Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Up North

I wanted to initiate my part in this blog by pointing to two articles in last week's Illinois Times. Both deal with the part of Springfield with which I am probably least familiar with - the North End. I grew up on the South Side.

The first article, titled Northern Exposure, is on the old North 22nd Street neighborhood near St. Aloysius Church.
The neighborhood burgeoned in the aftermath of World War II, when the veterans returned from service, got government-backed housing loans, and settled down to the peacetime business of raising families -for most, a prolific undertaking. It was a decidedly blue-collar neighborhood with nearly similar houses that featured a downstairs bathroom and an upstairs dormer. Fathers, in the days before women entered the workforce en masse, were largely union workers -police officers, firefighters, postal workers, or employees of such long-gone concerns as Sangamo Electric and Pillsbury Mills.

According to retired educator Jim Berberet, whose family moved there in 1954, large families were the norm in those days: "Everybody, it seems, had a large family. Six, seven, eight kids -it was just not unusual. The Redpaths, for instance, had 10 kids. Getting two full sides for baseball was never a problem."

His assertion is echoed by Mike Aiello, now of Troxell Financial Advisors, who says, "I'm not exaggerating when I say that in that three- or four-block stretch of 22nd Street, there had to be at least a hundred kids, or more. We played sports and rode bikes all the time, at Fairview School or Fairview Park. Nobody wanted to stay inside -there was no air conditioning."
This is exactly the kind of stuff I would like to see on this blog. Read the whole article. If you grew up in the 50's or 60's it will sound very familiar no matter what neighborhood you lived in.

The second article reports on the Adams house, one of Springfield's oldest, that may be torn down soon.
The 147-year-old Adams House, located on the grounds of the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, would be razed to make way for a new 2,000-square-foot office building, according to plans announced recently by the Audubon Society.

The organization, which is moving its headquarters from Danville to Springfield to be closer to state government agencies, has decided that the Adams House is poorly suited to its needs and must go.

"Our members do not give us donations to restore old houses," says Marilyn Campbell, society director.

Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, 2315 E. Clear Lake Ave., consists of 30 acres of natural growth. The sanctuary was established so that urban children could learn about nature. It offers walking trails, as well as special programs throughout the year.
I've always thought the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary was a strange, but welcome, sight in the middle of a very developed area. It's a great resource too. I really hope they find a way to preserve the place. I appreciate the work of the Audubon Society and welcome them to their new digs. I just ask that they do all they can to keep the house.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know if I'll be interviewing many people - maybe some - but I get the drift.

However, I suspect most people posting will post their own memories.

Jerome Prophet

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the house - Argh!
How horrible!
Sounds like they couldn't care less about the house, and it will probably end up being torn down, and replaced by some garish modern monstrosity.
Then again, the donors do donate to waste their money on tearing down historic old homes and replacing them with modern crap.
Wonder if anyone might be related to the contracting firm building the new facility?


3:11 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Sorry for all the typos in that post. Blogger did something weird and began inserting words into other words. I just caught it now.

JP, I wasn't suggesting we need to interview people, only that there were people relating their stories in the IT article. Your first post is spot-on.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally knew Ms Adams and have been a quest in her home many times prior to her death. In my conversations with her, her wish was to have her home and property remain as a wildlife sanctuary.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope that is true and it is not replaced by anything that will disturb the current state of pristine quiet and natural beauty. Audubon should be ashamed of disregarding their own intent for nature and the eco system.

12:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home