Photos show fires at Gladstone Park & Jefferson Park Jewel grocery stores more than 5 decades ago
by BRIAN NADIG
Two recently released photographs from the Northwest Chicago Historical Society show fires that occurred more than five decades ago at former Jewel food stores in Gladstone Park and Jefferson Park.
In a fire 55 years ago a roof ended up collapsing at the Jewel at 5820 N. Milwaukee Ave., and some adjacent businesses also were damaged, according to a Feb. 7, 1967, Chicago Tribune article.
The fire occurred less than two weeks after Chicago’s famous 1967 blizzard, and firefighters had to remove 8 feet of snow that was covering nearby fire hydrants, the article said. The cause of the fire was unknown, and the former Saint Tarcissus School, which was located behind the supermarket, was not evacuated, according to the article.
Damage to the Jewel and a near-by snack shop was estimated at $100,000. The store later became a Guitar Center, followed by the Produce Center, and earlier this year the Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish expressed interest in purchasing the now-vacant building and adjacent parking lot.
THE OTHER photograph shows damage from a fire at the Jewel at 4758 N. Austin Ave, located at the southwest corner of the Austin and Lawrence intersection. The dam- age was estimated at $110,000, and the Chicago Fire Department ordered an arson investigation of the night-time blaze, according to a May 3, 1973, Tribune article.
Historical society researcher Frank Suerth suspects that the Jewel on Austin never reopened because within a few years a Pon- derosa Steakhouse had been buil on the property. The steakhouse was later converted to Resurrection Health medical offices, and currently a 48-unit affordable housing project is being constructed on the parcel, which had been undeveloped for years.