Sunday, June 17, 2012

Clear-Ridge Historical Society's Tour a Sold-Out Success; More Events Planned

The Southwest Chicago Post tagged along for the first 25 minutes or so of a three-hour tour of Garfield Ridge hosted recently by the Clear-Ridge Historical Society.

Video highlights are posted on the Southwest Chicago Post's channel on YouTube:

The tour offered a wealth of information on the people and events that helped make Garfield Ridge the unique and interesting place it is.

Discussed and/or viewed were the Chicago Portage, remnants of Mud Lake, Long John Wentworth's "Summit" farm at Archer and Neva, a church that was a key part of Garfield Ridge's little-known Dutch heritage, remnants of the time when Garfield Ridge was a "gated" community, the quirky "house in the alley" and much more.

This was the first such tour presented by the group, and it was sold out.

More bus tours are planned, along with the group's regular meetings at the Clearing Branch Library.

Check out the group's page on Facebook for updates---as well as right here in the online pages of the Southwest Chicago Post.

Congratulations and thanks to the Clear-Ridge Historical Society for bringing history alive for all of us on the Southwest Side...

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  1. What is the "house in the alley"? Is it still there?

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  3. The "house in the alley," as it's known locally, is not literally in an alley---but it doesn't have a front on a street. It's close to the railroad tracks just west of Central Avenue. Dave Gudewicz shot and posted several photos of it here:

  4. We put the question to Rob Bitunjac, who says: "I believe the exact address is 5712 West 56th Street. It is located down the alley on the west side of Massassoit. The hand painted sign I was standing by is on a fence along 56th Street, just west of Massassoit."

  5. Correction regarding Wentworth's farm house: European Chalet Banquets, a stop on the tour, sits on the footprint of Wentworth's farm house. The farm spanned many acres, well past Archer and Neva. The source of this information is Paul Walenga, a friend of Rob Bitunjac's. This interesting fact is also quickly noted in one of Jeffrey Baer's historical tours of southwest Chicago. Rob's encyclopedic knowledge of our area is phenomenal - we are lucky to have a local guide of his caliber in out midst.

  6. The "House in the Alley" is the name we've given to a house we discovered in the alley behind the western side of 56th and Massassoit. We like to use it as an example of an early farmhouse that was built before the streets and alleys were laid out. The house has no frontage on any street, the front porch leads out into the alley and there is a curious hand painted sign indicating "5712 Down Alley", hence the nickname. We did discover from a neighbor that the house was indeed the first one there and the family owned the entire block on which they had a small farm.