A Walking Tour of Albany Park’s Corner Buildings133 comments
Some of the city’s most beautiful neighborhood commercial buildings are on Lawrence Avenue in Albany Park. Diverse, charming, and beautiful, these structures nicely represent the community they’re a part of.
The corner buildings featured in this walking tour were constructed during Albany Park’s meteoric rise in the early 20th century, from 1907 to 1930.
An Albany Park Primer
Before we look at the architecture, it is important to understand the neighborhood’s history. A few highlights from the Encyclopedia of Chicago’s entry on Albany Park:
The completion of the Ravenswood Elevated line set off a building boom clustered around the train terminal at Lawrence and Kimball. Commercial development included small shops, department stores, and theaters. Land valued at $52 per front foot in 1909 sold for $2,750 per front foot by 1929. Residential builders constructed bungalows and two-flats at a furious pace during the 1910s and 1920s, by the end of which Albany Park was almost completely developed. The 1910 census counted 7,000 inhabitants; that number nearly quadrupled by 1920, to 26,676, and then doubled again by 1930, to more than 55,000.
After the 1970s, Albany Park became a port of entry for immigrants from Asia and Latin America. In 1990 the community area claimed the largest numbers of Korean, Filipino, and Guatemalan immigrants in Chicago. The Korean community played important commercial and civic roles in the revitalization of the area. The number of homes sold increased 125 percent between 1980 and 1989. Albany Park’s pattern of population shifts continued in the 1990s, as more prosperous Korean immigrants began moving to northern suburbs. Throughout the twentieth century, Albany Park acted as a gateway community for aspiring middle-class ethnic groups.
The neighborhood has continued its upward trend started in the 1980s. According to an April 2014 Chicago magazine article, it ranks #7 of all neighborhoods in home value growth compared to 2012.
Architectural Styles of Lawrence Avenue’s Commercial Buildings
Albany Park is a microcosm of Chicago’s boom years (1910-1929), but it is also a symbol of a time that survived a series of demographic and social changes. Unlike many of the neighborhoods closer downtown, which have predominantly Victorian influences, Albany Park was formed during the era of Neoclassical, Edwardian, Art Deco, and Spanish Revival. Its building styles are as diverse as the people who continue to reside there.
Most are in the two-part commercial block type.
Corner Buildings and Independent Retail
Corner buildings are ubiquitous in Chicago as a result of the city’s layout, and as a result are overlooked by most residents. But these structures are more than just a common neighborhood trait.
Across the whole of Albany Park exist some 1,100 businesses, many single-location enterprises wedged into 25-by-125-foot storefronts, Griffiths says. Those shops and the foot traffic they spur are a big reason the streets crackle with an electricity that has nothing to do with their countless neon signs.
–Jeffrey Steele, Chicago Tribune
Acting on the knowledge that location is everything, many enterprising entrepreneurs took advantage of the city’s grid layout. Fortunately, they also realized the value of an aesthetically pleasing commercial structure.
Now that we’ve caught up on the neighborhood and its architectural background, let’s start the tour.
The walking tour begins at Kedzie and Lawrence, and continues west along Lawrence until it meets Pulaski. To get to the starting point, take the Brown Line to Kedzie Station, and walk north toward Lawrence Avenue.
3200 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Kedzie)
Kedzie Apartments is an early 1920s building with mostly restrained flair.
The distinguishing feature of this building is an eagle standing watch over the entryway.
3225 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Sawyer)
The Willis Building features balustrades, detailed ornamentation, bold use of color, and straddles two architectural styles–Neoclassical Revival with a hint of Art Deco.
3254 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Spaulding)
One of the crown jewels of Albany Park is an Art Deco building at Lawrence and Spaulding. Featuring elaborate windows with columns and arches, there are hints of neoclassical influence. The cornice has terra cotta faces that resemble a lion separating each window grouping.
Above the rounded corner entrance are twin, winged creatures set against a floral pattern.
3259 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Spaulding)
At the southwest corner of Lawrence and Spaulding is another mixed-use Art Deco structure built at the beginning of Albany Park’s boom years. Though not as elaborate as other corner buildings, it features solid brick construction and detailed, glazed terra cotta.
3322 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Christiana)
Similar to the downtown Fisher Building, the Fish Furniture building has ichthyological ornament paying tribute to the building’s namesake. This Art Deco building was constructed at the tail end of Albany Park’s boom years.
Sea shells, fish, and blue accents are prominent features.
4755 Kimball Ave (Lawrence and Kimball)
Most of the decorative corner buildings on Lawrence Avenue in Albany Park are early 20th century commercial structures. CTA’s Kimball Brown Line station is a modernist exception.
Part of what was then called Ravenswood Elevated, the station was the main source of the neighborhood’s growth.
The area around Lawrence and Kimball is not only an important terminal, but also home to Kimball Yard and Shops.
3401 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Kimball)
The yellow brick and terra cotta building across from the Brown Line station was in the press recently when Walgreens wanted to demolish and replace it with a cookie-cutter building with a large front surface parking lot.
Residents protested the lack of consideration given to pedestrians and the potential loss of character for the neighborhood. Several meetings resulted with Walgreens representatives balking at changed plans. Ald. Deb Mell pushed back and the process is now stalled.
Attached to this building is the Huddle House Grill, a greasy spoon diner that has been here for decades.
4801 N. St. Louis (Lawrence and St. Louis)
The corner of St. Louis and Lawrence features a building constructed at the height of neoclassical fashion, inspired by the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Ridged pilasters, arched entryways and windows, with a highly detailed cornice are some of the style’s identifying characteristics.
3455 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and St. Louis)
The Peking Mandarin restaurant has been a staple of Lawrence Avenue for over 30 years. Service is sometimes slow, but the food is always fantastic.
3501 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and St. Louis)
This neoclassical building is very similar to its neoclassical neighbor across the street. It also features patterned pilasters and a detailed cornice, but lacks arched windows and entryways.
A closer inspection shows that this building has a mural honoring the neighborhood’s CTA bus and train services.
3554 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Central Park)
A brick building with lightly ornamented terra cotta is at the northeast corner Lawrence and Central Park.
3603 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Central Park)
Across the street on the southwest corner of Lawrence and Central Park is a unique structure with green accents, similar to the one at Lawrence and Spaulding.
An Albany Park bike tour guide [PDF] lists the architect as Albert Ruttenburg.
3734 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Ridgeway)
At Lawrence and Ridgeway is an empty storefront with puzzling Seoul Video Fishing boards covering the windows.
The only information I can find on what was once here is from a 1001 Chicago Afternoons article:
Left in the windows of an abandoned corner storefront below abandoned apartments on an abandoned little shut-down stretch of what the highway sign claims is Korea Town, there are signs that say “Seoul Video Fishing” in English. The Korean characters above it presumably say the same.
One of the window shows a man fishing.
Inside, there’s nothing. Another empty storefront. Dust and carpet and a flattened cardboard box lying on the ground. Nothing to indicate what went on here, whether it was fishing videos, some 1990s VR simul-angling or some unique and heretofore unseen combination of videos, fish and the 10.5-million resident capital of South Korea.
If you know more about what this place was, please let us know in the comments section.
3825 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Avers)
Spanish Revival (or Spanish Baroque) is a style that was briefly in fashion during the Roaring Twenties. The building at 3825 W. Lawrence has many of the defining features: arched and highly ornamental window surrounds, twisted columns with pointed spikes rising above the roof.
3820 W. Lawrence
Perhaps one of the more interesting corner buildings of this walking tour is at the corner of Lawrence and Avers. Built in the Edwardian Baroque style, flourishes including rustication, repeating patterns, symmetry, and ornate detailing are characteristics that reveal the style.
There are several repeating bands of terra cotta that give this building a playful feel.
4800 N. Avers (Lawrence and Avers)
Less dramatic than its neighbor on the northwest corner is a yellow brick and terra cotta commercial style structure.
4800 N. Springfield (Lawrence and Springfield)
The cleverly named Lawrfield Building doesn’t feature a distinct corner entrance as many others of Lawrence Avenue do. With subtle ornamentation, it has Spanish Revival and Neoclassical influences.
3969 W. Lawrence (Lawrence and Pulaski)
The walking tour ends at Lawrence and Pulaski. This neoclassical corner building has a few Korean commercial tenants, as well as a Middle Eastern restaurant.
4754 N. Pulaski (Lawrence and Pulaski)
The building where L&P Liquors and Tap Room resides is a fitting end to the tour. Step inside and enjoy a cold beverage!
Albany Park’s Architecture Sampler Platter
By comparing the build year and appearance of corner buildings on Lawrence between Kedzie and Pulaski, you can get a good sense of how tastes changed between the 1900s and when new construction slowed in the mid-1930s. The high density and rapid construction gives a wide look at styles within a short walk:
- Neoclassical (1900s-1930s): buildings with columns, balustrades, arches, and a lighter/whiter appearance, and came into fashion as a result of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
- Edwardian Baroque (1900-1910): Late Victorian style with extensive patterns, grand arches, symmetry, detailed ornament, rusticated exterior
- Commercial style/Chicago School (1900s-1920s): restrained ornamentation, flat and rigid shapes, vertical emphasis
- Spanish Revival (1910s-1920s): concrete ornament, twisted columns, and sculptural figures, often with asymmetrical patterns
- Art Deco (1920s-1930s): Brilliant colors, reliefs with animals, geometric shapes, and symmetry
Share Your Story
Do you have memories or more information on any of the buildings in this article? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
References and Additional Information:
- Albany Park (Encyclopedia of Chicago)
- Albany Park Neighbors
- History of Albany Park, Chicago (Albany Park Chamber)
- Albany Park: A patchwork of cultures (Chicago Tribune)
- Albany Park Memories (Me and my shadow)
- Albany Park Auto Clinic and the Forty Year Misspelling
- 43rd Street Bronzeville Walking Tour, Part 1: Greystones
- 43rd Street Bronzeville Walking Tour, Part 2: ‘Doctor Dan’
- 43rd Street Bronzeville Walking Tour, Part 3: The Forum
EXCELLENT job on this walking tour, John. The only thing I would suggest is to include a flat map of the neighborhood to pin point the various landmarks so that one might go beyond the narrative in order to get a sense of context in relation to the greater Chicago metropolitan area.
Interesting and really good John!!
No mention of the Admiral Theatre building on Lawrence and Harding? The use of the building is questionable but I always thought the building itself was beautiful. I am no architecture buff but it seems like it should have made the list.
Whoa. Pretty fascinating to see my old ‘hood almost 20 years later. Thanks!
I live in the neighborhood and love what you did. These buildings are not protected and we are losing some: The latest one the one walgreens wants at Lawrence/Kimball. I hope your work will help bring interest and appreciation to this undervalued asset of the neighborhood and the city as a whole.
Thanks for putting this together. It really made me take another look at buildings that I usually just take for granted. I think Seoul Video Fishing used to be a video store that specialized in Korean-language tapes and a bait shop. Not that that explains anything, but…
Chicago must be one of the last places in the country where local developers were still building beautiful vernacular buildings in pre-modern styles — even as late as 1939!
These buildings are absolutely worth protecting, as is much of Chicagos pre-war architecture, because communities are not developed the same way now.
What developers do not understand is that people are so adamantly anti-development in many ways because builders no longer come from the communities, a fact which is evident in the substandard products they construct.
This is due to the accredited investor rule limiting private equity offerings to only the rich, and to the creation of the FHA and its nationalization of the mortgage industry.
The FHA used its insurance powers and refused to insure loans on urban developments, cutting off their funding streams. Meanwhile the accredited investor rule destroyed local capital formation processes.
These buildings are evidence that Americans once built their own communities, rather than national REITs.
John, this is a terrific article and I appreciate your linking to my site. I will do the same on my site, and in fact, I’d like to create a post about your research of Lawrence Avenue, as it would be of great interest to my readers. Send me an email when you have a chance. Thanks,
I grew up in Albany Park during the 1930s, 40s and the first half of the 1950s. There are so many buildings gone from that era, like the Terminal theater and that whole block on either side of. We hung out on the NW corner of Kedzie and Lawrence when it was the Bonfire, with it’s booths and juke box. Those were good times.
I live here now and I’ve always been curious about the Terminal Building since I didn’t exist then. Would you happen to have any picture or know anyone who does and would be able to share? Any other details of the building and how people socialized there would be awesome!
This magazine will be publishing an article about Albany Park in June. Your question about the Terminal Building should be answered then.
Wonderful work! I grew up in Albany Park in the 50s and 60s
and have plenty of great memories of those days. In fact, the shot of the SE corner of St. Louis and Lawrence shows the apartment building I grew up in. I could almost write a book about the neighborhood, but it’d take years.
My father had a laundry, “The Cleanerette” in that building from ~1955-1960.
By any chance, do you remember it?
I WORKED FOR GLICKS(METRO MEDICAL)JUST EAST OF THE CLEANERETTE FROM 63 TO 76.I BELIEVE I REMEMER YOU ,YOUR DAD,AND MOTHER.THIS WAS THE SAME BUILDING THAT USED TO HOUSE WOLIN FURNITURE
Hi Joe, Sorry I never noticed your comment. I was very young when my Dad and Mom ran the Cleanerette so I don’t remember you. You are correct there was a furniture store next door. I thought it was Wallen & Levy, but I defer to your recollection, Wolin.
Anyone know of a place called Buddy’s Hut in this area? My mom mentioned it in her diary. Might h ave been in the area of the Marbro Theater
Sorry Barbara but the Marbro theater was on the west side. On Madison street just west of Pulaski. I grew up in Albany Park but my mom would take me shopping at Baer Brothers departments store down the street from the Marbro and my pediatrician’s offices where in the Marbro building or next door. Don’t remember Buddy’s but I was likely around 7 years old when we no longer took the bus to teh old west side
Love this area and LOVE this article. Thank you so much, John. Wonderful work!
Loved this trip down memory lane. Grew up in Albany Park. Lived there from the 1950’s – 1990. Grew up near Wilson and Kedzie, walking to Hibbard Grade School and Von Steuben High School 5 days a week down Kedzie and Lawrence. Father was the Minister at Albany Park Baptist Church on Sunnyside and Spaulding. Thank you so much. Muchas Gracias.
I also went to hibbard,Hibbard, and von steuben.
I also want to mention that when in high school and beyond my friends and I hung out at the Huddle House Grill pictured in this article. Thanks again.
The beautiful aspect to Albany Park, other than these photographs, is that, for the most part, all the places I lived in, and there were many, are all still there.
When do we get to see the corner buildings on M
ontrose or Irving Park?
Thank you all for the kind words.
Philip, Montrose and Irving Park are on my list. I hope you’ll become a regular reader and check in later.
Wonderful as usual. Maybe I can offer a PS.I believe that the building at the corner of Lawrence and Avers/3825 was at one time a small deli. Across the street from it at 3820 may have been where the Orange Crush Bottling Company was. Regards, David
David, the deli at 3825 Lawrence was called Ed & Hy’s. I know this because my dad’s name was Hy and his business partner was named Ed. (No relation to the deli, though)
Which building was the Bonfire in? My friends and I would go there a lot in the 60s and order fries and gravy. lol My dentist, Dr. Mann was no St. Louis and Lawrence on the northeast side of the corner if memory serves. There was a pharmacy on the street level. Was this building shown? I’ve been away since 1967 and last visited in 1977, but only spent about an hour or so driving around Albany Park. All the bldgs look much lighter and cleaner than when I lived there. I never paid attention to the architecture, but I can see that it was really special and should never be torn down.
Thanks for the walk. At one time I lived at 3024 Montrose (which today I believe is interesting-looking if you are on drugs), and would love to see it. It was on the northeast corner of Montrose and Whipple.
Thank you. Barbara Lerner aka Bobbie LeVan (married name)
Interesting – NE corner of Whipple and Montrose was my station as a patrol boy for Our Lady of Mercy grammar school circa 1950-51. At that time I remember there being a fruit and vegetable store on the NE corner. The owners would let me stand inside on the cold winter mornings.
I lived at montrose and Troy. The bonfire where my mom worked was, I believe at the corner of Lawrence and kedzie
The Bonfire Restaurant was on the Northwest corner of Lawrence and Kedzie in the 1960s.
And before the Bonfire it was my uncle’s drug store. Steinway Drugs
Didn’t a brick fall from the side of the Bonfire fall off and kill someone in the late 50’s or early 60’s?
The Seoul Video Fishing was exactly what it sounded like. It was a store that had a large number of Korean-language VHS tapes along with fishing rods, tackle, and other fishing items. It closed around 2010 (I think).
That building with the “restrained flair” at 3200 W. Lawrence, where the Bonfire restaurant used to be, didn’t always look so plain. If I remember correctly, in the early 60s a chunk of the fancy facade on that building fell off and killed a man who was walking home from synagogue with his family on the Jewish High Holidays. They stripped off all the facade after that happened (except for the eagle above the doorway).
Interesting to know the history of my old stomping ground. Lived in Albany Park from the mid 70’s thru the early 90’s. Many beautiful memories. I used to love the sidewalk sales at the end of the summer up n down Lawrence Ave.
This is always fun; what might be even more interesting, but would take a bit of time and some effort, is to identify the present day addresse’s and tell what was there back in the 50’s & 60’s, when Albany Park was in its hey-day. Regards, David S
The Chicago Anthology will be published in June. It will have a reprise of Albany Park. The publisher is Belt Books.
Their magazine is called Belt.
Thanks for the memories. I lived on Springfield and Lawrence when I was between the ages of 2 and 4 years. I still remember going to Emil’s Butcher shop on Lawrence. We moved from there to Spaulding and Cullom. Stayed there until getting married and moving out to the suburbs in 1971. Haven’t been to Albany Park in over 30 years. I remember the Bonfire and also S&L Restaurant.
I lived on Springfield and Lawrence as well. Our apartment was in that building and looked out at Springfield and the alley.
I remember Emil’s butcher shop. He had a son who was learning the trade at the time I was a kid in the 1950’s. Emil also had German Shepherd dogs. I lived on Avers close to Lawrence Avenue. Ed & Hy’s Deli was on the corner, John the German tailor was across the street from there. Down Lawrence to the east and on the north side of the the street was Joe’s hardware store. Joe was a native American. It was a special time to live in Albany Park. Brown’s Pet shop across from the Admiral, Marie’s Pizza, the diner in the SE corner of Pulaski and Lawrence, the Rollaway Bowling Alley, the Hub Roller Skating Rink, and so much more. I lived in the neighborhood from 1951 through 1969. Great memories!
Ah, the Admiral, the Metro, and the Terminal theaters: those are among my best memories of that area, not to mention Von Steuben.
There was nothing like growing up in Albany Park. I can come up with hundreds of wonderful memories of the Terminal,
the great hot dog joints, Cooper and Cooper’s, and on and on ad infinitum.
I graduated from Roosevelt, but attended Von for 7th and 8th grades, ’61-63. If you’re a Von graduate, you’ll be
interested in this: Chess Records shot a picture of a couple of students walking up the steps and into the door of the furthest north entrance (near Carmen av) and used the picture for the cover of an LP called “Sweet Little Sixteen”, by Chuck Berry (1958).
All sorts of fun trivia about the old nabe. We could go on forever.
I have always wondered where the boundaries between Von Steuben and Roosevelt existed. In 1953-55,I lived on the SW corner of Wilson and Kedzie above the tavern that served wonderful corned beef sandwiches. I can smell the corned beef even today.
All my friends who lived east and south of this location went to Roosevelt, at least I thought they did as you would see a stream of HS students going west on Wilson daily?
Oh my God, I just Google that and you’re right. This gave me a chill. Thanks God that trivia piece. My sister went to Roosevelt in the 60’s
this was one of the best articles are ever saw of chicago as a product of chicago do you have any info or photos of the west side ROOSEVELT ROAD/OGDEN AVE /DOUGLAS PARK/OR EVEN MAXWELL ST I REALIZE IT NOT THERE ANY MORE.I WAS BORNED ON THE WEST SIDE 1807 TRUMBULL AVE 80 YEARS AGO, ANY PHOTOS OR ANY SORT OF PHOTOS WOULD BE GREAT, THERES A LOT OF HISTORY IN THAT AREA,MANY THANKS FOR A GREAT JOB DONE,HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON. DAVID SILVERMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
very good tour.maybe for the next tour,you can show the apt buildings around the neighborhood,they have some very unusual designs that you never see anymore.thanks again.P.S. SE corner of Pulaski/Lawr Corner Hut rest
Google Maps has a street view of all of Albany Park, as well as, the inside of some businesses. Interesting to see how much has changed since 1989 and how little has changed as well.
Stuart Moskovitz says:
During the 50’s I lived on Bernard across the alley just south of Lawrence. The Post Office and barbershop were conveniently across the street. On the corner w as the Albany Park Bank and two stores down was Mithes Hot Dogs and next door was Sally’s. I’m still searching for the best B- B-Q sauce on their ribs and B-B-Q Beef .
Across the street was a dry cleaners and going east was a Jewish bakery with challah and real crusted rye bread where a 1/2 pound sliced could be gotten. Further down on Kimball I proudly stood as a patrol boy. Best part was walking to Roosevelt High and coming home for a home made lunch.
Remember the fruit and vegetable store on Kedzie and Leland? Not only did I work there delivering orders after school 60years later I am friends with the owners daughter in Sun City, Huntley, II, 60 miles west of Chicago returning to the Chicago area after a 35year absence
Are you referring to the market that took over the space previously occupied by a PHILIP 66 gas station midway between Leland and Lawrence on Kedzie, right across from the international market that was formerly an A&P?
I lived on St. Louis between Lawrence and Leland. I remember a Steve Moskovitz, but I think his name was spelled Moskowitz.
How the memories flow! I loved Mitch’s (which was next to the OLD Albany Park Bank parking lot) and of course, Cooper’s – it was to die for.
The bar-b-que at Mitch’s was great – only place I can think of today that might even come close would be “Smoque” on Pulaski just north of Addison.
Absolutely wonderful. I grew up in Albany Park. Late 50’s to mid 70’s. I knew every building yet never realized the beautiful architecture of each . I loved this. Thank you so much
A little over 2 years ago, on June 6th, 2013, Lani Hall and her husband, musician and producer Herb Alpert, were interviewed by Geoffrey Baer at the WTTW studios. The interview was in two parts, but the second was not aired on WTTW. The entire interview can be viewed here:
Scroll down to watch the second part, and at about 3:45 Geoffrey questions Lani about how different Albany Park looked as compared to when she was growing up here (she moved away to CA in 1965). I loved her description of the area and how it’s changed in 50 years.
p.s. Lani did an LP in 1982 entitled “Albany Park”, which she dedicated to the neighborhood she grew up in.
If you’re referring to the SE corner of St. Louis and Lawrence, that place was called the “Launderette”. A friend of mine who grew up at Lawndale and Lawrence said that the “Cleanerette” was on Lawrence a few doors west of Monticello ave. and was owned by someone named “Buddy”. He couldn’t remember any more than that.
I confirmed with my Dad, Ed Chubin, his laundry was called
“The Cleanerette”. He operated it between ~1955-1960. He sold the laundry and the building to another operator who lasted less than two years.
He also never rented apartments in the building but does recall a dance school on the second floor.
A good friend of mine worked at the medical supply place 2 doors east of the Cleanerette, and remembers the place well (as I do). He asked if your dad went by the nickname “Buddy”. I remember the dances at that hall, because I’d hear the music going all evening. I lived 200 feet away. It was a wild place.
I went to HS with a girl named Bonnie Chubin. Connected?
My Dad was Ed, or sometimes, Eddie, (I was little Ed).
Bonnie Chubin went to Volta School when I was there (1956-1962)but I don’t think we’re related.
Thank-you for “A Walking Tour of Albany Park’s Corner Buildings”. I grew up in Albany Park (Lawndale & Leland across from Jensen Park) – 1960-1970 – I went to Haugan – then to Lane Tech. In the late 60’s there was a restaurant “Princess Electra” on Lawrence and Pulaski (NW Corner) sort of in the First Distributors parking lot. Also – on Lawrence & Kimball (SW corner) there was a “hippy” clothing store called the “Different Circle”. I used to go to Bonfire Restaurant, Lil Al’s Records, Lorraine’s Records, the “dime stores” Glick’s Drug Store, Maury’s Hot Dogs, etc. Does anyone remember the grocery store on Lawndale and Lawrence early 1960’s (SW corner) where the Launderette is?
I lived in lbany park for many many years, and grew up in an apartment next to the Fisher furniture building on Lawrence and Christians. My mom was a waitress at the bonfire restraunt. This is so crazy, the memories are so vivid. The Ross department store, ( not today’s Ross) this was the five and dime. Danny’s diner and the huddle house were also places that my mom worked as well as me when I was in High school. The different circle, oh my goodness.
Good memories. All the stuff I did, too. There’ll never be another neighborhood like it in Chicago.
I went to Hibbard, Von Upper Grade, and RHS ’67. I ate at Princess Electra a few times, next to First Distributors. Before First there was a huge bowling alley there called Rolaway Lanes. I still have a red and black shopping bag from Different Circle! The bonfire and Little Al’s were institutions of Lawrence ave. One of my best friends used to manage Glick’s medical, and worked at the main store at Lawndale for many years. He lived right next door to it, kitty-corner from Maury’s Red Hots’ original “shack” in the Launderette’s parking lot. One thing, tho: Lorraine’s, to the best of my knowledge, was a florist. ;-)
Now I remember. We spoke about this a few weeks back. My friend Joe who worked for Glick’s knew whomever it was who owned the Laundromat at St. Louis at Lawrence. I’m sure we’ll figure it out some day. ;-)
Thanks for the reply – I remember BEU being the florist (near the Police Station on Pulaski near Montrose) – the record store “Lorraine’s?” Maybe Music Unlimited? – was a small record store on Lawrence SW corner Lawrence & Pulaski). Do you remember the name of the tavern/bar with live music on Pulaski near Leland in the 1960’s?
Wishing all my Albany Park friends from the past a Happy Thanksgiving ! Lenny
Beu florist(now Bonnie’s) has been my family florist since 1955. I hung out with guys and girls that included Diane Beu
( a ’57 Roosevelt grad) and daughter or granddaughter of the owners.
Even after I moved to Ohio and then Michigan, we used Beu’s for our holiday flowers – always great – sent some to friends this Christmas from Bonnie’s very beautiful according the those that received them.
Hi… I didn’t know that place was called “Lorraine’s”. All I remember was that it was only open sporadically, and the lady (and her mother) who ran it was a little “spooky”. I picked up a few things there, in the 60s. It was about 1/2 way between Pulaski and Springfield on the south side of Lawrence. I don’t remember it having a name. They also sold greetings cards and miscellaneous items.
BEU florist on Pulaski next to the 17th district station was the largest florist in our area. Great place.
Does anyone remember Officer Mueller of the 17th district who would ticket anyone who broke the parking laws even Aldermen or the Mayor.
How about the gas station across the street on the west side of Pulaski where the cops filled up and the glass dinner ware they gave away in the late 1950s?
The gas station was Fire King.
My folks were married at Albany Park church. My mom grew up in the church as well. Rev Colpitts was the pastor at the church. He was very instrumental in my dad becoming a Christian. They loved the church.
Reply to Lenny:
Hi! I just read your comment about the tavern at Wilson & Pulaski with live music) as I was skimming these messages for a second time. I thought the location sounded familiar. A few friends of mine and I attempted to form a “garage band” in about 1967, and we would practice in the back room of the place! Wow. Goose bumps. The group was called “The Lucky Charms”, but it didn’t get very far, unfortunately.
Mike Wolstein –
Do you know the name of the bar at that time? Who was in the band? Did you guys ever play at Max Strauss JCC? A band I used to hear around Montecello and Leland in a basement had a drummer named Joel Seidler? and guitarist Mark Green? in it. I was playing guitar during the 1966-1970’s in Albany Park. I also would see bands at Aaron Russo’s Kinetic Playground (4812 N. Clark) (1969-1970). Jensen Park had a band once or twice during that period as well. I used to hang out at Continental Music and Flip Side Records (on Foster near Kimball). Great fun in Albany Park for me during those years.
Marc Green played with Ray Klass, Ray still plays, wonderfully, with his group The Wind Gypsies around the city and suburbs.
I guess the Mark Green I knew way back when isn’t the same fellow you now. I see Ray Klass all the time. A group of folks from the RHS ’68 class and I meet up to hear the Gypsys once in a while. I graduated with his brother Mitch.
Ray and I have been good friends since we were 10. Loved him and his music then and still do. Mitch was the big brother who was always working out. Which a lot of people weren’t doing then. Ray was a Funny Fellow. I was and LDF. Jensen. The J. Lester’s.
Now I remember who you are. It took a while…. the old brain ain’t what it used to be. I remember you by your maiden name, tho. I was in the FF for a short time, as I’m very tall and they needed someone to pull rebounds. ;-)
Mitch used to hang around with one of my old buddies, Allen Green; they’d work out together. I even got into that for a while. Haven’t seen or spoken to Mitch since ’67. ;-(
The guys in the band were fellow students at RHS: There was Bob Phillips, brothers Joe and John Martin, and I forget the other guy. They all lived just west of Pulaski off Wilson avenue on a diagonal street called Kennicott.
We never played “professionally; we never seemed to get past the “practice” stage. I don’t know whatever became of the band after I “dropped out”… I think it just “went away” by itself.
Not familiar with the basement band, but I knew Mark Green. Seidler sounds familiar. Knew a million people from that area!
Were you playing professionally? 2 guys from my division and a couple of others had a band called The Ingredients (which had to be changed to the Rush Hour) that cut 2 45s; Jon-Jon Poulos (RHS’65) was the Buckinghams drummer.
We were in the same gym class for a while.
Electric Theater… what memories…. and I loved to ice skate next door at Rainbo Arena.
What a great site!!! I grew up in Albany Park in the 70’s, and left in 79 when we moved to California. I have been trying to remember the name of the restaurant diagonally across from Princess Elektra. It had a train that ran along the ceiling – we always called it the Choo Choo Restaurant, but I know that’s not the name. Directly across on the other side of Lawrence was a tiny coffee shop next to the candy store, I’d love to remember the name of that place too. Thanks for this site, next time I am in town, I’m gonna totally walk around – need to see Eugene Field Park now too.
The “Corner Hut Junction” was the one with the train running in it, corner of Pulaski and Lawrence. Marie’s pizza was always a family favorite. All the kids would go there, (Marie’s) after the seventh & eighth grade dances at Volta. The dances were held at the Eugene park fieldhouse. I always wondered if Volta still did these?
The Corner Hut was the restaurant diagonal to Princess Electra. FYI..before it was Princess Electra it was a place called Johns, a restaurant sort of place.
Heidi, I think we went to school together. I was at von steuben from junior high to my junior year. I left von in 1979. Last name is brantley. Does this ring a bell?
I went to Volta and then moved in 79. Too bad we didn’t meet.
I believe the mystery of the restaurants at Lawrence & Pulaski has been solved. You might dig back into some of the earlier messages here to find the info.
Regarding Eugene Field Park, I’m sad to report that it doesn’t look anything like what we remember from days past. The northwest part of the park is a somewhat unusable area, overrun with weeds and some unidentifiable things. The two baseball diamonds at the northeast end are still operational.
Years ago, a “bridge” (I think of it as a “walkway”) was built so that one could walk from Central Park avenue and Carmen directly to the park’s fieldhouse at Ridgeway. It crosses the river at what would be Monticello avenue.
The corner building at 3820 W Lawrence used to be some sort of steel company. Do you know what it was? We used to watch the trucks and forklifts when we were little. I grew up right here on Avers. Went to Volta, K-8.
Amazing site and pictures. Thank you so very much.
I’ve just discovered your nice little site. Well done.
The corner buildings are really special, the presence of one giving any block a special character, much the way a church does to a little village.
Of course, there’s the wonderful terracotta, too, something which featured heavily in Chicago commercial and apartment building architecture.
Albany Park is a Chicago neighborhood I was not familiar with. It does have a nice feel, and I’m glad so many period buildings survive.
Loved the article!! Lived at Wilson & Monticello from1961 to 1989…my parents owned a 3 flat on the corner,we lived on the 2nd floor..great memories..!!
Fantastic history. The S.E.corner of Lawrence
and Avers was a delicatessen from the early
1930’s until around the 1950’s. During that
stretch of time there were several different owners. My father, Louis (Louie) Abramson &
mother Mollie Abramson owned and operated the
deli and restaurant from 1939 until the mid 1940’s. I worked there while a teen ageer and
attended Lane Tech H.S. My sister went to
Roosevelt. I believe she graduated about
1945 or 6. I loved Albany Park. it has a rich
and great history for those of us that grew up there.
What a wonderful way to honor Albany Park! I used to live in a large court building on Kimball… Just north of Lawrence. I went to Von and graduated June, 1965. Does anyone remember what business operated on the NW corner of Kimball and Lawrence in the ’60s? No one seems to recall… even people attending our 50th reunion in 2015. Also, while attending UIC (chicago circle back then) I worked as a switchboard operator/receptionist at the Lawrence-Kimball Medical building…upstairs offices on SW corner.
There is a real estate map from 1954 of Lawrence Ave. According to the picture there was a “Becker’s Bakery”, a Grill store, and a Radio store. Did you work at Fishoff Drugs?
Check it out:
Maria…I thought that a bakery was on the NW corner, but no one ever could name it or recall shopping there. I didn’t work in the drugstore, but at the medical center upstairs. That was 1965-1969, while I was attending UIC. Thanks for that link.
We’d go every Sunday to Becker’s Bakery for a Baker’s Dozen of sweet rolls. A Baker’s Dozen back in the 60’s was always 13 sweet rolls.
I think that was a cigar shop. Next to it was a laundromat and then the huddle House where my mom worked. On Lawrence there was a drug store next to the cigar shop and then Danny’s diner. I lived on Lawrence next to the blood bank right across from the start train yard. On the other corner across from the cigar store was a bank and another bank across Lawrence and then across Kimball from that was the cta train station.
There was a cigar store on one corner across from that was the train station, across from that was a building that had several little businesses that was next to Cooper and Cooper hamburger shop. Across from that was a bank.
In the ’50s it was the K&L Grill, then became Chef Christopher’s Restaurant in the 60s. Then the entire block of Lawrence was torn down to make way for the National Bank of Albany Park (now Albank).
Hi Mike… We actually saw pictures of Chef Christopher’s being on that corner. Funny thing, though is that nobody recalls seeing it or eating there. My building was torn down to make way for the bank parking lot. That was about 1966, and we then moved to Budlong Woods.
I was looking at an old (1919) photo of the intersection of Lawrence and Kimball, shooting southeast from the northwest corner somehow. Very beautiful picture – if I can find it on line I’ll upload the URL. The building on the NE corner was a cigar store, even before Sam’s Smoke Shop. I remember that the entire west side of Kimball from the alley north of Lawrence to the south wall of Deborah Boys’ Club was nothing but apartment buildings until they were torn down. Knew a few folks who lived on that block. One famous person who (I believe) lived in that block was Lani Hall, a Hibbard and Von Grad – she was drafted by Sergio Mendez for his group “Brasil ’65, and did numerous albums with him on A&M Records (she’s presently married to Herb Alpert). She even recorded a solo LP in 1982 entitled “Albany Park”, which she dedicated to the neighborhood of her youth.
Yes…Lani lived in the court building across the street from mine. My address was 4818 N. Kimball. People thought she was a real character…another neighborhood treasure, huh? My back porch faced that alley, and I used to walk straight across it to go to Mitch’s or to the dances in the bank lot. Speaking of Deborah’s, when we first moved to Albany Park, my mom registered me for several classes there (I was about 11). Ella Jenkins taught my “Rhythms” class there…before she became a kid’s folk singing legend.
History that boggles the mind. My family owned LOUIS DELICATESSEN on the SE corner of Lawrence and Avers from 1939 until about 1945. We lived above the store. I went to Lane Tech (39-43) but my sister Annette, went to Roosevelt (45-49). The old red cable street cars ran down Lawrence Ave in those days. Across the street from us (N E corner)was a Hudson car dealership at one time and then the Mission Orange bottling co. A block east at Hamlin was the Northwest Buick car agency. Irv Abramson
Where was Cooper and Cooper’s circa 1963? It was a greasy spoon that had the best hamburgers and fries?
Looked like the Huddle House Grill
Here a picture of it.
Cooper I believe was across kinball from the cta train station.
Do we have a photo of the S&L Deli at Kedzie and Lawrence or the Alba Theatre?
I purchased a nice book “The Jews of Chicago from our library in Delray Beach, Fl. It has photos of the Terminal and Metro Theaters and the Ravenswood elevated terminal and the Purity Restaurant all on Lawrence Avenue. This book also makes mention of Von Steuben (which I graduated in 1954) and Roosevelt High Schools.
The Alba Theater on Kedzie and Eugene Field Park. Did you know that Joel Kupperman the quiz kid lived in Albany Park.
I am seeking photos of Guitar World that was on Montrose off Kimball late 60’s thru 70’s!
My family’s music store. Any leads greatly appreciated.
Please send to email@example.com
there was an ice cream shop on lawrence and central park…rudish’s
Rudish’s became a restaurant and delicatessen. In 1963 my parents bought it from Son-in-law Morry weiner and it became Litt’s Delicatessen and Restaurant located at 3601 West Lawrence corner Lawrence and Central Park south west corner. Parents sold it 1967
Please send out my email address to all those that went to Volta And Von Steuben.I can share so many stories about ALbany Park.I lived on Avers Between Lawrence and Ainsley. Went to Volta and graduated Von n 1954. More to follow.
I went to Volta and graduated in 1959. Then my family moved to Devon and Kedzie and I attended Mather.
My father said he worked as a soda jerk at Otto Sydenstrickers Pharmacy on Elston and Lawrence mid to late ’40s. Does anyone have information on this?
Also looking for a place where teens might have gone for ice cream in 1940 named Oleson’s
I grew up at 4741 N. Avers Ave. during the 1950’s and 60’s. I remember the Chinese Laundry on the south side of Lawrence next to the Police garage, The Buick Dealership at Lawrence and Hamlin, and Joe’s Hardware Store opposite the Police garage. I could just on and on, Cherry Cokes at the Bonfire, Beckers Bakery, Brown’s Pet Shop over by the Terminal, Rollaway Bowling alley where I was arrested at the young age of 12 after the business had gone defunct for breaking in with some friends and polishing off a bottle Virginia Dare that was from a case that had been left years earlier. There was Emil’s Butcher shop, Singers Sporting Goods, Ed & Hy’s on my block’s corner, Maury’s, and Max Strauss Center where I was one of the few “goys” in the Funny Fellow’s. I remember on the SW corner of Avers and Lawrence was a Tailor named John who tapered my “sharkskin” pants for me. Thanks so much for the great memories. All your comments really redefine what a great neighborhood we were fortunate to grow up in.
I lived at 4607 N. Avers and later 4635 N. Lawndale Ave. Do you know the name of the grocer on SW corner of Lawndale and Lawrence Ave – where the large landromat is now?
I also remember the following:
Peniel Center Lawrence near Avers, Princess Electra Restaurant (NW corner Lawrence & Pulaski), the Dime Stores, First Distributors, Different Circle,Lil Al’s Records, Sol’s barber shop, Frankel Furniture, Walgreen’s and a discount store on NE corner of Lawrence and Kimball – Its name had two initials – I believe – like F & M), as well as Jensen Park.
Thanks for your post – it brought back many memories of when I lived in Albany Park approx – 1960-1970.
Hi lenny, I lived on lawrence and christiana between 1970 and 1979. My front windows overlooked the train yard where they parked the cta trains.
Richard, my mom was a waitress at the bonfire in the late 60s early 70’s. I grew up on the corner of Lawrence and Christiansen (i think) . Right next to the beautiful building that housed the blood bank and the fabric manufacturer. My view from my apartment window was the cta rail yard. Lol
The grocery store on the southwest corner of lawndale and Lawrence was a CERTIFIED GROCER store owned by Dave krisberg and his mother Bessie.I worked fair them from 1958 to 1963 and then for Glick DRUGS from 1963 to 1976.I lived at 4745 N.Lawndale
Thank you Joe Rubin – for the Certified Grocer info – I have been wondering about that for years. Of course I always went to Glick’s as well during 1960 – 1970 – to get candy, magazines, and various items that were needed at the house.
Any idea on the “discount” store that was on the corner strip of Lawrence and Kimball (NE side across from the CTA terminal) that had I believe 2 letters for a name)?
(Lenny – 4635 N. Lawndale)
Does anybody remember the name of the restaurant/bar at 3946 or 3948 W. Lawrence somewhere between 1960 and 1963? They were known for their thin crust pizza.
that pizza place was napoli’s. I worked there in high school 1977- 79.
Mike Wolstein said in 2015: “I went to HS with a girl named Bonnie Chubin…”
Mike, FWIW Bonnie and I were in the same year, and had many common friends. I don’t know what became of her, though.
It’s fascinating to read about the history of buildings I used to walk by every day… most of which I never entered. I haven’t had time to read all the comments yet, but I’m going to return here.
In one of the first pictures on the page, I was amused to see that Huddle House is still there. It was a greasy spoon in 1963-67. The writer says it still is.
I’ve always wondered how it got its name. Was it the original owner’s name? Or an allusion to football?
I’m not sure how it got uts name, but my mom worked at the huddle house when I was a kid in the late 60’s and early to mid 70’s
Maggie: The Pizza place with thin crust in that area at that time was Marie’s:
Marie’s Pizza & Liquors located @ 4127 W. Lawrence Ave. in Chicago, IL. Established in 1940, Marie’s has remained FAMILY OWNED and OPERATED thru the years! It is still in business, but is on the other side of Pulaski and Lawrence from the address (3946-48 W. Lawrence) you wanted info on.
Could Marie’s Pizza be the pizza place you are referring to?
The grocery store at SW corner of Lawrence and Lawndale was owned by David Kritzberg (not Krisberg). He was my first cousin once-removed.
I remember Marie’s pizza as well. Great thin crust pizza. A few other places come to mind. Wasn’t there a Fannie Mae candy store on the north side of Lawrence across from Princess Electra Restaurant? Anyone remember the unwed mother’s home next to Gomper’s park, Robo car wash where a worked for a summer not far from the TB Sanitarium, Bryn Mawr C.C. off of Devon where I caddied a few short weeks, the Kinetic Playground, Five Stages, Piper’s Alley,and lastly, the Hub Roller Rink.
Hi Richard, I remember the unwed mother’s home on Pulaski (near Foster), Fannie May on LNE corner of Lawrence and Pulaski. I went and saw Led Zeppelin/Santana/Lighthouse all on the same $5 admission at Kinetic Playground (4812N. Clark) on Oct. 19, 1969 (Kinetic was an amazing place to SEE live music (light shows, etc).. and the Five Stages in Logan Square on Kedzie Ave. as well as visited Piper’s Alley in Old Town and the Hub Roller Rink ! Good Memories!
It was an incredible time to grow up on the north side of Chicago. Did you ever go to any of the concerts at Alpine in Trevor WI, or the big enclosed arena specifically for rock concerts with seating inside on a sloping grass lawn that was out west of the city. The name eludes me, but I saw Tom Petty and Bob Seger there. In summer we’d hop the bus on Foster and head to Foster Beach to hang out. I remember my juvenile delinquent pals and I on Avers getting to gather and climbing up to the bottom of the Magic Kissed sign where the Edens dumps into the Kennedy. There was a trap door at the bottom that gave us access to climb all through the lips. None of us thought that one out thoroughly enough to realize that all that expressway traffic could see our silhouettes moving around the big Red Lips! All good memories that everyone on here adds to the mix. Each of us adds to decades and decades of the narrative we remember from our time in that little corner of the northwest side of Chicago. I am grateful and humbled by everyones tales.
This goes *way* back: I grew up hearing that my grandfather owned a jewelry store on the east side of Pulaski a little south of Lawrence. His name was Leon Sachs.
Does that ring a bell for anyone? Stories, rumors, anything? It was probably in the 1920’s or early 1930’s — he died in the ’30s, over ten years before I was born.
I sat with my 94 year young grandma today and she told me of her family dry goods store 3734 w Lawrence. I’m desperate to find and archival
Picture from the late 20’s to 30’s. for Crown Dry Goods. Help me if you know my next steps.
Best hot dogs@ Maury’s on Lawndale near Lawrence in a “shack”, then moved to Lawrence and Lawndale!! The Originals hung there as a number of them worked there! The “special “ a Vienna dog on French Bread!!
I enjoyed this article so very much. I graduated from Von in 1967. Went to Hibbard through 6th grade before Von. I lived at 5000 N Kimball. So many great memories. I now live in New Jersey but own a condo on Kimball in Albany Park and come back to Chicago about five times a year. I still love Albany Park and look forward to every trip. .I would love to hear from any old Albany Parkers. My e mail is amkomensky@ aol.com. Albany Park was a great place to grow up although different it still is. Would love to keep in touch and maybe meet up at Kimball and Lawrence one day.
To Joe Rubin
I would really like to know the exact location of Glick Pharmacy. My father bought it from if I recall correctly Aron Finn. I was 12 at the time but remember that the basement was a city block long, being down there with a shop vac when it flooded.
Glick Pharmacy was on the S.E. corner of Lawrence Avenue and Lawndale Ave. The actual door you walk in through was facing Lawndale Ave. It is currently a Fruit/grocery store across the street from the Laundermat.
I used to go there daily from 1960 – 1970.
They also had magazines, candy, cigars/cigarettes and you could get postage stamps way in the back counter.
I found this to be an incredible website, the reflections of community that seems to have been lost over time. I’m interested in the comments from Joe Rubin because my father purchased Glick Drugs some where between 1974-76. So I pretty sure he worked for my dad.I vaguely remember the building and that the basement was nearly a city block long.
Google Nicky’s Fruit Market on Lawrence Ave for old Glick Pharmacy location.
Glick’s had a Lawndale Ave. Address. S.E. corner if Lawrence Ave and Lawndale Ave. Chicago, IL (Albany Park).
yes i remember your father norm and your grandfather the dentist located at st.louis and lawrence.please say hello for me to your dad and annie.last i heard he was living in flordia.norm also had a guy working for him by the name of dave raymond who eventFully left and started a company called SWEET BABY RAYS BARBEQUE SAUCE
Glicks was on the Southeast corner of Lawndale and Lawrence. To the west corner was the only “supermarket” (a grocery with carts where you picked the products instead of everything behind the counter and the clerk picked the product)in the area and behind the supermarket in a shack was the original Morry’s Hot Dogs before he moved to the northside of Lawrence between St. Louis and Central Park I thunk
Thank you Joe for the quick reply!!
Yes you’re correct my dad and Annie live in Boca Raton. Dave Raymond sold the rights to Sweet Baby Ray’s years ago but last I heard he still had a restaurant. I sent a copy of your reply to my dad. Thank you so much fo the info