Hyde Park Historical Society Open House.
When: Saturday, Oct. 8, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Nov. 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Hyde Park Historical Society, 5529 S. Lake Park Ave.
The Hyde Park Historical Society (HPHS) will have an open house.
The open house will feature a new exhibit entitled, “Hyde Park in 1890, from Raschers Atlas.” Posters from the 1890 atlas between 51st and 59th streets and Cottage Grove Avenue and the lakefront will be on display.
HPHS docents will be available to talk about historical topics. Light refreshments will be served.
The Hyde Park Historical Society History
- The building was constructed in 1893 or 1894 by the Chicago City Street Railway.
- It is believed to be the only building surviving in Chicago that was part of the cable car system.
- Construction of the building, which is rubble stone and not brick in the sections that abut the bank of the Illinois Central tracks, indicates it was built at the time of the embankment’s construction or after it, but not before.
- The building was in place by 1895 because it appears on a map of the area carrying that date.
- It is not entirely clear whether the building was originally used as a waiting room for passengers or as a rest area for employees. Whatever its intended use, within a few years the cable car system was abandoned.
- For a time the building served as a terminal and rest stop for the trolley system which replaced the cable cars.
- That use was short lived and the surface rail lines and trolleys had been completely abandoned by 1906.
- Beginning about 1898, through 1952, the building was operated as a short order restaurant by members of the Keller family.
- Later, it was the home of “Steve’s Lunch.” operated by a Steve Megales, a Greek Immigrant.
- By 1974 the lunch room had closed and the building was being used as a storage shed for the two-wheeled carts used for delivering newspapers. The building was clearly headed for ruin.
- The society was officially chartered in January 28, 1977.
- The Society soon purchased the building for approximately $4,000 and leased the land from the Illinois Central Railroad.
- John Vinci, well-known preservationist architect, restored the interior to its original appearance, pot-bellied stove, paneling, and all.