Rogers Park / West Ridge Historical Society

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Rogers Park / West Ridge Historical Society

2014 Annual Meeting

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On Saturday morning, March 29, 2014, the Society conducted the 2014 Annual Meeting. We've uploaded the PowerPoint presentation Click Here
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 March 2014 15:56

Society Member Remembers Harold Ramis

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The Rogers Park West Ridge community lost one of its most famous sons with the death on February 24 of writer, film director, and actor Harold Ramis (1944-2014), creator of such films as Groundhog Day, Animal House, Analyze This, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters I & II.

In 1951, when he was seven years old, Ramis’ family moved from Chicago’s West Side to Rogers Park. His father owned a store on Devon Avenue near Glenwood Avenue. Ramis attended Steven K. Hayt Elementary School at 1518 W. Granville and Senn High School from 1959-1962 where he participated in the choir (which sometimes took part in the chorus at the Lyric Opera), fencing team, and other activities. In the 1990s he moved back to the Chicago area.

RPWRHS member Howard Fink, a retired judge who grew up Rogers Park/West Ridge, came to know Harold Ramis when both were active in Senn High School’s Principal for the Day program. “He was a neighborhood kid who never forgot he came from the neighborhood and was always ready to come back,” said Mr. Fink. He recalls on occasion when Harold Ramis spoke for 15 minutes about his time at Senn and engaged in a conversation with the students, only mentioning his brilliant career in films at the very end.

“He affected you a great deal when you met him,” said Mr. Fink. “He was very calm, modest, and genuinely humble. But you could tell sitting with him how brilliant he was and how he thought way outside the box.” And, despite his brilliant career in Hollywood, he “always saw himself as a Rogers Parker.”


The 2014 Annual Meeting

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The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society will hold its annual Meeting Saturday, March 29, from  10:00 a.m. to noon at the Budlong Woods Library, 5630 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60659.  Come and  hear what your Society has accomplished in the past year and learn about our exciting plans for 2014 and beyond! Refreshments will be served.


Election of the 2014-15 Board of Directors will be conducted.


No registration necessary.


Cruisin’ the Fabulous Fifties Fundraiser

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Cruisin’ the Fabulous Fifties Fundraiser


The 1950s were an exciting time in America. Prosperity was finally here after the war, babies were booming — and so was Rogers Park/West Ridge — as America entered a new era. And there were lots of great parties.  Come celebrate this era with the Roger Park West Ridge Historical Society at our annual fundraising event! 

The party will be held at the historic Lang House B&B (formerly Cat’s Cradle) at 7421 North Sheridan from 2.30 to 5.30 pm on Saturday, April 5. 

Designed by architect Edgar M. Newman (1863-1940) in the American Foursquare style, the carefully restored Lang House is noted for its impressive entrance, Arts and Craft-styled murals, mosaic decorated walls, hardwood floors and leaded-glass windows. Owners/managers Bruce Boyd and Wayde Cartwright will give guests a personally-guided tour. 

The event will feature authentic Fifties- style food, cocktails, mocktails, and music as well as a silent auction. Well-known historical interpreter and caterer Ellie Carlson will bring to life a 1950s housewife to demonstrate historic cooking techniques and prepare dishes typical of the period. 


Diplomat Canapés

Nutty Surprise Bacon Rolls

Sensational Seeded Snack Pastry

Hamburgers Angostura

Pillsbury Bake-off-winning Party Rye with Festive Toppings

Jelly Squares – Calla Lily Cookies – Chocolate Bon Bons

Manhattans – Martinis –Screwdrivers – Shirley Temple – Chocolate Phosphate . .

 Put on your nifty-fifties clothes— crinolines, big skirts, saddle shoes, and cardigans – and join the party.   We’re expecting a full house, so sign up now!

Fundraiser Tickets

You can also mail your check to RPWRHS, 1447 W. Morse Ave., Chicago IL 60626. Tickets prices in advance: $50 general public, $40 Society members, $30 student and senior members. All prices $10 higher at the door (cash or check only).  All proceeds benefit the Society’s programs and activities.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 18:18

Electronic Historian’s New Features

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While I’m probably the biggest proponent for paper copies of the Historian, there are several capabilities we can add to the electronic version that were literally impossible to do before. So, starting with the February 2014 issue of the Historian, we will be all-electronic. 
The most important capability allows us to embed hyperlinks
What’s a hyperlink you say? This is a live link that we can embed into an article that, by clicking on it, takes you to another web page which will have additional information about that topic; sort of an über-footnote.
Here’s an example: RPWRHS HistoryWikiBy clicking on the greenish text to the left, you will end up at the introduction page of the HistoryWiki feature on our website.
The HistoryWiki has over 22,632 pages of information (as of 2/4/14). It works just like Wikipedia because we use the same software. You can return to the Historian page you were on by using the return feature of your browser (upper left corner on most browsers).
With paper, if we wanted to direct you to external information, we provided the web address on the page of the Historian and if you wanted to see this additional information you had to type it into your web browser. This is no longer necessary!
We’re also expanding the amount of illustrations that we will be able to provide. Sometimes at an event we ended up with several photos. In the past this forced us to select only one for inclusion in the Historian.
We have now added a “scrapbook” feature. You’ll be able to click on a hyperlink in the article and be whisked away to see those additional photos/illustrations, which we were never able to show you in the past because we couldn't use the extra pages needed.
All paper-based publishing lives and dies on the “divisible by four” rule. The number of pages always has to be a number that is divisible by four. This is no longer the case. You can print one page, if needed, on your
printer. It doesn’t mandate you print four every time you want to print something. So, we can now use odd numbers of pages. If you print a full copy of the Historian, your printer will deliver just that many pages.
In paper, we could have ended up with blank pages to keep the count divisible by four. There are, of course, special cases where only two pages could be added to a printed book or magazine. But we’re not giving a course in printing.
The method we used mandated the divisible by four page count. This forced us, once in a while, to drop longer articles in favor of shorter ones and carry the longer ones over to the next issue.
Now we can spend the few extra electrons to include the full article selection in each issue. There’s no need to include “filler” articles to use up extra blank space.
Finally, even the bottom of the page text will take you to either the Society's Home Page or that of our Facebook Homepage. 
So, as you can see, the new electronic Historian will have much more for your enjoyment. Best of all, we didn't have to raise the price!
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 March 2014 15:55
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Mark your Calendar!

All events are at the Society's Offices at 1447 W. Morse unless otherwise noted.

Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City by Liam Ford
Sat, Apr 19, 01:00 PM
Author Liam Ford will discuss the history of Soldier Field, based on his book Soldier Field: a Stadium and its City. Cosponsored by RPWRHS and the Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library. Takes place at the Rogers Park Library, 6907 N Clark St., 1:00 - 2:00 pm

Park Wars talk by Arlene Schwartzmann
Wed, Jun 25, 06:30 PM
Arlene Schwartzmann discusses the "Cabbage Head War" of 1896 and the Edgewater Gold Club/Warren Park controversy of the 1940's.

Annual House Walk
Sun, Sep 07,
More details to follow

Visit us on Facebook . . .

Join the friends of the Society in their interactions on the Society's Facebook page! Visit us on Facebook, and be sure to "like" RPWRHS today!

Show Your Support—Donate Today!

Your donation helps support the development of programs that bring the history of the Rodgers Park and West Ridge neighborhoods to life!

Just click on the "Donate" button below—PayPal's secure site will take care of the transaction, using your credit card or PayPal account.

About the Society

The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society collects, preserves and shares the story of the diverse community of Chicago’s far north side. Established in 1975 by local residents who believed their part of Chicago was a place with much to celebrate, the Society today serves the community through its publications, architectural tours, and various educational and outreach efforts.

How to Contact Us

By Mail:1447 W. Morse Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626
By Phone:773-764-4078

We are open weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Other times by appointment.

Board of Directors meetings are held the fourth Monday of every other month at 7:00 p.m. at the Society's offices (January, March, May, July, September and November).