Before College

Before college, I spent most of my life in the far northside Chicago community known as Rogers Park. So one day in July 2004, I decided to photograph some locations before they changed too much more or disappeared entirely. On the map below, you will see some landmarks significant to me from the “old neighborhood”. (Note: Marker 11 falls in the the official community known as West Ridge, but most Chicagoans consider the common name of West Ridge to be West Rogers Park and the area in which I grew up to be East Rogers Park or collectively as Rogers Park).

rogers park 4

Estes 1
(1) Estes Ave., Chicago. I lived here (2nd floor in the right rear, windows not visible here) for 9 years, starting before school age. Apparently the building is undergoing a condo conversion.
Field 2
(2) Eugene Field Elementary School, Ashland Ave., Chicago. I went here for 9 years (grades K through 8). A large school, it is 3 stories tall and takes up most of a city block. Oddly enough for such a large school, it didn’t have a lunch room available so almost all students had to run home, eat lunch and run back, all in 30 minutes.
Greenleaf 1
(3) Greenleaf Ave., Chicago. Moving here from Estes Ave. (2 blocks away), I lived here (second floor in the left front) for the next 9 years.
Morse 1
(4) Morse Ave., Chicago. This was the local shopping area. Delicatessens to rival New York, fine clothing stores, bakeries, etc. Today it seems that pizza, produce and liquor are the items of choice here. In the background you can see the “L”, or elevated train – still the best way to get around Chicago
Sullivan 5
(5) Roger C. Sullivan High School, Bosworth Ave., Chicago. Sullivan, named after a colorful Chicago politician, was the smallest high school in Chicago but was academically ranked second. The sports teams were nothing to brag about, though. When I went there, the most famous graduate to that point had been Shecky Greene the comedian.
Summer 1
(6) Loyola Beach Concession Stand (aka Cafe Brauer), Chicago. I worked here summers and holidays during high school. Decent pay combined with lots of beachgoers, sunshine, and Lake Michigan breezes. Also, it was 100 yards from where I lived on Greenleaf Ave.
Summer 3
(7) Former Site of Morse Beach Concession Stand, Chicago. This was 2 blocks from Loyola Beach and I usually split my time between these two locations. During really slow periods I might work at any of the concession stands that dotted the North side beaches as well as Lincoln Park Zoo. In the right center of the photo, under the tree, you can see Farwell Pier, which was good for fishing and providing views of the Chicago shoreline (see below).
Summer 4
(8) Loyola Beach Handball Courts, Chicago. When I wasn’t working, I was playing 3-wall handball with friends, lifeguards and hustlers. It was great, inexpensive exercise. Handball, never a wildly popular sport, seems to have been overcome by the need for convenient parking.
Summer 6
(9) View from Farwell Pier, Looking South. On the left side of the photo you can see downtown Chicago.
Summer 5
(10) View from Farwell Pier, Looking North. On the right side of the photo you can see Evanston and Northwestern University.
Devon 1
(11) Devon Ave., Chicago. This was Morse Ave. on steroids. While the most significant shopping section of Morse was a block long, Devon went on for blocks. Today the old stores have been replaced by an almost endless variety of sari shops and Indian restaurants.
(12) Illinois Institute of Technology, Federal St., Chicago. I started programming when I was in elementary school and this is where I came to do it. The language was IITRAN on an IBM System/360 and the storage medium was punch cards.