Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Korsbaneret -- misc. clips, obits about Augie, Chicago, Andersonville

Directory for Korsbaneret, Kristlig Kalendar, 1881-1950, in the Hathi Trust Digital Library http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/012100356

[HathiTrust is a partnership of more than 100 academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. Pron. HAH-TEE.]

History of Immanuel Sv. Luth Kyrka i Chicago in 1881 and 1882

Augie mentioned in 1882, pp. 157-59.

Edgewater Historical Society has excellent neighborhood histories:

Transportation was crucial to this development. The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad originally had stops at Summerdale (Berwyn), Rosehill Drive and just south of Granville. Prior to 1908, the trains ran on the ground level. Beginning in 1892, as traffic increased, the train embankments were built to make travel safer on the roads intersecting with the tracks. By 1900, the Clark Street trolley ran north to Devon and south to 111th street, thus creating an important link across the city. This Clark Street trolley line was one of the last to be withdrawn from service.

In the late 1950s, Grant Johnson, a businessman on Clark Street, suggested that the district reestablish the name “Andersonville” for the area. In the early 1960s the Clark Street Businessmen’s Association changed its name to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. In 1972, the East Andersonville Residents Council was formed to include the area.

In the past 40 years, many ethnic groups have settled in Andersonville area including Mexican, Korean, Greeks, Persians, Japanese, South Americans, Vietnamese and Thai. Each of them contributes to the strong, unique identity that the Andersonville name retains today.

"Group Brings Atmosphere of Scandinavia to Area." Chicago Tribune 20 Sept. 1964 http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1964/09/20/page/290/article/group-brings-atmosphere-oef-scandinavia-to-area.

"Kurt Mathiasson, Restaurant Owner" Chicago Tribune 10 March 2000 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-03-10/news/0003100237_1_restaurant-owner-punch-line-day-care-center">http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-03-10/news/0003100237_1_restaurant-owner-punch-line-day-care-center

A resident of the Andersonville neighborhood since he moved from Goteborg, Sweden, in 1963, Mr. Mathiasson could make quite an impression, said his son, Kurt S.: "He was kind of like a 70-year-old Viking." A burly, smiling man with curly blond hair down to his collar, Mr. Mathiasson liked to break the ice with strangers by telling a few jokes, though he often as not started laughing before reaching the punch line.

He came to America for the promise of greater opportunities and held a number of jobs when he first arrived, including working as a painter and owning a day care center.

But he really began gaining notoriety when he opened Svea restaurant (named for the tribe that gave its name to Sweden) in 1972, and the Swedish-American Museum Center four years later. Among the art displays, historical information and old Viking garb, Mr. Mathiasson's museum also featured exhibits on the creations of Swedish inventors, which included, among other things, the log cabin, dynamite, ball bearings and the zipper. "He wanted Swedes to know and understand their heritage, and he wanted to share that heritage as well," his son said.

Andersonville Mourns Community Leader Edgewater Historical Society 11.3 (Summer-Fall 2000) http://www.edgewaterhistory.org/ehs/articles/v11-3-05

Kurt Mathiasson immigrated from Goteborg in 1963, purch. Svea in 1970s

Kurt’s involvement with Andersonville began in the early 1970’s when he purchased Svea Restaurant at 5236 N. Clark. The neighborhood, which was settled by Swedes near the turn of the century. Kurt, however, got some idea he was going to reclaim Andersonville for the Swedes. Kurt began by dedicating a wall in his restaurant to the history of Swedes in Chicago.

With the Bicentennial celebrations of 1976 came a planned visit by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf to the United States. It was time for a museum. A storefront was available at 5248 N. Clark and Kurt recruited the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, of which he was a member to help raise funds. Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf dedicated the Museum on Easter Sunday, 1976. By 1988, the Museum needed to expand and moved to the former Lind Hardware building, at 5211 N. Clark.

* * *

Along with achievements as a community builder and diplomat, Kurt was famous for his congeniality and sense of humor. Along with the jokes Kurt often had a guitar slung over his shoulder. He could play any instrument by ear with tunes from Swedish folk to gospel. Kurt made you feel like family when you came into the restaurant. He helped restore a needed sense of direction to the community. He helped make the neighborhood a better place for everyone as well as for the Swedes. Mathiasson is survived by wife Solveig, sons Lars (Anicka) in Sweden and Kurt S (Esparanza) daughter Kristina (Dell) Oenning and seven grandchildren. Kurt’s ashes were returned to Sweden and scattered there at a family memorial on March 31, 2000.

Reprinted with permission: Andersonville Together May, 2000

"`Mayor Of Andersonville` Dominick Lalumia, 97" Chicago Tribune 8 Dec. 1991 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-12-08/news/9104200486_1_park-ridge-mayor-booster

Mr. Lalumia was a force in the revival and development of the Andersonville area at Clark Street and Foster Avenue, said his daughter Dorothy Olson. The Inn, which closed in 1977 after 44 years in business, was at 5240 N. Clark St.

Known unofficially as ``The Mayor of Andersonville,`` Mr. Lalumia is remembered as the man who walked Clark Street every morning at 10, ringing a bell to alert shopkeepers to come out and sweep their sidewalks, his daughter said.

``He really believed in the neighborhood and was its greatest booster,`` Olson said. ``He organized the banners on the poles and marched in every parade.``

Nordstjernan -- undated but probably 2008 -- http://www.nordstjernan.com/news/midwest/684/

The Swedish American Museum in Chicago.

In 1976 Kurt Mathiasson founded a small museum in a storefront log cabin, in which family histories were collected. A decade later the Swedish American Museum Center opened

A decade later the Swedish American Museum Center opened at its current location. With a mission to preserve and present the Swedish American heritage in the U.S, the Swedish American Museum Center offers a multitude of programs as well as the interactive Children’s Museum of Immigration. The first smaller museum had some 2,500 visitors. Today the museum has 43,000 visitors a year (2008) and is an important component in the Swedish Anderssonville community, on the north-side of Chicago. “We have 1500 memberships and 2000 members,” says Karin Moen Abercrombie, Executive Director. “Most of our visitors are 2nd and 3rd generation Swedes. Most people come to our permanent exhibition to learn about the Swedish immigration to the U.S. or they come to our arts exhibitions, which change four times a year. Then of course, families come to our Children’s Museum. I think the museum’s holiday celebrations are important to many and help keep the Swedish traditions alive – Midsummer, Lucia, and Christmas. We are also the ‘anchor’ for Swedes and Swedish-Americans here in Andersonville.”

Meeting place with traditions

Solveig Mathiasson, widow of Curt Mathiasson, says the museum has changed for the better lately. “Although many people keep coming back,” she says, “there’s a lot of new visitors, too, especially families. The museum is an important meeting place for Swedes, a meeting place with traditions.”

Read about the start in the words of the first and founding Executive Director: Kerstin Lane, creator, founder, visionary

Sun-Times obit of last owner of Verdandi Club, in the 5000 block of North Clark https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/alt.obituaries/tSCeIcubDH8/hB1BhmesT64J

Dead link to http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/12216848-418/ingrid-bergstrom-91-brought-chicago-swedes-together.html -- takes you to the Sun-Times' homepage

Ingrid Bergstrom, 91, brought Chicago Swedes together
Last Modified: Apr 29, 2012 11:00PM

Ingrid E. Bergstrom's Verdandi Club was the epicenter of Swedish-American life in Chicago during the 1960s.

With a huge painting of Stockholm behind the bar and a jukebox that played "Halsa dem da rhemma" and other Swedish songs, the Andersonville restaurant reminded immigrants of their homeland.

Nearly every weekend there was a wedding reception or other event, and once a month there was Scandinavian dancing that packed the house.

"That was the main place where everybody would meet, and those were the days when a lot of Swedes were coming here," said Annette Seaberg, former honorary consul for Sweden.

Along with running the restaurant with her husband, Mrs. Bergstrom, a Swedish immigrant herself, did whatever she could to help newcomers adjust to life in Chicago. She founded Svenska Gillet, the Swedish Friendship Society, and built a strong network of Swedes in the city.

"She'd help everybody," said Nels Nelson, a close friend. "They had people living with them all the time, total strangers that they'd run into. [The guests] would always be so amazed at her kindness and generosity."

Mrs. Bergstrom, a pillar in Chicago's Swedish-American community and also former owner of the Sweden Shop in North Park, died April 10 of natural causes at Swedish Covenant Hospital. She was 91 and a longtime North Side resident.

* * *

Michael Gebert. "Swedish Restaurant Owner, Leader of Vanished Community Dies" Grub Street, nymag.com 2 May 2012. http://www.grubstreet.com/2012/05/swedish_restaurant_owner-ingrid-bergstrom.html

Occasionally an obituary seems like a dispatch from a long-lost world. That's how we reacted to the Sun-Times' obituary for Ingrid E. Bergstrom, 91, a prominent leader in Chicago's Swedish-American community in the 1960s and the owner of the Verdandi Club: With a huge painting of Stockholm behind the bar and a jukebox that played “Halsa dem da rhemma” and other Swedish songs, the Andersonville restaurant reminded immigrants of their homeland. Nearly every weekend there was a wedding reception or other event, and once a month there was Scandinavian dancing that packed the house.

[The Sun-Times misspelled the name. I'm going to skip over the Grub Street obit to the end, which has an embedded YouTube video with the correct spelling. Grub Street is the food section of New York magazine's nymag.com website.]

In any case, at some point in the 1950s or 1960s she opened her restaurant, the Verdandi Club, apparently (there's very little trace of it online) at 5015 N. Clark in Andersonville. She also founded Svenska Gillet, a Swedish friendship society, and seems to have been an important leader in the Scandinavian community. But times were changing in Andersonville; by the early 1970s the Verdandi Club was gone and, in a note of rather too obvious symbolism, the address has been a gay bathhouse since the mid-1970s. Her last business venture was The Sweden Shop at 3304 W. Foster, which she owned from 1971 to 1989 (it's now owned by the owners of the Swedish restaurant Tre Kronor).

Valsigne dig fröken, Mrs. Bergstrom. Let us say goodbye to your world with a chorus of "Halsa dem dar hemma":

Hälsa dem där hemma - played by Walter Eriksson

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