I spotted a photo in the “Snapshots” section under “Fawned Memories” with this caption and thought I should take my own photos (July 8, 2023).
Children drink from the David Wallach Memorial Fountain in 1955. When Wallach died in 1894, he left $5,000 for a fountain near the lake to supply water for “man and beast.” Sculptors Elisabeth Haseltine Hibbard and Frederick Cleveland Hibbard collaborated on the fountain, installed at the 55th Street entrance to Promontory Point in 1939. Elisabeth modeled the bronze fawn after a doe at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Her husband created the marble fountain, which includes a well in its base with water for pets and wildlife. Both had been students of Lorado Taft, who created the Fountain of Time sculpture on the Midway and taught at UChicago. Elisabeth also taught at the University from 1943 to 1950.
I have passed by and seen but not seen this sign thousands of times from the bus. Finally I noticed the exchange telephone number: FA4-4200.
All this time I never noticed the florist is gone, which is obvious. They moved in 2001.
Florist shop replanted
Art Miller’s Florist Shop, 1551 E. Hyde Park Blvd., a 50-year-plus tradition in Hyde Park, is budding all over with both new owners and a new location.
Don Eskra and Linda Wiening, who bought Miller’s last year, have swapped the shop’s beleagured location beneath the overpass on Hyde Park Boulevard for 1521 East 55th Street, a move that was not without its trials.
“Our phones were all messed up for about a week, and people thought that Art Miller’s had gone out of business,” Wiening said.
Eskra had previouslv owned a group of flower shops in Bridgeport that he sold for Art Miller’s.
Hyde Park Herald, June 13, 2001
7/20/2023 update: Someone in the Hyde Park group posted “Chicago Telephone Exchange Names.” FA was Fairfax.
After months of abnormally dry to severe drought conditions, Chicago had a near record “rainfall event” the weekend of July 1–2, especially on Sunday.
To me, it seemed like a normal rain, but I don’t have a personal basement to worry about. I gave up any thought of outdoor activities and stuck to reading, TV, etc. I figured I’d be grateful if this rain, plus a few others that preceded it, would put a dent in the severe drought conditions.
As of July 11, Chicago was still abnormally dry, but look at the difference.
June 10, 2023:
Same area, July 9, 2023, a little less than a month later:
When I noticed the orange light on my weather radio flashing the evening of July 12, I was hoping for beach hazards or at worst a flash flood watch, but, no, it was a tornado watch. As the sky got darker, it flipped to the red light — tornado warning. Not long after that, the sirens started — an eerie sound in the eerie premature twilight.
Over the next hour or so I saw several reports of tornadoes, starting with Summit in the southwest suburbs. Then it seemed like they were everywhere — southwest, west, north.
The sky brightened for a moment, then darkened, then brightened again just as another brief deluge descended. I looked — yes, there was a rainbow (and a very faint second mirror image rainbow). It faded, then reappeared, or maybe it was a second one in a similar spot. The second, with a faint mirror image like the first, was the full arch, which I couldn’t capture from my window.
It faded as blue sky appeared to the east, then pink from the setting sun tinged the clouds that had piled up.
I’m grateful for a rainy Sunday when a short Saturday walk looks like this. It’s early June, but looks like September after a months-long drought. I hate droughts and didn’t expect this one. Spring should be vibrant green.
According to the Hyde Park Herald, Hyde Parkers who don’t have laundry facilities in their house or building now have to go outside the neighborhood for clean clothes.
Harper & 53rd Launder Koin, the last laundromat in Hyde Park, is closing for good on Tuesday.
The property, located at 5230 S. Harper Ave., is being purchased by the University of Chicago. According to co-owner Josh Hwang, Launder Koin’s last day in operation is technically Feb. 28, but “residents should try and get their laundry done before Feb. 26.”
The laundromat has been operating off 53rd Street since 2002, predating large nearby developments like Harper Court. Back then, Hwang was only 13 years old and working at the business for his parents.
Though demand for laundromats has dwindled nationwide in the last decade, Hwang said Launder Koin still services between 500 to 1,200 people a month.
I’ve wondered if I should do a “Relics” post on the institution of the laundromat, but it never seemed to be the right time. After seeing this article in the Hyde Park Herald, I figure the right time is now. The laundromat is on its way to becoming a relic, and may be for many years.
I grew up in a trailer — no dishwasher, no washer, no dryer. My understanding is in the trailer park’s early days the women did the laundry in the building “down front” (the entrance from Rte. 20). There may have been an informal “laundry day” (Tuesday? Wednesday?). The building was shut up by the time I was old enough to peer through its grimy windows and appeared to be junk storage.
Later, my dad, the only licensed driver, took the laundry to a laundromat on South Lake Park Avenue (6000? 6150?) in Hamburg on Saturdays, mostly by himself. I think it was on one occasion when I went with him that a woman asked him, with his shock of almost snow-white hair, about his cute granddaughter. “That’s my daughter,” he corrected her. I’m sure the women at the laundromat looked at him with newfound respect after that.
Winter trips took longer because he had to dry everything at the laundromat. I tried to dry jeans once or twice in winter air, but discovered they could break (tear) when frozen.
In finer weather, the wet clothes and sheets came home so we could hang them on the clotheslines. After a few hours in the breeze, they really did smell great. They also could pick up bird droppings, stains from falling wild cherries, or, worst of all, in late spring, tent caterpillars. Around May a plague of them would infest the cherry trees over the trailer and clotheslines. You hoped to pick them off so you wouldn’t find any, or parts of any, on your clothes or bedclothes later.
I imagine the laundromat could be a social place, with regulars on Saturday morning who exchanged greetings and maybe chat — with no phones or devices to distract them. Of course, you could always step out and go to a nearby store. It wasn’t likely at that time your clothes would go missing.
After I came to the university, I didn’t need to use a laundromat. The dormitory had washers and dryers, and my apartments since have had on-site laundry machines. The first was tough — I lived on the fourth floor, and the machines were on the first. There weren’t enough, so I could go down and up the stairs several times before one was free. It used a quaint honor system. You were supposed to plug the machine you used into an electrical outlet associated with your meter. It was fascinating to me to watch the meter move with the increased load. It wasn’t so fascinating when you found someone else’s laundry running up your meter.
At the next apartment, a studio, the small laundry room was slightly below ground level in the next building, and served at least a couple of buildings. In rain, snow, or cold, I’d have to dress for the weather, carry the laundry through the courtyard and a bit down the street, pass through a gate, go down steps mostly too dark to see in the alley, and hope for the best. Then repeat back and forth until all the laundry was washed and dried. I don’t miss that, especially when the weather was grim. It’s hard to get motivated to go out a half dozen or more times in wind, sleet, rain, snow, etc., especially on a day off. If I could drive and a laundromat had been an option, I’d have used it.
I’ve used laundromats twice in the last ten years that I can remember. The first was in Anna, Illinois, during a visit to Cache River and Shawnee National Forest. The other was in the college town of Geneseo, New York, while in the area to see Letchworth State Park.
The one in Anna was almost empty at maybe 8 p.m.; I recall the one in Geneseo was more crowded mid-day. Both seemed well kept, and the one in Anna gleamed with stainless steel machines.
Sadly, I have never been to the laundromat on 53rd — I’m not sure I knew it was still open. The next closest one is in Kenwood, prominently situated in a a plaza off the 47th Street exit of Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive. I haven’t been in there, either, although I would need to wash heavier items there. It gets mixed reviews.
In my dad’s day, the big deal would be to have enough change — lots of change. No credit or debit cards, no Apple Pay, not even paper bills. If the price went up a quarter, naturally my dad grumbled. Inflation! To him and some of his peers, it didn’t seem an insignificant amount of money. “It adds up,” he might say.
Laundromats may not entirely disappear, just get farther and farther apart — like Hyde Park residents having to go six blocks further north into Kenwood. Five hundred to twelve hundred people a month aren’t insignificant numbers for a neighborhood. Some laundromats, like the one in Hyde Park, are family businesses. How long will future generations want to carry on the laundromat business in a rapidly evolving society that values money and technology?
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Substitute “laundromats” and you’ll see what I mean.
I eagerly await the Star Trek “garment reprocessor”/”cleaning processor.”
Worf: Before being allowed to play, he was to put his soiled clothing in the garment reprocessor.
Keiko: One night goes by . . . two . . . a week . . . ten days . . . by now there’s a pile of socks half a meter high!
O’Brien: Come on . . . it wasn’t half a meter.
Keiko: After two weeks I couldn’t stand it any more. I bundled them up and put them in the cleaning processor. And I’m still doing it.
This is the first time since 2019 that Lessons and Carols, a Christmas Eve tradition at Rockefeller Chapel, has been held in person. I remember in 2020 and 2021, it was streamed. This year it was both in person and streamed. I attended, but within a few days had developed my first bout with COVID-19. I held out almost three years.
Rockefeller is always an experience. The snow was a great touch.
I love that the children don’t have to make or buy costumes to be farmyard animals. These days they can wear pajamas. My favorite was the Holstein cow (possibly an anachronism).
Sea smoke is essentially just fog above water, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. The occurrence of sea smoke is similar to the steam that appears over a boiling pot of water or a hot bath.
“It happens when the air mass is so cold it makes the water steam like a pot on a stove would,” Samuhel said. Sea smoke is also sometimes referred to as arctic sea smoke, frost smoke, steam fog or sea fog.
In order for sea smoke to occur, the air has to be very cold and the water has to be comparatively warm. As a light wind of cold air sweeps in, it cools the warm air immediately above the water, which makes the air dip below the dew point. The air is only able to hold so much moisture before it condenses into fog, or sea smoke.