Alley comes alive with Jefferson Park History
by BRIAN NADIG
A temporary display featuring the history of the area was installed last weekend in the alley across the street from the Thomas Jefferson statue at the Jefferson Park CTA terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The alley, which runs between Higgins Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue, is a popular shortcut for those walking to and from the transit center. The display was installed to coincide with the annual "Jeff Fest" arts and music festival which was held July 29 to 31, at Higgins and Linder avenues.
"The goal is to get people more aware of their neighborhood’s history," Nilay Mistry of the Good City Group said. The group is a coalition that includes landscape architects and urban planners. Its "Last Mile" project is designed to find connections between the history of Jefferson Park and Forest Glen and the commuting patterns in the area.
Some of the images posted in the alley reveal how Milwaukee Avenue looked as far back the early 1900s, and another photograph shows the Milwaukee-Lawrence intersection around 1950. The Northwest Chicago Historical Society provided the photographs for the display, and the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce is funding a portion of the project.
There also is a picture of the former Times movie theater, 4847 N. Milwaukee Ave., which later became the Holiday Ballroom. The building was demolished in the late 1980s as part of the 10-story Veterans Square development at Higgins and Milwaukee avenues.
The images were posted on the brick wall of a recently renovated three-story building on the north side of the alley. Property owner Michael Loukas also is renovating the former Edward Fox Photography building, 4900 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Mistry said that volunteers used wheat paste to secure the images to the brick and that depending on the weather, they could remain for up to two weeks. The display also includes a sign promoting "Jeff Fest" in the storefront of the building.
Last year the Good City Group installed a temporary art display in the alley in an effort to help promote the possibility of permanent decorative walkway there.