Ridge Historical Society

Ridge Historical Society RHS is non-profit historical society and archive for the Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods on Chicago's southwest side.
(3)

RHS was founded in 1971 and is located in a historic mansion on the ridge, the Graver-Driscoll House, located on Longwood Drive, the major thoroughfare which runs the length of the ridge. RHS is primarily volunteer-driven, with a Board of Directors elected annually by the membership. RHS has accumulated a vast variety of materials from the earliest recorded history of the area to present times. Ho

RHS was founded in 1971 and is located in a historic mansion on the ridge, the Graver-Driscoll House, located on Longwood Drive, the major thoroughfare which runs the length of the ridge. RHS is primarily volunteer-driven, with a Board of Directors elected annually by the membership. RHS has accumulated a vast variety of materials from the earliest recorded history of the area to present times. Ho

Operating as usual

The Ridge Historical Society extends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of long-time Morgan Park reside...
07/08/2021

The Ridge Historical Society extends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of long-time Morgan Park resident Bill Barnhart who passed away in Florida on July 3.

Bill Barnhart, 74, was known for his long career as an expert in financial markets with the Chicago Tribune, CLTV cable news, and other media outlets. In the Ridge communities, he was known as a friend and neighbor.

Bill loved history as much as finance – he and his wife Kate Eaton were supporters of RHS for many years. Bill not only made great use of the RHS collection for research and writing, he served as RHS President in the early 2000s.

In 2010, he published “John Paul Stevens – An Independent Life,” the biography of another famous Beverly resident, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Bill gave a standing-room-only presentation and book signing at RHS.

Bill also published “Kerner: The Conflict of Intangible Rights,” in 1999, about the past Illinois governor whose notable achievements were eclipsed by his conviction and incarceration for tax evasion and other charges.

Bill Barnhart’s contributions were greatly appreciated and will be very much missed. May he rest in peace.

The Ridge Historical Society extends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of long-time Morgan Park resident Bill Barnhart who passed away in Florida on July 3.

Bill Barnhart, 74, was known for his long career as an expert in financial markets with the Chicago Tribune, CLTV cable news, and other media outlets. In the Ridge communities, he was known as a friend and neighbor.

Bill loved history as much as finance – he and his wife Kate Eaton were supporters of RHS for many years. Bill not only made great use of the RHS collection for research and writing, he served as RHS President in the early 2000s.

In 2010, he published “John Paul Stevens – An Independent Life,” the biography of another famous Beverly resident, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Bill gave a standing-room-only presentation and book signing at RHS.

Bill also published “Kerner: The Conflict of Intangible Rights,” in 1999, about the past Illinois governor whose notable achievements were eclipsed by his conviction and incarceration for tax evasion and other charges.

Bill Barnhart’s contributions were greatly appreciated and will be very much missed. May he rest in peace.

Happy Fourth of July from the Ridge Historical Society! How did the residents of the Ridge celebrate one hundred years a...
07/04/2021

Happy Fourth of July from the Ridge Historical Society!

How did the residents of the Ridge celebrate one hundred years ago? According to the July 8, 1921 Englewood Times newspaper and our intrepid reporter Mrs. Pauline F. Palmer:

“The Ridge enjoyed a corking good Fourth and the field park and swimming pool at 97th Street and Longwood Drive was crowded all day. The baseball games and water sports attracted much attention. Many guests from adjoining suburbs were present and were pleased at the comfortable pleasures enjoyed by all.”

Mrs. Palmer is referring to the original Ridge Park, which was established in 1911 – 12. The architect John Todd Hetherington, who designed many fine homes in Beverly and Morgan Park, was a member of the Ridge Park commissioners. The board persuaded Hetherington to design the park. His creation included a small field house, outdoor swimming pool, running track and sports fields, surrounded by trees, shrubbery, flowers and walks.

In 1929, Hetherington, now in partnership with his son Murray D. Hetherington, designed the current field house, which enclosed the pool, and used the original fieldhouse as the auditorium.

And in case anyone thinks that porch and lawn concerts are anything new, because of the pandemic, that is not so.

Mrs. Palmer also reported that for the holiday one hundred years ago:

“About one hundred guests enjoyed the out-door street dance and sing at 94th Street and Pleasant Avenue, given by Miss Edna Wiggins of 9372 Longwood Drive on Tuesday evening. A four-piece orchestra furnished the music and the young people all enjoyed the novel way in which the party had been planned. Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Christian, 9300 Longwood Drive, and Mrs. Mitchell of Memphis, Tennessee, chaperoned the dance. Refreshments were served.”

Happy Fourth of July from the Ridge Historical Society!

How did the residents of the Ridge celebrate one hundred years ago? According to the July 8, 1921 Englewood Times newspaper and our intrepid reporter Mrs. Pauline F. Palmer:

“The Ridge enjoyed a corking good Fourth and the field park and swimming pool at 97th Street and Longwood Drive was crowded all day. The baseball games and water sports attracted much attention. Many guests from adjoining suburbs were present and were pleased at the comfortable pleasures enjoyed by all.”

Mrs. Palmer is referring to the original Ridge Park, which was established in 1911 – 12. The architect John Todd Hetherington, who designed many fine homes in Beverly and Morgan Park, was a member of the Ridge Park commissioners. The board persuaded Hetherington to design the park. His creation included a small field house, outdoor swimming pool, running track and sports fields, surrounded by trees, shrubbery, flowers and walks.

In 1929, Hetherington, now in partnership with his son Murray D. Hetherington, designed the current field house, which enclosed the pool, and used the original fieldhouse as the auditorium.

And in case anyone thinks that porch and lawn concerts are anything new, because of the pandemic, that is not so.

Mrs. Palmer also reported that for the holiday one hundred years ago:

“About one hundred guests enjoyed the out-door street dance and sing at 94th Street and Pleasant Avenue, given by Miss Edna Wiggins of 9372 Longwood Drive on Tuesday evening. A four-piece orchestra furnished the music and the young people all enjoyed the novel way in which the party had been planned. Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Christian, 9300 Longwood Drive, and Mrs. Mitchell of Memphis, Tennessee, chaperoned the dance. Refreshments were served.”

The Ridge Historical SocietyNative Americans and the Blue Island Ridge – Part 8: Relationship to the LandBy Carol FlynnT...
07/03/2021

The Ridge Historical Society
Native Americans and the Blue Island Ridge – Part 8: Relationship to the Land
By Carol Flynn

This series is looking at the history of Native Americans on the Ridge in the context of developing Land Acknowledgement Statements, which are declarations recognizing that Indigenous Peoples lived on this land for thousands of years before the European settlers arrived.

As with every aspect of this topic, the relationship that Native Americans had with the land was complex. Indians were natural environmentalists, stemming from their spirituality. Customs and lifestyles varied from group to group, but in general, the Indigenous people considered the land and all things in nature as gifts from a sacred Creator being or force, and were grateful and humble for these gifts.

In this value system, humans were not masters of the natural world, but rather they were a part of the system like other animals and plants. There were mutual benefits for plants and animals to exist together in an environment. A human being did not exist separately from the air he breathed, or the water he drank, or the plants he ate, or the animals whose furs clothed him, or the bark of the tree that was used to make his canoe.

According to John Low, Ph.D., J.D., a professor at Ohio State University, who is an enrolled citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, and was interviewed by RHS:

“Our ancestors lived for thousands of years utilizing the resources around them and securing a balance in their use of the environment. Our traditional teachings emphasize that we are but one part of the Universe and that to live in balance with the other beings of the world we must live in a way that minimizes waste and honors the sacrifices that plants and animals make for our continued existence.

“Our songs, stories and spirituality all teach the ways for us to live in harmony with each other and the world around us.”

Comments from other Native Americans in the past support Dr. Low’s statements:

“Indians and non-Indians alike [must] see ourselves as part of the earth, not as an enemy from the outside who tries to impose its will on it. Because we … also know that, being a living part of the earth, we cannot harm any part of her without hurting ourselves.” – Lame Deer, Lakota medicine man

“The Great Spirit made the flowers, the streams, the pines, the cedars—takes care of them. . . . He takes care of me, waters me, feeds me, makes me live with plants and animals as one of them. . . . All of nature is in us, all of us is in nature.” – Black Elk, Lakota medicine man

Although their efforts were not perfect, the lifestyles of most Native American tribes were excellent examples of sustainability. Some tribes, like the Iroquois, were fierce hunters, but they respected their prey, such as deer and bison, and took care not to overhunt. Other tribes who relied on crops developed elaborate irrigation systems and other practices to keep the land fertile. They cut down trees sparingly.

There is a misperception that Native Americans did not understand the concept of land ownership or personal possessions. This is not true. Different tribes practiced different customs and some had very complex systems and rules concerning possessions.

They certainly established boundaries of tribal lands for hunting, fishing, and growing crops. Within tribes, while they considered the land to be a communal resource, they respected personal boundaries of homes and family plots and possessions. Possessions were something you could take with you – horses, clothing, food, tools, ceremonial items. You could not take the land and nature with you – therefore no one could really “own” it.

What European settlers considered an unsettled, nomadic lifestyle for some Indians was actually not aimless wandering at all. The Indians rotated their living arrangements among several preferred locations to take advantage of seasonal bounties for hunting and harvesting food plants. It was an environmentally efficient way to live. Rather than building permanent structures and fences, and trying to force the environment and land to conform to their needs and wants, they followed the seasons and the plentiful resources available at different places at different times.

Next: The life of the Native Americans in the Blue Island Ridge area.

June is National Pollinators Month. The purpose is to remind us how important bees and other insects, and birds and bats...
06/30/2021
No bugs, no food: Educators putting word out about importance of pollinators

June is National Pollinators Month. The purpose is to remind us how important bees and other insects, and birds and bats, are for pollinating crops and plants, and to encourage people to plant "pollinator gardens" to provide habitat and food for some of these declining species.

“Over 150 crops need pollinators to reproduce. Without pollinators we wouldn’t have many of the foods we enjoy today, such as apples, pears and pumpkins, that we find at the grocery store.”

The Ridge Historical SocietyChicago LandmarksBy Carol FlynnEveryone will have their favorite landmarks in Chicago to go ...
06/29/2021

The Ridge Historical Society
Chicago Landmarks
By Carol Flynn

Everyone will have their favorite landmarks in Chicago to go on a list like this one. And while I agree these are all interesting sites, not all of them would be in my top five.

These would be my choices:

Pullman Historic area – included in the list, definitely one of the most historically fascinating and important areas in the city.

The Chicago Water Tower at 806 North Michigan Avenue.

The Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright at 5757 S. Woodlawn Avenue.

The Givins Beverly Castle at 103rd and Longwood Drive. This is the ONLY castle in the city!

The final one is up for grabs – there are so many interesting places to choose from. Cemeteries like Graceland or Oak Woods. Sculptures like Lorado Taft’s Fountain of Time. Lincoln Park or Grant Park or Jackson Park. The Cultural Center, the Tribune Tower, Sears (Willis) Tower. The old Stockyards Gate. The Haymarket monument. Buckingham Fountain. On and on.

The original list includes a building in Garfield Park. A number of parks have very important old buildings. Sherman Park’s field house was designed by the famous Daniel Burnham. The park is named for Burnham’s father-in-law, John B. Sherman, the founder of the Chicago Union Stockyards. The landscaping was done by Frederick Law Olmsted. In addition, the Sherman Park field house also has priceless murals completed during the 1930s through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). (Sherman also owned much of the land that is now Dan Ryan Woods and used the land for an experimental stock farm. After his death, the land was eventually sold to Cook County for the forest preserves.)

I am not up on industrial design like the bridge they mention in this article, but there are numerous bridges and industrial design elements for people to choose from – I will let others comment on that.

https://kevsbest.com/landmarks-in-chicago/amp/?fbclid=IwAR2pDDA57BWfo9jsJ7QGZRZe1RODUcWADU3mynJNSi8pIcse-sMgKeEPRtU

The Ridge Historical SocietyNative Americans and the Blue Island Ridge – Part 7: The Calumet RegionBy Carol FlynnThe Blu...
06/23/2021

The Ridge Historical Society
Native Americans and the Blue Island Ridge – Part 7: The Calumet Region
By Carol Flynn

The Blue Island Ridge, a prehistoric landmass formed by glacier activity thousands of years ago, and the surrounding land, is part of the Calumet Region at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The geography of the area made it important for Native Americans and later European settlers for several reasons.

First, there was an abundant supply of fresh water, and the area abounded with a natural diversity of plants and wildlife, especially during seasonal migrations. Included were buffalo and deer and many small species of game animals, and birds and waterfowl. Fur-bearing animals such as beaver, muskrats, and mink were numerous. Bears were in the area, and predators such as wolves, lynx, bobcats, and the occasional mountain lion.

Wild fruit and nut trees and bushes were plentiful – plums, berries, walnuts, etc. Forests of trees, primarily oak, provided wood, and elm and birch bark made good shelters and canoes.

In addition to Lake Michigan, the system of small lakes (Calumet, Wolf) and rivers and streams (the Calumet rivers, Stony Creek) in the southern section of what is now the city of Chicago teemed with fish – trout, white fish, pike, etc.

The second important purpose was its vital location for transportation and trade. The system of waterways and seasonal wetlands west of Lake Michigan offered portages between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River to the west. This was vital in connecting the East Coast to the Midwest, and then the Mississippi ran south all the way to what we call the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the most important early portages was the Chicago Portage.

Also, the Cal-Sag Channel was built to give a boost to other waterways in the system and that will be discussed further in a future post.

In today’s world of air travel, these systems may not seem so important. But in the past, when shipping ruled, long before there were even railroads, a route like the Chicago Portage or the Cal-Sag Channel was very critical.

Of course, the Native Americans knew about the Chicago Portage and used it for thousands of years, and were the ones who showed it to the European explorers. The idea that white settlers “discovered” the portage system is not accurate. They exploited the system shown to them by the Indigenous People to further settlement and development.

And it was a Native American who recommeded the building of the Cal-Sag Channel.

Many overland trails also passed through the area. Geographers have identified seven major trails that ran through the Calumet region, and many smaller trails have been lost to development. Some of the trails intersected right at the southern tip of the island, which is now where Western Avenue crosses the Cal-Sag Channel. Many of these trails developed into major roadways today.

The Calumet region was inhabited by multiple Native American groups, predominantly the Illinois and Miami, who were then replaced by the Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo, and ultimately the Potawatomi established the dominant presence, and were the major inhabitants in the 1830s when the land was turned over to the U.S. government and the Indians left the area.

An important point to consider is the Native American concept of “land ownership” and we will discuss this in the next section, and begin to explore the life of the indigenous people of the Calumet region, which is incredibly complex and fascinating.

06/20/2021
The Ridge Historical SocietyNative Americans and the Blue Island Ridge – Part 6: More Wars and More TreatiesBy Carol Fly...
06/19/2021

The Ridge Historical Society
Native Americans and the Blue Island Ridge – Part 6: More Wars and More Treaties
By Carol Flynn

The War of 1812 saw the beginning of the end of the Native American presence in Chicago. After U.S. military and settlers were killed, and Fort Dearborn was burned down, by Potawatomi warriors in the Battle of Fort Dearborn, the U.S. government became determined to remove Indians from the area to allow further settlement to go on unimpeded. “Chicago” was strategically located for transportation and trade, and the land surrounding it was rich for farmland.

Fort Dearborn was rebuilt in 1816. In the Treaty of St. Louis signed in 1816, the Council of Three Fires (the Ojibwa, Odawa, and Potawatomi, although only the Potawatomi were living in the Chicago area) gave up all claims to a 20-mile strip of land that included the Chicago Portage connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is on this land now.

“Indian boundary lines” which started at the lake and ran southwest were established on either side of this strip of land. The deal with the Indians was that white settlers were permitted to settle safely within the lines. The southern line ran just below the southern tip of the Blue Island Ridge, placing the lands of the Ridge communities, that is, today’s communities of Beverly Hills, Morgan Park, Washington Heights, and Mount Greenwood, and the City of Blue Island, within the settlers’ territory.

Although the “Illinois Territory” was first claimed for the developing U.S. during the Revolutionary War, this made it official that the Blue Island Ridge was under the control of the U.S. government, slated for settlement by U.S. citizens, and was no longer under the control of Native Americans.

In 1821, the first Treaty of Chicago was signed by the U.S. government and the Council of Three Fires. This affected the Chicago area because among the land turned over to the U.S. government was an easement between Detroit and Chicago around the southern coast of Lake Michigan.

The Black Hawk War occurred in 1832. Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk people, led a group of Sauk, Fox and Kickapoo into the Illinois Territory from Iowa. Their motives were assumed to be hostile, and the U.S. military opened fire on a delegation of the group, inciting the “war.” Most of the Potawatomi people did their best to avoid the conflict. Some other tribes took sides for or against the U.S. The Native Americans were defeated.

One notable fact from the Black Hawk War was that Abraham Lincoln served in the U.S. military at this time, stationed in Wisconsin, but he never saw combat.

The Black Hawk War culminated in the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, in which the U.S. government took over total control of certain Native American lands west of Lake Michigan, including the Chicago area. The Potawatomi received promises of cash payments and tracts of land west of the Mississippi River.

In 1835, five-hundred Potawatomi warriors gathered in full dress and danced the last recorded war dance in the Chicago area. The majority of the Indians left the area after that. Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837.

The purpose of these first six installments of this series was to give a very brief historical background as context for the history of Native Americans on the Ridge. We will now turn our attention to the Native Americans who lived on and around the Blue Island Ridge up to the 1830s.

Address

10621 S Seeley Ave
Chicago, IL
60643

General information

Contact RHS at 773-881-1675 or [email protected]

Opening Hours

Tuesday 12pm - 4pm
Wednesday 9:30am - 3pm
Friday 9am - 12pm

Telephone

(773) 881-1675

Products

Membership categories:
Student under 18 - $10 per year
Individual - $25
Family - $50
Contributor - $100
Patron - $150
Guarantor - $500
The membership year runs January through December, and membership includes the quarterly RHS newsletter, the Ridge Historical Society Record, and discounts on research and program fees. Several books are available; house history research; paver brick program and educational and entertaining programs and exhibits;

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Ridge Historical Society posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Ridge Historical Society:

Category

Nearby museums


Comments

Hi. I have been taking care of the grave of Robert "Pony Bob" Haslam at Mt. Greenwood cemetery for about a dozen years. He is probably the best known of the Pony Express riders and his story is far more than I could fit in here. Despite being injured by attacking Indians he finished his leg of the run to deliver Lincoln's Inaugural address to California, and by doing so may have helped shape the history of this country. When I began caring for Pony Bob's grave, it seemed likely to me that his grave hadn't been cared for since his widow passed away in 1954. (Bob married much younger than his own age, and his widow remarried, but after her 2nd husband passed she had the current gravestone installed for Pony Bob, so I expect she also cared for his grave.) Bob had no children of his own (at least officially) and all his siblings were sisters whose names would have changed upon marriage, so if there are any of Bob's relations anywhere - even distant ones - their last names would be different. In short, Bob has no known or provable family alive today to care for his grave. It's an hour's drive for me to get to Mt. Greenwood Cemetery to care for his grave, and that used not to be a problem. But over the years I've become a father and had other new responsibilities, so I have only been able to trim around and plant flowers at Bob's grave three times a year for a while now - before Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Bob's grave is said to be the cemetery's biggest draw for visitors. Now I am moving hundreds of miles south and it will be pretty much impossible for me to do this any longer. Bob had an interesting life but in his last several years this icon of American history was poor and sickly, living in a cheap cold-water apartment. Five floors up with no elevator, paralyzed by a stroke, he was not able to go anyplace and a stair climb like that certainly discouraged visitors. He deserves better than to be forgotten, and that is what prompted me to begin caring for his grave. Back in the day, it was considered an honor to be able to do even a small favor for a Pony Express Rider. To care for the grave of the greatest of them all has been and is an honor and privilege. I am hoping I can find someone more local to the cemetery to take over the task of maintaining his grave. Perhaps the Society itself could do this, rotating the task among interested members, so that one person moving away will not cause a problem. It is not often a chance like this comes someone's way... is anyone up for the responsibility and honor?
Hi. Is 10621 S. Seeley Ave. the mailing address? Thanks Pat
Carol Flynn Iwas at the begining of BAPA about 1960 with Sherm Swanson,Mr.Shapiro,Gerald Gorman,Mr Grobel. call me at 239-731 1808 for the rest of the story. Ft Meyers Fl.
Dear Carol, I am so excited that you did all that research. We were married on April 16th 1966. I was helping my three babies to get into the car and my ring was loose because of the cold. It flew off my finger and landed in the snow. Those babies are now 49, 50 and 51 yrs old. We had been visiting my Grandmother and were on our way home. We lived in Oak Forest at the time. Soon after we got a job transfer to Indiana and a few years later to Texas. I am 75 now and we have lived in Texas for the last 30 some years. I have never dreamed that I would have a chance to get my ring back. My husband took my engagement ring and had the stone reset in a different band for me. I lost that one many years later. It had fallen into the folds of the sofa and was gone for several years. My daughter took that old sofa when she got her first apartment. On day her boyfriend, who is now her husband for 21 yrs, was searching for the TV remote, and pushed his hand into the recesses of the sofa and found my ring. I thought that was a miracle, but this tops it all. If you could mail it to me I will reimburse you for the postage. I would also love to be able to send a thank you note to the current owners of my grandmother's house. Thank you...Karen Berk Autenrieth message me again and I will provide you with my address and phone number.
Has anyone ever done an archeological dig on the Morgan property?
On a tiny, forgotten patch of land, simply called the "Memorial Triangle," a small memorial to WWI veterans sits and waits. It's not a large tribute at 112th and Lothair in the Morgan Park neighborhood. Rather, it is an inscribed boulder that was placed after the war to honor the seven graduates of Morgan Park Military Academy who gave their lives in the Great War. For years, it was the annual gathering place for a huge celebration of what was then called Armistice Day on November 11th. In 1925, over 2,500 attended the ceremony where the "Memorial Stone" was rededicated. Although difficult to read now, the wording on the stone states: "In honor of the sons of Morgan Park who served in the World War." Perhaps no other high school in America contributed more than Morgan Park Military Academy during WWII. Approximately 875 graduates and staff served in the military and 48 never made it home. If you're ever in the area, stop by and visit the "Memorial Boulder." While the boulder may be forgotten, the memory of the veterans it honors never will be...
Tracy Ave vs. Tracy the Neighborhood?: Researching something on the North side, stumbled on a 1906 Blue Book (see Preface, page 17: http://livinghistoryofillinois.com/pdf_files/1906%20Chicago%20Blue%20Book.pdf), "a compilation of about twenty-four thousand names of the most prominent householders in Chicago and suburbs within a thirty mile radius." I knew 103rd Street was formerly-known as "Tracy Avenue." So was that area of today's Beverly known simply then as Tracy? Sort of like it is known as Beverly now, a neighborhood?
Hi! I've been trying to connect to the RHS website and it appears to be down! Just thought you would like to know!
If you attended my presentation on Chicago Railroad History at RHS, I mentioned our new poster. Its now for sale online:
The second season for Concerts at the Castle is now under way! Next up is the Charles Heath Quartet on Sat, Nov 30 @ 7pm. Proceeds for all concerts in this series benefit the Givins Beverly Castle Building Fund. Details are at www.concertsatthecastle.org.
What station was this one? my source: Ebay