Hyde Park Historical Society

Hyde Park Historical Society The Society's objective is to record, preserve, promote and teach Hyde Park, Chicago history.
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Welcome to The Hyde Park Historical Society This little building was constructed in 1893 or 1894 by the Chicago City Street Railway. It is believed to be the only building surviving in Chicago that was part of the cable car system. At one time the railway was one of the most extensive cable car systems in the country. The line had moving underground cables, like the San Francisco system, and connected Hyde Park with the downtown area at Roosevelt Road. It, together with the Illinois Central Railroad, the Jackson Park Elevated line and lake steamers, was one of the major modes of transportation between downtown Chicago and the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. The Hyde Park cable car line ran along 55th Street. The cars turned south at what is now Harper Avenue to a half block past 56th street, then east to Lake Park Avenue and then north to 55th Street. The cars then turned west on 55th Street to Cottage Grove Avenue. The main powerhouse was located on the north east corner of Cottage Grove Avenue and 55th Street. The Hyde Park turnaround, which ran on a separate cable was called Cable Court. The loop was in existence for several years before the building was built. While the exact date of the station’s construction is not known, strong evidence indicates it was erected in 1893 or 1894. It is known that the right-of-way was elevated from ground level in 1893, to eliminate grade crossings and facilitate traffic flow for the fair. Construction of the building, which is rubble stone and not brick in the sections that abut the bank of the Illinois Central tracks, indicates it was built at the time of the embankment’s construction or after it, but not before. The building was in place by 1895 because it appears on a map of the area carrying that date. It is not entirely clear whether the building was originally used as a waiting room for passengers or as a rest area for employees. Whatever its intended use, within a few years the cable car system was abandoned. For a time the building served as a terminal and rest stop for the trolley system which replaced the cable cars. However, even that use was short lived and the surface rail lines and trolleys had been completely abandoned by 1906. Beginning about 1898, through 1952, the building was operated as a short order restaurant by members of the Keller family, particularly Turney Keller. Later, it was the home of “Steve’s Lunch.” operated by a Steve Megales, a Greek Immigrant. According to Clyde Watkins, a founder of the Hyde Park Historical Society, the breakfast special featured two eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast and coffee and cost $.42. By 1974 the lunch room had closed and the building was being used as a storage shed for the two-wheeled carts used for delivering newspapers. The building was clearly headed for ruin. At this point, the history of the building and the formation of The Hyde Park Historical Society converge. The idea of a historical society was initially explored by Clyde Watkins and Tom Jensen who called a public forum in the spring of 1975. Dev Bowley, Jean Block and Vicky Ranney were also among the first organizers. The society was officially chartered in January 28, 1977. At first, the Society did not have a home, but Clyde Watkins already had his eye on the building he had been fond of for many years. The Society soon purchased the building for approximately $4,000 and leased the land from the Illinois Central Railroad. Dev Bowley became the chairman of the restoration committee and brought in John Vinci to be the architect for the restoration.

There’s Art in Them Thar Revetments! with William Swislow
06/18/2020
There’s Art in Them Thar Revetments! with William Swislow

There’s Art in Them Thar Revetments! with William Swislow

There’s Art in Them Thar Revetments! Via Zoom Saturday, June 27, 2020 2:00 – 4:00 pm One of the world’s most remarkable outdoor art treasures lies hidden in plain sight along Chicago’s L…

The Hyde Park Historical Society wants to hear from you about how you, your family, and our community are being affected...
03/31/2020

The Hyde Park Historical Society wants to hear from you about how you, your family, and our community are being affected by COVID-19. Please tell us your story so we can add your voice to the history of our community.

Share here: https://forms.gle/bsht7MShgEr558GT8

If you would like to share photographs or a video, or both, please email them to [email protected].

If you would like to submit a diary or journal of your experience, please email it to [email protected] or mail it to the HPHS Headquarters.

Any physical ephemera can be mailed to the Hyde Park Historical Society's Headquarters at 5529 S Lake Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. Anything received will not returned to the sender and will become property of the Historical Society.

*EVENT CANCELLEDHyde Park Book Club: Monday, March 16, 2020
03/12/2020
*EVENT CANCELLED Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, March 16, 2020

*EVENT CANCELLED
Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, March 16, 2020

*EVENT CANCELLED Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, March 16, 2020 Discussions with: Carlo Rotella, author of: The World is Always Coming to an End Pulling together and apart in a Chicago neighborhood Hy…

The Hyde Park Book Club is excited for @Lee Bey to discuss his new book "Southern Exposures" on Monday 2/17 at the histo...
02/13/2020

The Hyde Park Book Club is excited for @Lee Bey to discuss his new book "Southern Exposures" on Monday 2/17 at the historical society!

HPHS Open House Schedule:  January – February/March
01/22/2020
HPHS Open House Schedule for January and February/March

HPHS Open House Schedule: January – February/March

HPHS Open House Schedule: January – February/March The Nancy Hays exhibit is still up, so if you missed the previous dates you can still see it. If you have already seen it, drop in for some…

Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, January 20, 2020
01/16/2020
Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, January 20, 2020

Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, January 20, 2020

Hyde Park Book Club: Monday, January 20, 2020 Discussions with: Jackie Grimshaw, former aide to Harold Washington & Bea Lumpkin, author of:Always Bring A Crowd! and Joy in the Struggle Hyde Par…

Thank you, @South Side Weekly! We love to share the amazing work of Nancy Hays and highlight our collection.
01/10/2020
Discovering Nancy Hays

Thank you, @South Side Weekly! We love to share the amazing work of Nancy Hays and highlight our collection.

hen professional photographers Becca and Mik Major moved into their Kenwood condo at 50th Street and Dorchester Avenue two years ago, the real estate agent told them they were following in distinguished footsteps: another photographer, Nancy Hays, had lived there before them. Up until her death in 2...

Photos of Robie House being declared a national historic landmark on November 27, 1963.
12/30/2019

Photos of Robie House being declared a national historic landmark on November 27, 1963.

richard nickel photos of richard j. daley declaring wright's 1909 robie house (note the boarded windows in second image) a national historic landmark on november 27,1963.
i can't recall if the 1963 "robie house restoration fund" folded cards with photographic image by r. nickel and a. siskind were handed out that day.

photos courtesy of ryerson and burnham, art institute of chicago. folded card courtesy of bld. 51 archive.

12/03/2019

This Giving Tuesday please consider supporting the Hyde Park Historical Society. Every dollar helps put on excellent programs throughout the year and care for our historic cable car building. Thank you!

Announcing the 2020 Hyde Park Book Club
11/29/2019
Announcing the 2020 Hyde Park Book Club

Announcing the 2020 Hyde Park Book Club

Announcing the 2020 Hyde Park Book Club Monday, January 20. Author Bea Lumpkin, Always Bring a Crowd and Joy in the Struggle. Also, Jacky Grimshaw, former aide to Mayor Harold Washington Monday, Fe…

Hyde Park Historical Society Annual Holiday Party
11/28/2019
Hyde Park Historical Society Annual Holiday Party

Hyde Park Historical Society Annual Holiday Party

Hyde Park Historical Society Annual Holiday Party Sunday December 15, 20192-4pm5529 S Lake Park Ave.Please help spread the joy and bring a contribution to our refreshments table! ALL ARE WELCOME!

Hyde Park History Autumn 2019
11/04/2019
Hyde Park History Autumn 2019

Hyde Park History Autumn 2019

Hyde Park History vol.41 number 1-3 Autumn 2019 Welcome to the Point: The Wallach Fountain  

Hyde Park Historical Society's cover photo
11/04/2019

Hyde Park Historical Society's cover photo

Nancy Hays Photo ExhibitAdditional Viewing - 2-4PmSunday, November 10, 2019Sunday, November 24, 2019Sunday, December 8, ...
10/28/2019
Nancy Hays Photo Exhibit

Nancy Hays Photo Exhibit

Additional Viewing - 2-4Pm
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Saturday, December 21-2019

NANCY HAYS PHOTO EXHIBIT A retrospective exhibit of Nancy Hays photographs of Hyde Park in the 1980s. October 27, 2019 at 2pm Hyde Park Historical Society 5529 S Lake Park Ave Chicago, IL…

Big things are happening at the Historical Society this week. In addition to Open House Chicago 2019 this weekend, we ar...
10/15/2019

Big things are happening at the Historical Society this week. In addition to Open House Chicago 2019 this weekend, we are getting our name and address gold leafed onto the door! Thanks to the SECC Chicago for the grant and Heart & Bone Signs for the amazing art and talent!

Join us for Open House Chicago!
10/02/2019
Join us for Open House Chicago!

Join us for Open House Chicago!

Join us for Open House Chicago! The Hyde Park Historical Society historic cable car building will be a featured stop on this year’s Open House Chicago. After 3 years of building repairs, restorati…

09/30/2019

We are excited for our busy October. The Historical Society's building will be apart of Open House Chicago 2019 and the Nancy Campbell Hays Exhibition Opening is happening! Even more things are scheduled for November. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Today at Montgomery Place from 2-4pm is the Hyde Park Stories Event. Look forward to seeing you there!
09/22/2019

Today at Montgomery Place from 2-4pm is the Hyde Park Stories Event. Look forward to seeing you there!

Many thanks to @57th Street Wines for hosting our event this afternoon!
09/22/2019

Many thanks to @57th Street Wines for hosting our event this afternoon!

Excited to be hosting Hyde Park Historical Society’s panel of Independent booksellers... certain (welcomed!) obligations come with inhabiting a former bookstore.

#hydeparkchicago

Hyde Park’s Independent Booksellers: Use Them or Lose Them
08/25/2019
Hyde Park’s Independent Booksellers: Use Them or Lose Them

Hyde Park’s Independent Booksellers: Use Them or Lose Them

Saturday, September 21, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 pm 57th Street Wines, 1447 E. 58th Street (once home to the legendary O’Gara & Wilson bookstore) Free and open to the Public Featuring: Jack Cella…

Hyde Park Historical Society: Nancy Hays Project
07/25/2019
Hyde Park Historical Society: Nancy Hays Project

Hyde Park Historical Society: Nancy Hays Project

Dear Friends, Nancy Campbell Hays (1923/2007), a beloved Hyde Park photographer, activist and preservationist, arrived in Chicago in 1958 from NYC at the age of 35 and would remain here, building h…

Thank you, Hyde Park Herald! We are so excited to preserve and digitize Nancy Hays' photos. Learn more about the project...
07/23/2019
Hyde Park Herald

Thank you, Hyde Park Herald!

We are so excited to preserve and digitize Nancy Hays' photos. Learn more about the project and how you can help at www.nancyhays.org.

Exhibit set to honor HP photographer

Happy 4th of July! We’re at the Hyde Park 4th of July parade today. We hope to see you!
07/04/2019

Happy 4th of July!

We’re at the Hyde Park 4th of July parade today. We hope to see you!

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5529 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL
60637

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Comments

I’m trying to learn where this 1913 photo was taken. My grandmother and her family lived on Hyde Park Blvd (51st St) near Cottage Grove Ave, but the photo could be from anywhere. I noticed that the window had some signage, so I attached a couple of zoomed in photos. I can’t make it out, but maybe it might be enough to trigger a memory. Any thoughts?
I am trying to locate a property - can you help? My Great Grandfather bought a house near US Steel South Works in 1892. The legal description on the Deed is: "Lot numbers thirty two (32) in Block number Forty (40) in the subdivision by the Calumet and Chicago Canal + Dock Company of parts of sections five (5) and six (6), Town thirty seven (37) South, Range fifteen (15), east of the third (3rd) principal meridian, situate in the city of Chicago, Cook Co, Illinois."
It’s time for New Orleans Brass Band in the Parks! Will you come hang out with us? Four Star Brass Band Chicago Park Districtt Harold Washington Memorial Park Seneca Park & Eli M. Schulman Playground Portage Park #NightOutInTheParks | #InTheParks | #MyChiParks | #TeensInTheParks | #2019isYOCT
Any body have any information or photos of the Diana apartments on cornel between 55th and 56th
Come see "Burnham's Dream: The White City" musical next month! Tickets available between June 7th and July 1st. Get your tickets before they're gone...
Please read the Sangamon County Historical Society press release for the new book. The article appears on pages 1 and 4. Click the link to open.https://www.sangamonhistory.org/…/Doc…/2018_05_HISTORICO.pdf HPHS Member and former HPHS Board Member Andrew Taylor Call's book to be published this month. He's speaking at the Sangamon County Historical Society meeting in Springfield on Tuesday, May 15th!!!!
I have tried to vote for the last 20 minutes and keep having a problem.
On Saturday, September 9th, at 9:30am the Chicago Cycling Club will be taking a bike tour of historic Woodlawn featuring the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest! Tour is free; pace is easy; helmets are highly encouraged; ride departs from Rockefeller Chapel—please arrive before 9:30am; other details and online registration (under RSVP tab — non-members can register as guest) at https://chicagocyclingclub.org/Home/ViewEvent/3088 Join the ride!! With Save the Shrine