - we'll announce a makeup date soon!

Today's Brewmasters game has been postponed due to the condition of the field and the weather forecast - we'll announce a makeup date soon!

The Brewmasters vintage base ball club is back in action in their first home game of the season this Saturday! Come chec...
06/23/2021

The Brewmasters vintage base ball club is back in action in their first home game of the season this Saturday! Come check out the match at their new home field - Memorial Park - at 2 p.m.

Where: Memorial Park, 12804 Highland Ave
When: Saturday, June 26 at 2 p.m.

The Brewmasters vintage base ball club is back in action in their first home game of the season this Saturday! Come check out the match at their new home field - Memorial Park - at 2 p.m.

Where: Memorial Park, 12804 Highland Ave
When: Saturday, June 26 at 2 p.m.

Images from Saturday's Front Porch Concert with Father Connor Danstrom - photography by Alexander M. Brown and Kevin Bro...
06/21/2021

Images from Saturday's Front Porch Concert with Father Connor Danstrom - photography by Alexander M. Brown and Kevin Brown.

Thanks to everyone who came out for yesterday's Front Porch Concert! And a HUGE thanks to Fr. Connor Danstrom and Celest...
06/20/2021

Thanks to everyone who came out for yesterday's Front Porch Concert! And a HUGE thanks to Fr. Connor Danstrom and Celeste Aguirre for putting on one heck of a show.

We'll follow up tomorrow with more pictures from the event!

06/19/2021

TODAY! Don’t miss our Front Porch Concert featuring our friend Father Connor Danstrom! Stop by the Henry Klein House at 7 p.m. to catch the show: 12950 Greenwood Ave, Blue Island, IL

Many thanks to the Daily Southtown for plugging this Saturday's Front Porch Concert with Fr. Connor Danstrom - check out...
06/15/2021

Many thanks to the Daily Southtown for plugging this Saturday's Front Porch Concert with Fr. Connor Danstrom - check out the link to the article below.

And make sure to join us at the Henry Klein House (12950 Greenwood Ave) at 7 p.m. on Saturday night!

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/ct-sta-beverly-porch-concerts-st-0616-20210615-syw7ftp3jrgjddhql3qnihydi4-story.html

Many thanks to the Daily Southtown for plugging this Saturday's Front Porch Concert with Fr. Connor Danstrom - check out the link to the article below.

And make sure to join us at the Henry Klein House (12950 Greenwood Ave) at 7 p.m. on Saturday night!

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/ct-sta-beverly-porch-concerts-st-0616-20210615-syw7ftp3jrgjddhql3qnihydi4-story.html

Learn how to make your very own market basket at our Basketry Workshop hosted by Joyce Sheldon! A limited amount of tick...
05/29/2021

Learn how to make your very own market basket at our Basketry Workshop hosted by Joyce Sheldon! A limited amount of tickets are available now: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

Your $60 class fee includes materials and lunch. All necessary tools & supplies will be provided.

When: Saturday, June 19 | 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: The Albee House - 13018 Maple Ave, Blue Island

Learn how to make your very own market basket at our Basketry Workshop hosted by Joyce Sheldon! A limited amount of tickets are available now: https://blue-island-historical-society.square.site

Your $60 class fee includes materials and lunch. All necessary tools & supplies will be provided.

When: Saturday, June 19 | 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: The Albee House - 13018 Maple Ave, Blue Island

We headed over to House to Home in nearby Palos Heights to capture some footage of local artist Mark Vancura working on ...
05/25/2021

We headed over to House to Home in nearby Palos Heights to capture some footage of local artist Mark Vancura working on a mosaic fireplace surround that will soon make its way to the Henry Klein House as a part of their restoration effort.

While the filmed footage will make the cut for our latest Virtual House Walk film on the Klein house, we figured we'd snap a few pictures of Mark's progress for everyone to enjoy in the meantime! The mosaic is based on a piece originally found in another George Maher-designed home in Chicago, now in The Art Institute of Chicago's collection.

We didn’t let the score dampen yesterday’s postgame mood! Catch the next Brewmasters game - our home opener against the ...
05/23/2021

We didn’t let the score dampen yesterday’s postgame mood! Catch the next Brewmasters game - our home opener against the Deep River Grinders - on June 26 at 2 pm at historic Memorial Park.

The Blue Island Brewmasters open the 2021 campaign on the road against the Chicago Salmon Vintage Base Ball Club this Sa...
05/20/2021

The Blue Island Brewmasters open the 2021 campaign on the road against the Chicago Salmon Vintage Base Ball Club this Saturday at 1 p.m.!

Want to make the trip? Here's where we'll be playing:
Historic Methodist Campground
1900 E Algonquin Rd, Des Plaines, Illinois

The Blue Island Brewmasters open the 2021 campaign on the road against the Chicago Salmon Vintage Base Ball Club this Saturday at 1 p.m.!

Want to make the trip? Here's where we'll be playing:
Historic Methodist Campground
1900 E Algonquin Rd, Des Plaines, Illinois

On this day in 1896...The largest fire in our city's history tore through a section of Blue Island's business district, ...
05/18/2021

On this day in 1896...

The largest fire in our city's history tore through a section of Blue Island's business district, leveling three blocks of buildings and residences. While the fire raged only 50 feet from the offices of the Blue Island Sun, an extra was printed detailing the story - and you can read that article here:

https://archive.org/details/firsthundredyear00volp/page/270/mode/2up

On this day in 1896...

The largest fire in our city's history tore through a section of Blue Island's business district, leveling three blocks of buildings and residences. While the fire raged only 50 feet from the offices of the Blue Island Sun, an extra was printed detailing the story - and you can read that article here:

https://archive.org/details/firsthundredyear00volp/page/270/mode/2up

Yesterday was #chicagoriverday in Blue Island, with one of our most successful cleanup efforts yet! Thanks to all of the...
05/09/2021

Yesterday was #chicagoriverday in Blue Island, with one of our most successful cleanup efforts yet! Thanks to all of the volunteers who came out to give our waterfall and the surrounding areas some much needed love, and thanks to our partners for making this possible: Blue Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Blue Island Arts Alliance, and most importantly the organizers of this region-wide event - Friends of the Chicago River.

Be like Joe! Help us keep our waterway and waterfall park clean and clear of trash by volunteering for Chicago River Day...
05/06/2021

Be like Joe! Help us keep our waterway and waterfall park clean and clear of trash by volunteering for Chicago River Day in Blue Island this Saturday.

WHERE: SEPA Station #3 (Waterfall Park), intersection of Fulton and Chatham Streets
WHEN: 9 a.m. - noon

Bring a shovel if you want to help with weeding the gardens at the site. We also encourage you to wear clothes and shoes that you don't mind getting dirty - and don't forget your gloves!

Be like Joe! Help us keep our waterway and waterfall park clean and clear of trash by volunteering for Chicago River Day in Blue Island this Saturday.

WHERE: SEPA Station #3 (Waterfall Park), intersection of Fulton and Chatham Streets
WHEN: 9 a.m. - noon

Bring a shovel if you want to help with weeding the gardens at the site. We also encourage you to wear clothes and shoes that you don't mind getting dirty - and don't forget your gloves!

The aftermath of a large fire that took place on January 24, 1908. This view is from the bottom of the hill to the south...
05/04/2021

The aftermath of a large fire that took place on January 24, 1908. This view is from the bottom of the hill to the south of Vermont Street, looking northwest toward the intersection of Western Avenue and Vermont.

Thanks to some research from our friend Ken Jellema, we think we were able to confirm the details of this fire from the articles below - we highly suggest the read! The last article depicts a fire that broke out just 4 days later at another Nelson Morris & Co. facility in Kansas City. Fewer than 3 years after that, seen in the last image, a more well-known fire started in yet another Nelson Morris & Co. plant at the Union Stockyards in Chicago, killing 21 firefighters and 3 civilians.

(Photograph courtesy of BIHS member Bill Klein)

Chicago River Day in Blue Island is right around the corner! Join us at the waterfall (corner of Irving and Fulton) on S...
04/29/2021

Chicago River Day in Blue Island is right around the corner! Join us at the waterfall (corner of Irving and Fulton) on Saturday, May 8 from 9 a.m. - noon. Registration is necessary! Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3qfbsrK

Chicago River Day in Blue Island is right around the corner! Join us at the waterfall (corner of Irving and Fulton) on Saturday, May 8 from 9 a.m. - noon. Registration is necessary! Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3qfbsrK

We’re almost done shooting and editing our teaser trailer for the upcoming Virtual House Walk episode on the Henry Klein...
04/27/2021

We’re almost done shooting and editing our teaser trailer for the upcoming Virtual House Walk episode on the Henry Klein House! Thanks again to our friend, and BIHS member, Bill Klein for lending us some amazing family photos from his extensive collection for this project.

We believe this home at 12621 (originally 581) Greenwood Ave was built by Charles Mattson around 1893. According to the ...
04/22/2021

We believe this home at 12621 (originally 581) Greenwood Ave was built by Charles Mattson around 1893. According to the records we've found, many of which have conflicting dates as to when Charles was born and arrived in the US, we're pretty sure Mattson was born in Sweden around 1860 and sailed to America in 1882 at the age of 22 aboard the SS Catalonia, leaving from Liverpool and arriving in Boston. We even found a bit of information on that ship on Wikipedia:

“The SS Catalonia was built in 1881 in Glasgow by J. & G. Thomson & Co. The Cunard Line returned the SS Abyssinia after her last voyage in 1880 as payment toward the building of the SS Catalonia and the SS Servia. SS Catalonia was launched on 14 May 1881 and began her maiden voyage on 6 August, sailing from Liverpool to Queenstown to New York City. Until 1899, the ship operated between Liverpool and Boston, with the exception of two other trips to New York (besides the maiden voyage). The ship measured 429.6 feet by 43 feet with 4,481 gross tonnage and could carry 200 first-class passengers and 1,500 third-class passengers.”

Within 5 years, Charles had made his way to Blue Island, eventually marrying Mathilda Olson in 1887. The couple had 6 children: George, Arthur, Elmer, Edith, Theodor, and Olga.

Charles was a laborer for many years in the local brick making industry, and eventually landed a job as a watchman for one of the local railroads. Although he was working as a laborer, we believe it was his employment as a brick maker that made it possible for him to appoint his home with such a substantial amount of decorative and face brick.

We don’t know anything of his later years, other than that he lived them out in Blue Island - likely in his home of more than 50 years - passing away in May of 1949 at the age of 89. His wife Mathilda preceded him in death in September of 1943, with the couple’s address still listed as 12621 Greenwood.

Thanks to the efforts of BIHS board member Fred Bilotto, we were able to save this piece from the old Borden's complex f...
04/19/2021

Thanks to the efforts of BIHS board member Fred Bilotto, we were able to save this piece from the old Borden's complex from the wrecking ball!

Borden built a large distribution plant in Blue Island in 1930 at 11957 Vincennes. According to the book The First Hundred Years, approximately 70 milk routes operated out of this branch by 1935, serving Chicago as far north as 83rd Street, Homewood to the south, and as far west as Palos Park. As of recently, the complex has been demolished following decades of deterioration.

*Second image by Stephanie Barto via Flickr

Address

13018 Maple Ave
Blue Island, IL
60406

Take the Metra to BIHS! All transit info here: http://bit.ly/BITrans

General information

• OUR COLLECTION: Great Blue Island artifacts fill our displays and our home at the Albee House on Maple Avenue • BLUE ISLAND HISTORY: The quaint town was established in 1835 as a way station for Chicago travelers on the historic Vincennes Trail. Many of the first settlers were tavern and general store keepers, blacksmiths and wagoneers. Blue Island's early industry was lodging and livestock trading. By 1858, German settlers had established four breweries in the growing city, and in the 1870s, the Rock Island Railroad marked the beginning of Blue Island's transformation into a trade hub. Blue Island's early 20th century history was dominated by heavy industry-food processing, oil refining, brick making and railroads. In the later half of the century, much of the city's heavy industry was replaced with service and retail businesses. Blue Island is a rich, historic city where friendly people do business, raise families, and display pride in their community. If you have any questions or would like to request information, please email us at [email protected]

Telephone

(708) 371-8546

Products

• MEMBERSHIP:
Become a member of the Blue Island Historical Society today.
Sign up online: https://blueislandhistoricalsociety.com/become-a-member/

Membership Benefits:
-Be the first to know about BIHS events, including history talks & holiday teas.
-Newsletters mailed to your home 4 times a year.
-Blue Island history comes alive through our presentations.
-Get involved in your community.


• MONTHLY EVENTS:
Including presentations, tea parties, & more! See our "Events" tab for upcoming events or visit https://blueislandhistoricalsociety.com

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Located in the 141 year-old Albee House at 13018 Maple Avenue, BIHS sponsors events and presentations throughout the year. Become a member! http://blueislandhistoricalsociety.com/become-a-member/

Nearby museums

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Sponsored by the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Pullman Civic Organization, the Pullman Historic House Tour is back, celebrating 48 years of one of Chicago’s longest running home tours October 9th and 10th, 2021, from 11am-5pm. Come witness the rebirth of a Victorian-era town, once on the outskirts of the city, then absorbed into Chicago in 1889. Visitors will be able to tour a selection of private rowhomes and buildings, like the Greenstone Church, all designed by master architect Solon Beman. This Chicago neighborhood features iconic architecture unlike anywhere else in the mid-west, and holds a magnitude of labor and civic history that impacts our nation still today. Employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company lived a modern lifestyle within the community designed for them. The entire town was built with some of the most advanced comforts of the era (plumbing, electricity, gas), mirroring the great technical achievements of the factory itself. Most of the homes have been continuously occupied since the 1880s. Some remain close to their original design, while others have been fully renovated. Over the years, the industrial factory site suffered through neglect, fires and unforgiving Chicago weather. A group of passionate and talented neighbors decided to band together and save both the site and the town through conservation and preservation. In 2015, President Barack Obama designated Pullman a National Monument, solidifying its importance. Ensuring it would be preserved for generations to come, The National Parks Service has completed a massive overhaul of the existing factory site, which had been shuttered for decades. The jewel of the site, the towering Administration Building, will be opening on Labor Day weekend, housing the new Pullman National Monument Visitor Center, entry is free and no ticket is required. This gives guests of House Tour the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in history, stepping back in time, experiencing both the homes and the factory site as an employee of the Pullman Palace Car Company would have. $25 for Adults, $20 for Seniors / Advance tickets $17-$20, available online here (https://www.eventbrite.com/.../historic-pullman-house...) or call 773-785-8901 / For more information, please call our House Tour Information Line 773-785-8901 or visit The Historic Pullman Foundation at https://www.pullmanil.org/.../48th-annual.../2021-10-09/ Poster art by Pullman's own, graphic artist Russell Baltes.
Some pics of the game I took today.
A framed rendering of the original Libby’s Plant on Western Avenue....
I was born at St. Francis Hospital in 1953. I just read that it has shut its doors. Sad.
Who was Everett F. Kerr? And why was the middle school named after him? We are stumped and interested in learning more. Thank you!
1932 - St. Benedict School - 8th Grade Graduation Father Gross, Pastor, center. George Bastian, Mary Belush, June Benger, Leona Besancon, Raymond Besancon, Eugene Cahill, Emelia Chiyda, Evelyn Costello, Francis Cure, Patricia Dannis, Prudence DiNovo, John Ernst, Elizabeth Ernst, John Fiscek, Billy Feason, Leona Gaertner, William Gaertner, Clarence Gerdes, Gerald Gerdes, Loretta Glim, John Intribus, Edward Knorr, Bernadette Kovalesky, Eleanor Kuruzar, James Lally, Mildred Lawrence, Eileen Lusson, Harry Lyons, Marian Maday, Rosemary Malley, Bernard McCanna, Mary Marino, Elizabeth Mueller, Josephine Oleksa, Merrill Peloquin, Veronica Pepping, Doris Remkus, Margaret Roach, Margaret Schroeder, Irene Simkins, Lillian Simkins, Carol Simon, Stella Sitartz, Peter Somkovic, Selma Steinweg, Mildred Stump, Hurbert Tebo, Vivian Vandenberg, Margaret Weiland, Eleanor Wozney,
Blue Island City Directories, June 1897 and 1961
1932 - St. Benedict School - 8th Grade Graduation Father Gross, Pastor, center. George Bastian, Mary Belush, June Benger, Leona Besancon, Raymond Besancon, Eugene Cahill, Emelia Chiyda, Evelyn Costello, Francis Cure, Patricia Dannis, Prudence DiNovo, John Ernst, Elizabeth Ernst, John Fiscek, Billy Feason, Leona Gaertner, William Gaertner, Clarence Gerdes, Gerald Gerdes, Loretta Glim, John Intribus, Edward Knorr, Bernadette Kovalesky, Eleanor Kuruzar, James Lally, Mildred Lawrence, Eileen Lusson, Harry Lyons, Marian Maday, Rosemary Malley, Bernard McCanna, Mary Marino, Elizabeth Mueller, Josephine Oleksa, Merrill Peloquin, Veronica Pepping, Doris Remkus, Margaret Roach, Margaret Schroeder, Irene Simkins, Lillian Simkins, Carol Simon, Stella Sitartz, Peter Somkovic, Selma Steinweg, Mildred Stump, Hurbert Tebo, Vivian Vandenberg, Margaret Weiland, Eleanor Wozney,
1928 - St. Benedict School - Grade 5
While going through the BI Public Library digital archives of Sun Standards I came across this article from June 25, 1991. Do you have any pictures of this unfortunately lost building?
When was the first 4th of July parade in Blue Island, and who organized it?
Any historical information on the look-alike house on 120th Place between Gregory and Irving--2300 block? The houses are on the north side of the street and look like town houses. Who built them and why? Were they for a specific group of people? Any information is appreciated. I have been requesting information for a long time now.