June 24, 2011

Library, Mail & News

This post is a composite of topics that include Lake View's libraries, postal service, and news
The Public Library:
The Chicago Public Libraries were created directly from the ashes of the great Chicago Fire. After Chicago’s Great Fire of October 8, 1871, A.H. Burgess of London proposed an “English Book Donation,” which he described, two months later, in the Tribune on December 7, 1871 to the people of Chicago - “I propose that England should present a Free Library to Chicago, to remain there as a mark of sympathy now, a keepsake a token of true brotherly kindness forever...
Per the Chicago Public Library, 'As Chicago's reconstruction after the Great Fire of 1871 progressed and residential districts extended further from the downtown area, it became apparent to the library's directors that the Chicago Public Library needed to make its services available to people nearer to their homes. In April 1884, the Chicago Library Board appointed a Special Committee on Delivery Stations. Four stations, two on the West Side, one on the North Side, and one on the South Side, were established. In June 1884, the Board agreed to pay Mr. Morris Rosenstock $18.00 per week to manage the delivery of materials to the four stations by horse-drawn carriage.'
According to the Chicago Public Library, 'the library inaugurated a new Delivery Service, establishing delivery stations in businesses such as the Horder's New Depot in 1884 in the City of Chicago five years before the annexation of the City of Lake View. Pictured here are E.Y. and Ada Horder with their children Ivy and Harry. Library messengers were dispatched twice a day to pick up and deliver book orders left by patrons with the store's proprietors. At first, the storekeepers were paid a small fee for their work. It was soon found, however, that the delivery stations brought such large numbers of people into the stores, that the increase in business more than repaid the proprietors for the trouble of operating the service. By 1887, Chicago's system delivery stations, now numbering eight, accounted for 127,000 volumes in circulation.'
photo - Chicago Public Library
Before the full-service (stand-alone) library and delivery stations (library storefronts) their was the book-mobile
The book-mobile was initially used in rural areas so to provided communities that would wanted access to free library materials and could not afford rent for storefronts or stand-alone buildings. At one time, in the 19th century and early 20th century Lake View was regarded as 'rural' or underfunded for their own stand-alone library. Libraries were located in one central location in a city with branches in areas that could afford one. That changed after the Great Depression of 1929. The federal government provided funding for 'library out-reach' activities to communities that wanted access to publicly provided materials. 
The jpeg below area of an unknown location in Chicago but the image do provide an idea of what it may have been like before store-front libraries became more available.

photo - Chicago Public Library
unknown Chicago location and date
The Township Library
It would appear that a historical society funded a full service library by 1884. This is the account for local historian of that time period: Ravenswood History Society is a new but very vigorous young organization with among its objects the founding of a library for the benefit of the community. 
 1894 Sanborn Fire Map highlights the library 
with a zoomed view below
[The society's existing building] has rooms on the east side of Ravenswood Park [Avenue] near Sunnyside Avenue. The society has just purchased a lot to erect a library building and to raise money if necessary on their property. The building will be on the southwest corner of Sulzer (Montrose) and Commercial (Hermitage) streets and is expected to cost $1500; a two story brick building-30x50 ft. The ground floor will consist of the library [itself] and a reading room. The second floor [space big enough] for a concert hall.' - historian Theodore Andreas who wrote a chapter in a publication called 'History of Cook County Illinois' called History of Lake View: 1884 page 712. This publication covers the existing and historical accounts of Lake View and Ravenswood with many of the topical mentions highlighted in this blog.
– Chicago historian Theodore Andreas
City of Chicago Libraries
In the early 20th century local libraries, sometimes located in storefronts, were just feeder outlets and served as satellites to the main city library is downtown, much like Harold Washington Library is today. Library materials would be loaned-out to be returned to the main library at a scheduled time period. The three main types were branch, deposit stations, and delivery stations. 
In 1927, the Chicago Public Library opened its first branch in Ravenswood. The library, however, had been offering books to the community through delivery and deposit stations since shortly after the area was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1889. Four years after renting this storefront, the Library again expanded service by opening the Hild Regional Library at 4544 North Lincoln Avenue - Explore Chicago Collection
The Branches
According to the Chicago Daily News almanac of 1922 the following locations served as District branch libraries (p. 868).
Butler House
3212 N Broadway Avenue
Hamlin Park
Barry & Hoyne Avenues
The Deposit Stations
 According to the Chicago Daily News almanac of 1922 the following locations served District Deposit stations (p. 868-9).
Lake View @ Lill & Seminary Avenues
Le Moyne @ 3712 N Halsted Street
The Delivery Stations
According to the Chicago Daily News almanac of 1922 the following locations served as District Delivery Stations 
(p. 869) as well as branches and deposit stations
4336 N Hermitage 
School & Ashland
3212 N Broadway Avenue 
 2932 N Clark Street
3712 N Halsted
3711 N Southport
Barry & Hoyne Avenues
3456 N Hoyne
3317 N Broadway
Currently known as the Lake View Athletic Club
image - Lake View Saga 1847-1985
Finally a Full Service Library

According to Susan Reibman Groff‎ 
the building was used as a bomb shelter during WWII


This Lake View Branch of the Chicago Public Library system opened September 14, 1942 at its present location. Earlier, a storefront named the Broadway Branch existed at 3119 North Broadway Avenue. The Broadway Branch served the Lake View community from 1925 through 1942.
(click on article to enlarge)
'Merlo Branch was rededicated December 8th, 1988, after undergoing a major renovation. In June 1993, John M. Merlo Branch, formerly the Lake View Branch, was renamed in memory of John Merlo, who was a local community leader and long-time Chicago politician. The two-story building was designed by City Architect, Paul Gerhardt; sculptor Abbott Pattison designed the frieze above the front entrance. The branch houses artworks by Martyl, Louise Papageorge, and Michael Ryan, funded through the Percent for Art Ordinance administered by the City of Chicago Public Art Program'. 
photo - Flickriver:Photoset
The glass enclosed canopy to the frontage 
was added during a 1988 renovation
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Flickriver
This sculptures are located under the window umbrella 
within the entryway. It was created by Abbott Pattison.
A tale about a librarian and her library - 1988
 
A petition for another library - 1963
with the existing libraries in article

Renovation in 2019
According to 44th ward Alderman Tom Tunney's Facebook page in 2018 "investments will be made to the facility, and in library programming, to provide a modern, state-of-the-art branch to the Lake View community. Improvements will include an early learning play space for children, a dedicated teen space, additional seating, additional meeting and study spaces and refreshed collections. The Merlo Branch will also have digital skills training available to patrons of any age through the Library’s Cyber-Navigator program. The renovation work is expected to begin in early 2019."
below is a photo of a patron in 2017
photo by Michelle Schaps
The Lincoln-Belmont Public Library
photo - Sarah Bowlin 
The Lincoln Belmont Branch is a relatively new library that opened on January 23, 1999.  It replaced two smaller storefront branches, the Hamlin Park Branch Library located 2205 W Belmont and the North Lake View Branch Library. 
photo - Richie Morales
 photo - Laurie Wolske Ruxton
 photos - The International Beethoven Project
The Post Offices: 
The Lake View Township/City Station

All municipal operations including police, courts and mail occurred at the Old Town Hall in township/city of old Lake View except within the community of Ravenswood. Ravenswood would have their own facility.
 postmarked LAKEVIEW STATION - Ebay
This postcard was postmarked from the original TownHall that was once located on the corner of Halsted & Addison
The Ravenswood Station

The Ravenswood Mail Carriers
 photo - Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
While most of the mail funneled though the Old Town Hall on Halsted and Addison streets during the days of the township the community of Ravenswood was originally one of many communities in the old township that earned their own post office well into the early 20th century.  
image - Ebay unknown date
This article below is from 1900.
 
 
Ravenswood Postmark Postcards

mailed from Portugal - unknown date
 front & back
all images above from Ebay

 US Post Office Department seal 1792-1971
image - Wikipedia
photo - Forgotten Chicago the old Bailiwick Theater at 1229 W. Belmont once served as a post office.
This  building medallion above served as a symbol 
of post offices from 1837 - 1971
In the early 20th century other postal stations dotted the area that included areas of Edgewater, Sheridan Park, North Halsted, as well as the Lincoln Park Station. 
Click on this link on a 1917 'travel time study' for  transport deliveries times from the main office downtown that involved the difference between horse vs automobile. Below is an article about post areas in 1963. 

The Lake View Station 
at Irving Park Road
1343 W. Irving Park Road
2013 photo - Jason P via Foursquare
photo - Marco via Foursquare
This mural is a product of the Federal Art Project via Works Progress Administration that was established in 1935 during the Great Depression of 1929.
The US Post Office on Lincoln
3635 N Lincoln Avenue
US Post Office on Ashland
3024 N Ashland Avenue
The Newspapers of Lake View:
The Chicagoan

Local community newspaper industry 
had its beginnings in our neighborhood: 
 page 2
images - Lake View Saga
Before the Booster 
In the late 19th century news about the Township/City of Lake View could be read from the Chicago Daily News under the subtitle 'Lake View Matters'. Also in the late 19th century publication called Lake View's Saturday weekly called the Lake View Independent that was established in 1884 as well as the Lake View Telephone. 
Lake View Matters in 1871
insert from Chicago Tribune - a sample
from the Chicago Public Library Newspaper section
An Account about the 'Lake View Telephone'
'History of Lake View' by Theodore Andreas
The ‘Lake View Telephone’ was outgrowth of the ‘Lake View Townsman’ a paper which was first issued March 21 1881. It published as a five column folio (dimensions) paper. The first issue of the Telephone was published in June 4 1881 with C.J. Whitney as editor and publisher. On the 11th February 1882 the paper was enlarged to a seven column folio and one year thereafter to an eight column [newspaper]. 
- historian Theodore Andreas 1884

 images - Ebay
These newspapers can be found in the Ravenswood - Lake View Community Collection at Sulzer Regional Library in Lincoln Square. Along the with the Lake View Independent there was the 'The Lake View Independent' and 'The Telephone' were weekly publications (according this link their was a publication in 1887 called the 'Lake Viewer Tribune'.
The Chicago Daily Tribune forward from the 
Lake View Independent 1887 when Lake View was a city
Online News Organizations 
that follow Lake View: 
(ended service in 2015)
(an aggregate source for news)
Curbed Chicago Lake View & western Lake View
News about real estate developments, street cleaning and parking issues per city ward organizations
32th
44th
46th
47th 
News organization to follow offline:
Inside-Booster by Inside Publications
 They do have a Facebook presence 
- the newsboys of Lincoln Belmont Booster 
- late 1940's?



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Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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