early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted


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early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: May 15, 2010 01:22PM

I've often wondered about the area around Grand/Halsted/Milwaukee. Seemed at one time to be a bustling, thriving district. The heavy Italian influence is still evident in the Gonnella Bread Co headquarters further west near Ogden, and up until a few years ago, the old Como Inn. I also read somewhere that at the beginning of the 20 th century, the Sicilian Mob had it's roots.

Here's a pic from 1930. the "Italian Trust and Savings Bank" is now Emitts Irish Pub, the "Antonio Romano" drug store a vacant lot, and the building directly across Halsted a condo/high rise




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2010 01:23PM by captain54.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: May 15, 2010 11:38PM

Here's a present day view of the intersection, looking straight north down Halsted.
these would be the three northern corners of the six corners...the old gray building to the left looks vacant.

I've always wondered how they managed to route all of those streetcars back in the day at complicated intersections like these...Was the small booth next to the gray building and in front of the L station entrance, a remnant a place a switch conductor may have been situated?




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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: May 16, 2010 12:06PM

I'm surprised the building on the western corner has been empty and gray for so long.

The Outfit had a big presence in that area; a lot of the older Outfit guys grew up around Grand and Ogden, and Jack McGurn was killed a bit farther north, in a bowling alley at Milwaukee and Chicago.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: May 16, 2010 12:53PM

around 2:44 (toward the end) is a view of the Ogden/Grand area. I'm trying to find some vintage views.



"Mobsters such as Salvatore "Sam" Giancana, Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, Gus Alex and Francesco Nitti ("Frank the Enforcer") regularly dined at Patsy's, which was on the west side at Grand Avenue and Ogden Avenue, using its parking lot for mob meetings."

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: May 16, 2010 12:55PM

WayOutWardell Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm surprised the building on the western corner
> has been empty and gray for so long.

[www.grandstationchicago.com]

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: bwalsh ()
Date: May 17, 2010 06:09PM

I'd love to see more pictures of this area. That taller building on the right hand side on Halsted, just north of Doolin's, with the windows, was built by my great-grandfather's brothers in 1880. The business eventually closed up after my great-uncle died in 1919 and probate continued until the early 1920s. Their name is still visible above the main door (Dawson Bros). It was a factory where they manufactured fireplaces and accessories. The original building extended further north and then east. The building, or at least the part that is still there is listed on the National Register. I imagine when the expressway was constructed, that may have had something to do with the disappearance of that extension. The building was vacant for many many years before being converted into loft apartments/condos.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: 222psm ()
Date: May 18, 2010 07:18AM

Thanks for the info bwalsh, I always find it fascinating to lean a buildings history. And thanks to captain54 for that 30's pic.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: May 18, 2010 05:22PM

Interesting stuff. That intersection has some great buildings.

Also, interesting video. It was nice to see a glimpse of LaRoc's Drive In (at the 2:57 point, where the bank building is now) - they had good chili.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: bwalsh ()
Date: May 18, 2010 11:09PM

Btw, my great-grandfather's family was originally from England. One of the brothers had a tiling business, which would have worked in tandem with the fireplaces. Either he or the ones that made the fireplaces also worked with marble (mantels, for ex.) His showroom was in the middle building there - the one between Doolins and the taller original building. Being that it involved tile, I wonder if that had any tie-in with the Italian background of the neighborhood, or if that (1880-1920) was before the Italians moved into the area. Was that always an ethnic neighborhood or was it industrial or??? I'm not sure where their business was located originally, as it actually was begun in 1869 by their father, my great-great grandfather. They all lived on the north side (Jefferson Park and that area), not around this location.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: May 19, 2010 01:28AM

from the publication..Informer: Chicago's early Mafia bosses


"Early in 1901, Joseph Morici was labeled boss of the Mafia in Chicago’s Little Sicily, a neighborhood just to the northwest of downtown, centered on the six-pointed intersection of West Grand Avenue, North Milwaukee Avenue and North Halsted Street. That Sicilian community overflowed across the old Erie Street bridge into the Near North Side. The neighborhood sat apart from Chicago’s traditional Little Italy, which was further to the south..."

the "overflowing" of that Sicilian community more than likely references the move to the area of approximately Cabrini-Green, which prior to the building of Cabrini Green, occupied of the largest Sicilian populations in Chicago

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: shoreline ()
Date: May 19, 2010 08:48AM

captain54 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> around 2:44 (toward the end) is a view of the
> Ogden/Grand area. I'm trying to find some vintage
> views.
>
>
>
> "Mobsters such as Salvatore "Sam" Giancana, Jackie
> "The Lackey" Cerone, Gus Alex and Francesco Nitti
> ("Frank the Enforcer") regularly dined at Patsy's,
> which was on the west side at Grand Avenue and
> Ogden Avenue, using its parking lot for mob
> meetings."

As a side note,during the Vegas connection portion of the vid, the name of the Alan Dorfman was introduced. He was the money guy working with Hoffa on the financing for casino building projects. Dorfman was gunned down in a mob hit in the late 80s outside the former Purple Hotel at Touhy and Lincoln.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: melipie ()
Date: May 28, 2010 08:43PM

Does anyone know anything about those gray buildings? What they used to be, why they are vacant now? I've always wondered.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: May 29, 2010 12:22AM

there was a development planned for that area a few years back and it fell through.

those buildings have been there since 1891. I was thinking of watching the film "Backdraft" again, since it was filmed here in 91" in and around that area. There might be some glimpses of those buildings in use.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: May 29, 2010 12:38AM

I'm really surprised that the cupola is still intact on the corner. Things like that are usually the first to disappear. They've been vacant and gray forever, it seems...

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: FranCarmen ()
Date: June 06, 2010 10:14PM

I vaguely recall that there briefly was some kind of eating place in the gray building in the early/mid-1980s, and I think I remember ice cream being sold there. Does that ring a bell with anyone?

Across the street from Emmitt's (going west was a Greek joint that was boarded up for about ten years before they tore it down. On Google maps it looks as though there's a building there now, South Side Control Supply Co.

[francesarcher.com]

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: ChicagoJoe ()
Date: June 07, 2010 06:24AM

The 1930 picture shows the newspapers being delivered by horse and wagon. You can see the wagon entering the picture as it moves west on Grand.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 07, 2010 10:26AM

ChicagoJoe Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The 1930 picture shows the newspapers being
> delivered by horse and wagon. You can see the
> wagon entering the picture as it moves west on
> Grand.

if we're looking at the same horse and wagon (next to the streetcar), it's moving north on Halsted.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: ChicagoJoe ()
Date: June 08, 2010 12:40PM

I drive by this picture location often. To me is seems like the horse and wagon is on Grand. It’s next to the street car on the left side of the picture. Thanks for posting this picture.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 08, 2010 12:58PM

the point of reference is the Italian Trust and Savings Bank (now Emmitts)..it sits on the triangular corner of Grand and Milwaukee..if the horse cart was running on Grand it would be running parallel to one side of the IT&SB, which it is not

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 08, 2010 12:58PM

the point of reference is the Italian Trust and Savings Bank (now Emmitts)..it sits on the triangular corner of Grand and Milwaukee..if the horse cart was running on Grand it would be running parallel to one side of the IT&SB, which it is not

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: philchi ()
Date: June 16, 2010 10:55AM

Captain54, you dated the old photo "1930". Which information source supplied you with that date, please?

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 16, 2010 11:59AM

philchi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Captain54, you dated the old photo "1930". Which
> information source supplied you with that date,
> please?

that photo and the date reference was obtained from a very nice Milwaukee ave collection of photos from a Polish Heritage site

[spuscizna.org]

I can't say for 100% that 1930 is the exact date, but judging from the autos and the fact that Italian Savings and Trust opened in 1921, it seems about right.

Also, there's a very rare Milwaukee Ave photo on that site with location and date unknown. Horsesmith shops along wooden sidewalks and barely paved streets. Off faintly in the distance you can see "Miehle Manufacturing" sign atop a structure, which tells me it was the old Miehle Printing Press plant from around 1900 or so.

That plant was on Fulton street between Clinton and Jefferson. Given that info, the stretch of Milwaukee in that old photo was probably about a block or so north of Fulton, a stretch that was dismantled in the late 1980's.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: Berwyn Frank ()
Date: June 16, 2010 01:11PM

Here is an image from that neighborhood. 633 N. Ogden Ave. ca. 1954. The whole scene is gone now having been razed for the expressway. Here is the text I found with it.

This is an original large-format (4"x5") acetate negative of the scene where Chicago mobster Charles "Cherry Nose" Gioe was murdered by hitmen from fellow mobster Joey Glimco. It shows Angelo's Pizzeria restaurant at 633 Ogden in Chicago on August 19, 1954. Charles "Cherry Nose" Gioe was a lieutenant in the Chicago Outfit criminal organization and a partner in the Hollywood extortion scandals of the 1930s.
Gioe became a high ranking lieutenant for the Outfit, specializing in extortion and blackmail, under Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti after Al Capone's 1931 tax evasion conviction. In 1936, Gioe went to Des Moines, Iowa to expand syndicate operations. He eventually returned to Chicago, leaving underboss Louis "Cock-Eyed Louie" Fratto in control of the Des Moines operations. During the mid-1930s, Gioe, Paul "The Waiter" Ricca and Louis "Little New York" Campagna, began financially supporting extortion operations by Willie Morris Bioff and George Browne against Hollywood movie studios. In exchange for annual payoffs to the Outfit, the mob-controlled projectionist unions would refrain from labor strikes and disruptions.
In the late 1930s, the extortion racket was busted by law enforcement. On March 18, 1943 Gioe, Ricca, and Campagna were indicted for extortion; Bioff and Browne agreed to testify against them. On December 31, 1941, Gioe was convicted of extortion and sentenced to ten years in prison. Gioe was later paroled (along with the other syndicate members) in 1947, despite protests from Senator Estes Kefauver. Upon his release, Gioe became second to Ricca and Campagna as the top Chicago syndicate leader. During the 1950s however, with the death of Campagna in 1952 and Ricca's retirement, Gioe became involved in a power struggle with rivals Anthony Accardo and Sam "Momo" Giancana.
On August 18, 1954, Charles Gioe was shot to death by mafia soldiers controlled by Joseph "Joey" Glimco after he accidentally interfered in a dispute Glimco was having with a contractor building a Howard Johnson's restaurant.





Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2010 01:13PM by Berwyn Frank.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 16, 2010 02:28PM

incredible find, Frank....thank you

Looks like the corner where Angelo's was located survived the x-press way ...Also interesting to note the Zips Car Wash sign on the exact spot of Angelo's entrance



Our Saviours Norwegian Lutheran Church (built 1873,a bit east of Angelo's at Erie and May) was also razed.


How's that for progress? A cool neighborhood eatery, a couple of residences, and a beautiful old church razed for a parking lot full of dump truck and a warehouse



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2010 03:06PM by captain54.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: Berwyn Frank ()
Date: June 16, 2010 07:39PM

It's the Chicago way Capitan. Bulldoze over everything, put expressways in the middle of every cool immigrant neighborhood in Chicago, wipe out more neighborhoods to expand universities, and issue every Tom, Dick, and Harry demo permits to knock over architectural treasures for a "Mc Condo." Hey, it's all in the name of "progress" right?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2010 09:14PM by Berwyn Frank.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 17, 2010 02:26PM

thanks to philchi for pointing me in the direction of the original, wider angle of the Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted photo and the correct date...1934, not 1930...view looking NW down Milwaukee Ave




still not quite sure what the mystery gray buildings @ Grand & Milwaukee housed, but you can see it's turret in the original condition, and it looks like there was a jewelry store somewhere along Milwaukee on the western side about a 1/2 block north



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2010 02:44PM by captain54.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: philchi ()
Date: June 21, 2010 05:58PM

You're welcome, captain54. But let me clarify something: The book you probably got this photo from gives the date as 1934 but several other photos in the book are incorrectly dated and, for now, I suspect that 1930 is a more accurate date than 1934. For one thing, an Illinois banking publication from the 1930s records the closing of the Italian Trust and Savings Bank on 10 June 1931 (receiver appointed on July 28) and in looking thru the monthly reports I couldn't spot the bank re-opening (or being liquidated for that matter) by the end of 1936. Telephone directories from 1931 to about 1935 should reveal if the bank re-opened. I won't have access to these phone books until my next trip to Chicago, maybe next year.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: June 21, 2010 08:02PM

The Italian business Directory of 1930 has both Italian Trust and Savings and Antonio Romano Drugs listed, but the same directory of 1933-34 has Antonio Romano Drugs listed, but not Italian Trust and Savings..so, you may be on to something...philchi

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: CaesarB ()
Date: July 07, 2010 04:53PM

This site--What a Find!

While I try to figure out how to upload old pix of that area, where I grew up, a couple of observations--

Patsy's Restaurant was operated by the Spilotro family (Mr. S senior was Patsy) and was a gferat little neighborhood eatery of the old Italian type

The Norwegian Luthern Church in the photo(Erie and May) was bought by the Italian Catholic Parish of Santa Maria Addolorata in 1931 after the old(er) Santa Maria burned down. After the property ewas condemned for Expressway use(as someone noes, it WAS NOT added to the exway!) a new church nd school were bjuilt at the present site of Ohio and Ada about 4 blocks west

If you go there today, take a look at the Honorary Street Signs along Grand Av from Ashland to halsted--Moose Brindisi was my Dad, founder of the Near Northwest Civic Committee , an organization that worked to keep young people out of gangs and crime in the community.

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Re: early Italian district...Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: July 08, 2010 11:26PM

CaesarB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> The Norwegian Luthern Church in the photo(Erie and
> May) was bought by the Italian Catholic Parish of
> Santa Maria Addolorata in 1931 after the old(er)
> Santa Maria burned down. After the property ewas
> condemned for Expressway use(as someone noes, it
> WAS NOT added to the exway!) a new church nd
> school were bjuilt at the present site of Ohio and
> Ada about 4 blocks west
>

thanks for the additional info What puzzles me is why the old Norwegian Church (later SM Addolorata) was razed at all. It looks like the current block that contained the Italian eatery, the 3 flat, frame house and the church simply runs parallel to the xpressway. Seems like the church could have been kept around, like Holy Trinity and St Stan Koska's was, even though they run butt up against the xpressway.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2010 04:56AM by captain54.

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