3750 NEWS March, 2023
3750 N. LAKE SHORE DRIVE **** MARCH 2023
IMPORTANT UPDATES AND REMINDERS FROM THE BOARD
Work continues on the C/D tier and G/H tier service elevators. The end is in sight!
The Board has voted to amend the rules pertaining to advance reservations for the Guest Suite. To accommodate those wishing to be able to make long-range plans, it is now possible to book reservations for the Suite six months in advance. All other rules remain as before. The nightly rate, likewise, is unchanged.
The reservation form can be found online at Guest Suite Reservations – 3750 Lake Shore Drive, Inc. (3750lsd.net)
Save the date. There will be a Shred-it event on Saturday, April 29, 10AM-1PM
REMEMBER THE DATE
The runoff election for mayor and alderman takes place on April 4. Paul Vallas v. Brandon Johnson for mayor and Kim Walz v. Angela Clay for 46th Ward alderman. Once again our polling place is next door at 635 W. Grace. There are early voting locations open now at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson and the Merlo Library 644 W. Belmont. Early voting hours are weekdays: 9AM-6PM. Saturdays: 9AM-5PM. Sundays: 10AM-4PM
REDEFINE THE DRIVE
The Illinois and Chicago Departments of Transportation have invited the community’s input regarding the proposed improvements to DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Those plans affecting Lakeview, specifically, the section of the Drive from Belmont to Addison are the subject of a community meeting to be held at Temple Sholom, 3480 N. Lake Shore Dr., on April 20. There are 2 sessions planned, the first starting at 2PM and the second at 6PM, and pre-registration is requested should you wish to attend. Refer to Alderman James Cappleman’s website for further details and pre-registration https://www.james46.org/ndlsd-lakeview-meeting/
TASTE OF CHICAGO
This year the annual Taste of Chicago will return to Grant Park, but will now be held in September rather than July, to avoid a conflict with the NASCAR street race scheduled for July 1 -2. The new dates are Fri Sep 8 through Sun Sep 10.
SPRING IS HERE
That means flower shows are on!
Cooler by the Lake Spring Flower Show is on at the Lincoln Park Conservatory through May 15. Hours are 10AM-5PM, Wednesday through Sunday and reservations are required (but free.) Advance reservations are recommended, but walk-up admission is possible if space is available. Go to lincolnparkconservancy.org to make a reservation.
Reservations are also free, but required at the Garfield Park Conservatory flower show called Bee’s Knees, which they describe as “a peek into the wondrous relationship between bees and blooms. Beautiful blooming spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth will be featured this year alongside hydrangeas, delphiniums, azaleas, and more. Empty observation and demo hives from GPC’s beekeeping program are set amongst the blooms, giving a glimpse into the world of a bee.” Check garfieldconservatory.org for times and reservations.
Spring brings live music, too, with dinner at some of our favorite local spots:
Drew’s on Halsted, 3201 N. Halsted, and a wide variety of live music offerings. There’s a $25 food/beverage minimum check
https://drewsonhalsted.com/chicago-lakeview-drews-on-halsted-events for details
Uncommon Ground at 3800 N. Clark, too, features an assortment of musical events with their food and drinks. Details available at:
Duplicate Bridge is played Tuesdays at 1PM at The Admiral at the Lake, 929 W. Foster Ave.. Call Phil Lapalio, Jr. (773)939-7515 if you want to join.
If you like your friendly competition served along with the pancakes and cinnamon rolls, head to Ann Sather’s, 909 W. Belmont Ave. Email email@example.com or phone Jerry Scholle at (773) 209-7089 for details.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
A BAFTA-winning comedy, set against the backdrop of the political upheavals in Northern Ireland in the ‘90s, “Derry Girls” is available on Netflix.
“The Last Movie Stars” is an insightful and revealing documentary about movie icons Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Using material from interviews recorded by Newman’s close friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern, for a proposed (and abandoned) personal history, this is an intimate and spellbinding excavation of a man and women, their careers and their complicated marriage. Directed by Ethan Hawke and available on HBO Max.
A British policewoman takes over the investigation of the suspicious death of her husband, a fellow police officer in “Black Work”. See it on Acorn TV
From PBS Passport comes “Ridley Road”. A young Englishwoman follows her lover into danger as they infiltrate a resurgent fascist group in ‘60s England.
SOME LOCAL RESTAURANTS TO TRY
Irene’s Finer Diner 2012 W. Irving Park (872)272-0303
Open Mon – Fri 8AM – 3PM Sat – Sun 8AM – 4PM
Serves up excellent renditions of classic breakfast and lunch fare and great deals such as the Nine to Fiver combo; your choice of a breakfast burrito or a burger, unlimited coffee and free WiFi. Available weekdays from 10AM – 1PM for $15. Or High Tea, $50 for two, includes your choice of tea and a tiered tea stand with enough food to feed a small army.
If you’re wearing Cubs gear on game days, you get 20% off your bill.
Great Indian food in a sedate setting is available at Basant Modern India, 1939 W. Byron (773) 770-3616
Open Wed-Thu 4PM – 9:30PM, Fri- Sat 5PM – 10PM, Sun 4:30PM – 9PM
Basant features an innovative menu with many choices for vegetarians and great cocktails. Try their sensational Mulligatawny.
Kie-Gol-Lanee 5004 N. Sheridan (872)241-9088
Mon, Wed – Fri 4PM – 10PM, Sat – Sun 10AM – 10PM Closed Tue
Serving traditional Oaxacan cuisine, the restaurants name is a phonetic spelling of the small village in Oaxaca where the culinary team came from, Quiegolani. There’s much from which to choose, including many vegetarian options, at this highly decorated Uptown spot.
Ramen-San 1962 N. Halstead (773)248-3000
Mon – Thu 11AM – 10PM, Fri – Sat 11AM – 11PM, Sun 11AM – 10PM
Now with a branch in Lincoln Park, Ramen-San offers wings, dumplings, salads and mantou buns in addition to it’s excellent ramens and drinks.
A week on Easter Island
Virginia Miller & Adam Gehr, 2A
In February Virginia and I visited Easter Island, flying from Santiago, Chile where we arrived after a week-long tour of the Atacama Desert. The flight takes about 5 1/2 hours–Easter Island is one of the most isolated places in the world. Although technically part of Polynesia, it is over two thousand miles from the nearest Polynesian island. It is also the only place in Polynesia where Spanish is an official language–Easter Island is legally part of Chile.
The triangular island was formed by three extinct volcanoes. It is referred to locally by its indigenous name Rapa Nui. There is some disagreement about when the first settlers arrived, but it appears to have been between 800 and 1200 AD, and probably from the Marquesas. Apparently only one group of settlers came to the island, and the islanders never returned to their homeland, although it now seems that they may have gone back and forth to South America.
FIG 1 moai with replacement eyes
The main attraction of the island is, of course, the many large statues or moai. There are nearly 1,000 of these monumental figures. They consist of head, torso, and rudimentary arms, and no lower body or legs, although one is a kneeling figure. They are thought to represent high-ranking male ancestors. They are usually in groups, mounted facing inland to watch over and protect the community. They average about 13 feet tall, but one incomplete statue would have been over 70 feet high. The statues were carved in place out of the rocks on the slope of one of the volcanoes. They were then transported to their final destinations and put up on an ahu or large stone platform. Although there are many theories about how the statues were moved, nobody knows for sure how it was done—the locals say they “walked” to their ahus. After being erected they were crowned with a red topknot made from rocks from a different volcano. Finally, eyes made of white coral and dark stone were inserted into the eye sockets and the moai were believed to come alive. Only one figure has had its eyes replaced. At the time Europeans arrived the statues had all been thrown down due to internal conflicts and they were only re-erected during the latter half of the twentieth century.
FIG. 2 quarry
During our tour we visited many displays of moai in different parts of the island, including the quarry where they were carved. There were many partially completed figures including the giant statue mentioned above. One of the ahu sits on a hill overlooking a lovely beach (one of the few on the island) where we ate lunch with a view of the sculptures, and Virginia had a swim in the warm Pacific. The most spectacular display of moai is Tongariki. There 15 statues stand on a substantial ahu, their backs to the sea. This is a popular place to witness the sunrise (we didn’t). This is the place you will see pictured in just about any article about Easter Island.
FIG. 3 Tongariki
The practice of erecting and venerating ancestral figures was at some point replaced by a completely different ceremonial activity, the Birdman cult. For this annual event, participants gathered in the ceremonial village of Orongo, located on the lip of a volcanic crater nearly 1000 feet above the sea. The sacred site is famed for its hundreds of intricate petroglyphs carved on massive boulders as well as paintings, now generally eroded, on stone slabs within the houses. Among other motifs they feature birds and half bird, half human figures. Members of leading tribal groups gathered here to watch competitors, or their proxies, swim through turbulent waters to Motu Nui Islet, nearly a mile away. Once there, the competitors hid in caves, sometimes for days, waiting for the return of the migrating Sooty Terns that nested there. The first egg laid by the bird was thought to overflow with mana (supernatural power). The first person to find an egg, swim back through the shark-infested waters to the mainland, carry it up the precipitous cliff and present it unbroken, won the race. He or the man he represented became Bird Man, an important status position, for the next year. The last recorded event was in 1867: after the arrival of European missionaries, the ritual was suppressed. On our last day on Rapa Nui we were able to travel by small boat out to the three small islands below Orongo. No one can land there (not that it would be easy) as these are bird sanctuaries and also sacred to the Rapanui.
FIG 4 Islands
We stayed at a lovely locally owned hotel in Honga Roa, the only town on the island. Our room was about a 3-minute walk from the hotel office and dining room, through beautiful gardens and a pool area. We had most of our meals at the hotel, although one evening we dined at a seaside restaurant featuring a very energetic and professional dance performance The town is quite small with only two main streets, a few restaurants, and some souvenir shops. Horseback riders, a common sight, use the sidewalks in “downtown” Honga Roa. The Catholic church is filled with wood carvings and stained-glass windows in Polynesian style. The main industry of the island is tourism, which of course ground to a halt during the pandemic.
FIG. 5 Dancers at restaurant
We visited a music school established to teach the children both classical and traditional music. The founder, Mahani Teave, who is half Rapanui and half American, studied piano in Cleveland and came back to found the school. She has been interviewed frequently on international TV. New Mexico-based architect Michael Reynolds designed the complex, largely using discarded materials–glass bottles and old tires, both of which are hard to get rid of on Rapa Nui. Tons of plastic also constantly wash up on the island’s shores.
FIG. 6 Toki music school detail of architecture. The stone-covered support at left is filled with rubber tires. Note the bottles set into the wall. The paintings are taken from birdman imagery in island caves.
One of the main selling points of our tour was to be the annual Tapati festival, a festival including athletic events and music. Unfortunately, we were there for only the first couple of days of the festival, for which it was nearly impossible to obtain a program. We did get to see some of the groups rehearsing dance and music, including children from the music school who performed classical numbers as well as Queen’s We Will Rock You. Virginia attended an outdoor evening dance and music event, but mostly saw child performers as the adults apparently came on late and danced until 1 a.m. We also saw a competition in which scantily clad young men rowed ashore in small balsa reed boats and raced across the town carrying 20 kilos of bananas. This was a highlight of the tour for Virginia who developed a hitherto unseen interest in athletics. Some of the events used to be held in a lake in the crater of one of the volcanoes. Among the competitions were rowing across the large lake and sliding down its slopes seated on banana tree trunks. The lake, however, has dried up so the events have been modified and shifted to the town, and now young women also compete. The drying-up of the lake has contributed to a water shortage on the island.
Rapa Nui is so small that after six days there, we were greeting people in the street whom we’d met during our time there! Despite the expense and time required to get to the island, we highly recommend a visit as it is still unspoiled, scenic, welcoming, and has a lovely subtropical climate all year round.
3750 Book Club Meet for April 2023
A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City
A waiter’s job is to deceive you. They want you to believe in a luxurious calm because on the other side of the door…is hell.
Edward Chisholm’s spellbinding memoir of his time as a Parisian waiter takes you beneath the surface of one of the most iconic cities in the world—and right into its glorious underbelly.
He inhabits a world of inhuman hours, snatched sleep and dive bars; scraping by on coffee, bread and cigarettes, often under sadistic managers, with a wage so low you’re fighting your colleagues for tips. Your colleagues—including thieves, narcissists, ex-soldiers, immigrants, wannabe actors, and drug dealers—are the closest thing to a family that you’ve got.
It’s physically demanding, frequently humiliating and incredibly competitive. But it doesn’t matter because you’re in Paris, the center of the universe, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be in the world. (Goodreads)
3750 Book Club Meet for April 2023—3750 Lake Shore Drive, Inc. (3750lsd.net)
If you have ever lived in or visited Paris, come share your experiences and join us for a lively discussion of this book on Monday, May 1st @7:00 pm in the Grace street lobby. Please RSVP Todd Cannon 4B at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-841-9795 if you wish to attend.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
We will share your recommendations in the upcoming issues of the 3750 Newsletter. Send your recommendations to Linda Stern: email@example.com.
Thai-spiced Butternut Squash Soup
(makes about 3 quarts and freezes well)
2-3 Tbsps. butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped (optional)
5-6 Thai chiles, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 Tbsps. Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste, or more, to taste. (See note)
2 lbs. butternut squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 qt. chicken stock*, (homemade or high-quality store-bought chicken bone broth)
1 14 ½ 0z. can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
2-3 sprigs Thai basil
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped, stems included
fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the diced onions, carrot, and celery, add salt and cook until softened and the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
Add the diced chiles, garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the curry paste to the pot and cook for another minute, until the spices are fragrant.
Add the stock and the squash. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes. If a piece of the squash pressed against the side of the pot falls apart easily, it’s done.
Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches with a countertop blender. (If using a countertop blender be careful not to overfill the jar, loosen the cap on the lid and cover the lid with a kitchen towel, transfer the pureed soup to a clean pot.)
Add the coconut milk and lemon juice and taste for salt. If the soup seems too thick, you may want to add more coconut milk or heavy cream or half and half.
Some minced cilantro, sprinkled on top, makes a nice garnish when serving.
Note: The Thai Kitchen Red Curry paste is mildly and pleasantly spicy, not at all aggressive. If, like me, you’re a chile-head, add some cayenne when you add the curry paste and don’t omit the Jalapenos or the Thai chiles. Leave out the chiles if you’d like a milder soup.
*Or substitute vegetable broth.
THE MANY LIVES OF THE MARIGOLD GARDENS
(BROADWAY AND GRACE STREETS)
PART III of IV: The BOXING AND WRESTLING YEARS AT THE
MARIGOLD ARENA (1929-1964)
Todd Cannon, 4B
The author thanks fellow shareholder, Richard Longworth, who has most kindly shared his recollections of the old Marigold Gardens for this article.
As ballroom dancing faded in the late 1920’s, the Eitel owners began to offer amateur boxing matches in 1929. In the early 1930’s the leaseholder of the Gardens, Maurice Rifkin, was able to promote dances one night a week, but “the building owners required him to promote amateur boxing matches there if he wanted to continue to hold the dances.” Rifkin did so but soon realized there were better opportunities and money in professional boxing. (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Tuesday, 14 August 1990, p. 35).
On several different occasions in the early 1930’s, part of the Old Marigold Gardens gained a new lease on life as The Vanity Fair Outdoor Gardens:
NEW VANITY FAIR ON NORTH SIDE INVITES A VISIT
“Rebuilt, redecorated, recently reopened, it bids defiance to weather conditions by being two places in one, an outdoor enclosure and a spacious enclosed room…It is traditional, too, in its manner of entertainment. There is opportunity to dine and dance to the strains of a toe-tickling orchestra, and at intervals in the course of the evening, the space is cleared for a floor show.” The garden accommodated 500 diners and the indoor café seated 300. (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Thursday, 28 July 1932, p. 11).
PART OF MARIGOLD GARDEN LEASED FOR NEW VANITY FAIR
“Al Mann, loop restaurateur….yesterday leased part of the former Marigold Gardens…and after extensive alterations will reopen about July 10 as the New Vanity Fair.
The premises were leased for five years on a minimum guarantee and percentage basis from the Marigold Garden company, owned by Emil and Carl Eitel.” After $25,000 remodeling, “a grill, restaurant, night club, and open air garden will be operated.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Sunday, 16 June 1935, p. 22)
Meanwhile in 1932, the Eitels, owners of the Marigold Gardens, were planning on opening the Old Heidelberg Inn at the Chicago 1933 Century of Progress exposition. “It was to be the largest restaurant at the World’s Fair, it is claimed….The building is designed to seat 1,500 at one time and should allow for the accommodation of from 10,000 to 15,000 daily.”
The original Marigold Gardens continued to operate in the 1930’s and early 1940’s, offering a variety of entertainment including cabaret parties, dances, and banquets including, for example, a picnic for 4,000 in the Marigold outdoor gardens followed by dining and dancing, hosted by the Chicago French consulate to celebrate Bastille Day (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Tuesday, 14 July 1935, p. 9); an International Grand Prize Masquerade Ball in the Palais de Dance (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Friday, 14 February 1936, p. 2); and the Chicago Private Chauffeurs’ Benevolent Association’s 31st annual ball (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Wednesday, 12 November 1941, p. 23).
WPA concerts given by The American Concert Orchestra were also held in the Marigold Gardens the last of which ended on 14 July 1935. (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Tuesday 14 July 1936, p. 15)
FILE MARIGOLD GARDEN LEASE
Irving M. Shoenwald and Jack Begun, who had been promoting boxing at the Marigold Arena since 1934, obtained a ten-year lease on the property in 1936 from the Marigold Garden company. “The lease is from April 1, 1937 to March 31, 1947, and calls for a minimum guaranteed rental of $625 a month, or $75,000 for the term, plus 8 per cent of all gross receipts over $10,000.” According to the brokers, Wetten & Co., “the building, now used for boxing exhibitions, will be enlarged from its present seating capacity of 2,000 to 3,000. The lessees are now operating under a sublease from Maurice L. Rivkin.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Tuesday, 29 December 1936, p. 23).
OLD BISMARCK SPACE IS LEASED TO FOOD MARKET
“Part of the buildings comprising the old Bismarck gardens, north side landmark, will be torn down for replacement by a one story food market, Karl Eitel announced yesterday on behalf of the Marigold Gardens company, owners of the property. Eitel said that a part of the property at the southwest corner of Grace and Halsted streets has been leased to Fischman & Sons who will run the food market.
Plans call for the new structure, which will cost about $75,000, including the fixtures, have been drawn….It will be one story high and will front 116 feet on Halsted street and 125 feet on Grace street…The lease is for ten years on a minimum guarantee basis under which $12,000 will be paid for the first five years and $13,000 for the second five years.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Sunday, 2 May 1937, p. 66).
Fischman & Sons, later H. Fischman’s Liquors, then Foremost Liquors continued to operate at 3756 North Halsted until at least 1966 when a $150,000 fire destroyed much of the food and liquor store (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Thursday, 22 December 1966, p. 12).
The fight scene at Marigold continued to be successful through the 1930’s as “the Marigold Gardens became Chicago’s most prosperous fight spot, with weekly shows drawing more than 2,000 cash customers every Monday.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Saturday 28 August 1937, p. 3) The Marigold’s proprietors, Schoenwald and Begun began in 1937 to “make arrangements for more than 4,500, with an expected gross receipts that would be in excess of $5,000.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Wednesday, 2 June 1937, p. 25). The proprietors also added basketball league games, men and girls, at the Gardens.
Success continued through the 1942 season:
SMALL CHICAGO FIGHT CLUB IS THRIVING
“Irving Schoenwald and Jack Begun, co-promoters at Marigold Gardens, popular Chicago northside swat palace, are looking forward to another banner season in 1942. Receipts for last year totaled $102,740 for 48 shows. This was an increase of nearly $25,000 over the 1939 season….Marigold Gardens operates each Monday night and is one of the few successful weekly fight clubs in the country. It has an indoor seating capacity of 1,800, while the outdoor setup can accommodate 6,500.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Saturday, 3 January 1942, p. 3)
By the end of the 1940’s, Schoenwald and Begun, co-promoters at the Marigold, had one of their “most disastrous indoor campaigns in the history of the Marigold, the majority of the weekly shows being presented at a loss. They have hopes of doing better during the impending open air season. If not, the club may go up for sale, Schoenwald no doubt returning to his old commercial printing business and Begun to his former job as boss of a restaurant or clothing establishment. That’s where they originally made the money with which they have gambled on the uncertainties of professional fight shows.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Sunday, 29 May 1949, p. 19)
Later in the year, WGN channel 9 added to its Saturday wrestling telecasts at Marigold, a “new weekly feature on Tuesdays at 8:30 pm. “The Channel 9 cameras will bring the entire card at Marigold Gardens.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Monday, 3 October 1949, p.41)
By the end of 1949, Schoenwald and Begun, “co-promoters of the boxing shows at Marigold Gardens for the last 16 years, have subleased their rights to present weekly fights in the north side club to Mitchell Sandler, William Vasile, Harry Hartman and Martin Grant.” The lessees posted “$8,400, six months’ guarantee of rental at $350 a week, to swing the deal…Schoenwald and Begun will return $300 a week to the new combination from television proceeds.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Thursday, 24 November 1949, p. 108) The following year, “a new Marigold Gardens wrestling series, with Jack Brickhouse as commentator, will be introduced over WGN-TV at 9 pm.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Tuesday, 7 March 1950, p. 14).
The Marigold Gardens was a subject of national interest in 1950 when the Eagle Lion Film’s motion picture, “The Golden Gloves Story” opened in February at the Oriental Theater and soon after in thousands of theaters across the country. Filmed in Chicago, primarily at Marigold Gardens, the film “is a dramatization of the world’s most celebrated amateur boxing tournament and according to critics and motion picture exhibitors who have attended sneak previews, it has action, punch, and pulsating drama inside and outside the ring. When the two Golden Gloves rivals are not fighting they’re trying to win the heart of the same girl. The result is a story that will have family appeal, film experts predict.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Friday, 17 February 1950, p. 41).
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, “the boxing scene was part of Chicago’s identity, and for those watching bouts on television all over America, it represented power and bravado. There were professional fights in Chicago three nights a week at now forgotten places such as the South Side’s White City and the North Side’s Marigold Gardens. The Chicago post-World War II boxing fan was usually male.” Events at the arenas “were usually a mix of smells: hot dogs, beer, Chesterfield cigarettes and Dutch Master cigars. At the championship fights, there were many gabardine suits, Harris tweed coats and a handful of young mistresses clad in mink coats escorted by gray-haired patrons.”
“Boxing was a premier sport in Chicago and throughout America’s big cities and small towns. It was far more popular than pro basketball and pro football was still consolidating its national presence. Only baseball was comparable in national impact. The amount of money that boxers could amass in a major fight often exceeded the incomes of movie stars and chief executive officers, although sometimes they had a hard time receiving or keeping it. But this golden age didn’t last long, as the 1950’s were the beginning of the end for the boxing industry.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Thursday, 6 September 2007, p. 1-19)
OLD MARIGIOLD GARDENS SOLD for $125,000
“One of Chicago’s most famous entertainment centers, Marigold Gardens, 817 Grace st., was sold yesterday by the Bismarck Hotel company for $125,000 to J. L. Mallen, real estate investor. Four different uses are said to be under consideration: A new bank, a roller skating rink, a super food mart, and a department store.
The new owner will take possession April 1, 1951. The present lessees, Irving Schoenwald and Jack Begun, who use the property for prize fights, wrestling, other athletic events, and dances, have been given six months notice on their lease.
The property sold is L shaped, fronting 200 feet on Grace st., 243 feet on Halsted st., and 264 feet on Bradley pl. It is west and south of the corner, 100 x 80 feet, at Halsted and Grace, which was sold by the Bismark Hotel company last March for $150,000 to Fischman Brothers, operator of a chain of grocery stores.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Tuesday, 10 October 1950, p. 46)
“Schoenwald and Begun are best remembered for their weekly matches at Marigold Gardens. For about 15 years, ‘the Marigold’ was where it all was. Monday nights, at Broadway and Grace, were always like the day before Thanksgiving at O’Hare Airport.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Thursday, 30 November 1978, p. 65)
Fred Kohler, a Chicago fight promoter, signed a 10-year lease at Marigold with the new owner “for a rental fee totaling $200,000. The contract gives Kohler the right to purchase the building outright in 1961 or extend the lease another 10 years.” (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Monday, 8 October 1951, p. 72) The following year, Kohler discontinued the Monday weekly Monday night wrestling shows and restricted his weekly mat cards to Saturday nights. “(Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, Monday, 7 January 1952, p. 51)
Richard Longworth, fellow shareholder, writes the following about his recollections of the old Marigold Gardens:
“’Wrestling from Marigold’ was televised on the old DuMont Television Network from 1949 to 1955, and thereafter on WGN until 1957. Jack Brickhouse did the play-by-play and Vince Lloyd was the announcer. Both are most remembered now for their Chicago Club broadcasts, but ‘Wrestling from Marigold’ was a bigger draw, at least nationwide, in those days. I grew up in Boone, a small town in central Iowa which was just beginning to get TV reception. We didn’t have a TV set in our house, but a couple much-envied friends did and the Marigold broadcasts became a must-see event. Occasionally, my parents would bring my sister and me to Chicago. These trips always involved calls at the various citadels of Chicago culture, from Orchestra Hall to Wrigley Field to the Stockyards, and Marigold Gardens quickly became part of this educational pilgrimage, for my father and me, if not for my mother and sister. I don’t remember the exact dates, but these were my high school years, so it must have been in the early 1950’s.
The people who staged these wrestling nights were showmen who knew what they were doing. What I remember most is not the wrestling itself but the cigar smoke and the noise and the lights, a gaudy show in glorious bad taste, all catnip for a small-town boy. It was part athleticism—many of these wrestlers really were good athletes—and part show biz, the precursor for today’s WWE shows, which seem to be much grimmer affairs. This was the age of Gorgeous George, a preening platinum blond and one of wrestling’s first true villains, but also of other stars such as Killer Konovsky, Dick the Bruiser, Chief Don Eagle and my father’s favorite, Verne Gagne, a champion from Minnesota and one of the first athletes to earn $100,000 per year, a fortune then. We cheered our heroes and booed the villains and had a marvelous time. On one memorable occasion, we got ringside seats and were actually seen on TV by friends back in Boone, a stupendous social coup for any teenager in that era.
I’m sure I would have been ecstatic to know that, later in life, I would actually live near not only Wrigley Field, but the Marigold Gardens. Of course, while Wrigley Field still stands, the Gardens have been replaced by an IHOP, an evangelical church, and a parking lot. Sic transit….”
To be continued.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
We will share your recommendations in the upcoming issues of the 3750 Newsletter. Send your recommendations to Linda Stern: firstname.lastname@example.org.