National Register of Historic Places—thanks in large part to efforts by 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn and a group of Loyola University Chicago graduate students—Southwest Siders are being asked to help record and preserve the neighborhood’s history.
In an email sent out earlier this week, Clear-Ridge Historical Society President Rob Bitunjac noted that “new [Loyola University] students have taken up the cause, are conducting interviews and planning a community event to continue gathering the history of this community.”
Bitunjac noted that a community meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 at the Lawler Park Fieldhouse, at the Lawler Park Fieldhouse, 5210 W. 64th St. The meeting will be hosted by the Chrysler Village History Project, a creation of Public History Lab, an organization run by Loyola University Chicago history graduate students to collaborate with Chicago communities and bring history to life.
He called the public meeting “an opportunity to make a difference in community history” and noted that the event “will serve as a forum to discuss ways that the Chrysler Village community can engage in its unique history. They are encouraging anyone to come and share you ideas. If you are interested, please consider coming to this meeting. We'd like to have a good showing of Society members, especially those who used to live in or currently live in or near Chrysler Village.”
As noted in a Southwest News-Herald article last year, the 64-acre, 700-unit Chrysler Village is a “neighborhood within a neighborhood [that] extends from Lavergne Avenue to Long Avenue, between 63rd and 65th Streets. It was built in 1943 to house people working in the Chrysler Defense Plant, building [B-29 Superfortress] bomber engines in what is now Ford City Mall, 7601 S. Cicero.
“The area just south of Midway Airport is known for its winding streets lined with single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes. Architect Harold E. Anderson and builder J.E. Merrion, whom Merrionette Park is named for, designed it.
“It is considered a link between pre-war apartment buildings and the planned communities of post-war single-family homes such as Levittown on Long Island in New York, and Hometown and Merrionette Park here.”
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