Honoring Chicago’s South Side Architecture

Foster House & Stable home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright located in the West Pullman area.

World famous for its architecture, Chicago boasts works by such greats ranging from the Frank Lloyd Wright to William LeBaron Jenney, designer of the world’s first skyscraper. No other city in the world has more Ludwig Mies van der Rohe buildings than Chicago. Yet for many, the largest landmass in the city is like an uncharted territory when it comes to outstanding architectural design.

 “60% of Chicago is the South Side,” says noted photographer and journalist Lee Bey. “It’s geographic area that is twice the size of Brooklyn and the size of Philadelphia. But over the years it’s been ignored by many Chicagoans as well as the architectural press, architectural tours and lecturers.”

Chicago Vocational High School at 2100 E. 87th Street—the largest Art Deco building that’s not a skyscraper in Chicago

Bey, who is considered an architectural expect, grew up on the South Side and has long appreciated the treasures found there.  He shares this passion in his recently releases book Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side, which he describes as a wake-up call.

Author and photographer Lee Bey

“You can’t have anything that big and ignore it,” says Bey who is also a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute. “Chicago can’t be a world class city if they overlook the South Side and the West Side.”

Because I grew up in Northwest Indiana, I am familiar with the South Side and some of its architectural marvels such as the sprawling Chicago Vocational High School at 2100 E. 87th Street—the largest Art Deco building that’s not a skyscraper in Chicago  and the Middle Eastern/Moorish/Persian-style building with a  towering minaret at 79th and Stony Island that’s on the right when turning on to Stony Island from the Chicago Skyway.

But I didn’t know about The National Pythian Temple, The Overton Hygienic Building and The Chicago Bee Building or that there was a Frank Lloyd Wright home that was over a century old for sale in the West Pullman area. Known as the Foster House and Stable, it was designated a Chicago landmark in 1996 and can be had for around $200,000.

“That house would sell for a lot more in other parts of Chicago,” says Bey, noting the home is in good condition.

Even Bey sometimes comes across an unknown find.

“I was caught by surprise when I saw Stony Island Church of Christ at1600 E. 84th,” he recalls. “It looked like it was designed by Ray Stuermer and I went home and looked it up and it was,” says Bey.

While watching a documentary of Eero Saarinen and discovering they’d left out his buildings for the University of Chicago, Bey knew he had to rectify the neglect of architect on the South Side.

“If they could leave out Eero, then something needed to be done,” he says, writing in his book that “for decades


” For decades, most of the buildings in that vast area have Bey writes.

most of the buildings in that vast area have been flat-out ignored by the architectural press, architectural tours, and lectures — and many Chicagoans.”

It’s a call to action, he says noting that Bowen High School would be a city landmark and on the National Register if it were located on the North Side. After all, the Carl Schurz High School on the Northside were built the same year and both were designed by the same architect, Dwight Perkins, chief architect of the Chicago Board of Education between 1906 and 1909. But Schurz has been a city landmark since 1978 and made the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Bowen, located in a mostly black and Latino South Side community, has neither.

“It’s astounding what’s there, he says. “There’s architecture on the South Side by architects that people would immediately recognize. People should care about them and get out and see them,”

Ifyougo:

What: Ley Bey talks and book signings.

When & Where: Epstein Global is hosting Lee Bey on November 7th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Bey will be speaking in their offices, 600 West Fulton, Chicago, IL.

Anyone interested in attending, please contact Noel Abbott at Epstein. (312) 429-8048; nabbott@epsteinglobal.com.

When & Where: November 12 at 6:30 pm at the Evergreen Park Public Library, 9400 S. Troy, Evergreen Park, IL

708-422-8522; evergreenparklibrary.librarymarket.com

Ten Restaurants That Changed America: Howard Johnson’s A Roadside Gem

Howard Johnson’s: As American As Fried Clams.

            I was going to write a column about New Year’s Eve celebration foods but got distracted by Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman (Liveright 2018; $23.95), a look at how food evolved in this country. I’m going to be interviewing the author after I finish the book but instead of reading it from front to cover as soon as I read the introduction I turned to the chapter on Howard Johnson’s because those orange roofed restaurants and lodges are part of my youth. I worked at HoJo’s when I was a teen and as a young girl, when we traveled to New York, Connecticut and along the eastern seaboard, we typically stayed at their lodges.

I remember the sparkling pool, so inviting after a long day in the car, trying to read a book or do crossword puzzles while whizzing along—we only had an AM radio in the car and my mother didn’t like the noise of it when she was driving.  Dinner was typically fried clams, hamburgers or clam chowder and always one of their many flavors of ice cream. Probably most famous for their clam dishes, the chapter about Ho Jo’s in Freedman’s book is titled Howard Johnson’s: As American As Fried Clams. If you’re wondering about all the clam dishes, Johnson was from Massachusetts and the chain started off in New England. And maybe people ate more clams back then.

            At one time, according to the book, during the 1970s, Howard Johnson had 929 restaurants and 526 motor lodges stretching across the U.S. In the 1960s, the restaurants served more meals outside the home than any company or organization except for the U.S. Army. There actually was a Howard Johnson (his middle name was Deering) and he was born in 1897 and though he liked to present himself, even at the height of his company’s success, as a simple man, he married four times, owned a yacht, three houses and a substantial art collection. Oh, and he didn’t really eat at Howard Johnson’s much. Instead he liked high-end French dining like Le Pavillon and the Stork Club, both fancy and ultra-expensive New York restaurants.

            I’m not quite sure if there are any HoJo’s left. There were a handful less than a decade ago including on in Times Square and another in Bangor, Maine but those are gone. A Google search indicates that the last one, in Lake George, New York, was, as of earlier this year, was up for sale as a possible site for redevelopment. It had just re-opened the year before after being closed for four years. Unfortunately the person who had re-opened it had some legal issues. For more information, check out hojoland.com, a Website for all things Howard Johnson’s.

          Occasionally I see a building that looks like it was once a HoJo but has been converted to another use and the orange roof has usually been replaced. Because there are websites for almost anything, there are a few identifying converted HoJo’s as well.

          Though the restaurants are gone, many of the recipes remain and I looked up a few that I remember enjoying way back when and was fascinated to find out that the legendary French chef Jacque Pepin once worked at HoJo’s, a time he talks about in his memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. Pepin, who would make their clam chowder in 3,000-gallon amounts, recreated the recipe for home cooks, saying he makes it  “when a bit of Howard Johnson’s nostalgia creeps in.” His contains pancetta which I’m guessing is a substitute for the bacon in the original recipe and he also uses Yukon Gold potatoes and I don’t think that variety was common back in 1929 when Johnson opened his first restaurant.

Jacques Pepin Howard Johnson’s Clam Chowder

5 quahog clams or 10 to 12 large cherrystone clams

4 cups water

4 ounces pancetta or lean, cured pork, cut into 1-inch pieces (about ¾ cup)

1 tablespoon good olive oil

1 large onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (1-1/2 cups)

 2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (2-1/4 cups)

1 cup light cream

1 cup milk

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the clams well under cold water, and put them in a saucepan with 2 cups of the water. Bring to a boil (this will take about 5 minutes), and boil gently for 10 minutes. Drain off and reserve the cooking liquid, remove the clams from their shells, and cut the clams into 1/2 –inch pieces (1-1/2 cups). Put the clam pieces in a bowl, then carefully pour the cooking liquid into another bowl, leaving behind any sediment or dirt. (You should have about 2-1/2 cups of stock.) Set aside the stock and the clams.

Put the pancetta or pork pieces in a large saucepan, and cover with the remaining 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and boil for 30 seconds. Drain the pancetta, and wash it in a sieve under cold water. Rinse the saucepan, and return the pancetta to the pan with the oil. Place over medium heat, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and continue cooking, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the flour, mix it in well, and cook for 10 seconds. Add the reserved stock and the thyme, and bring to a boil. Then add the potatoes and clams, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to very low, and cook gently for 2 hours.

At serving time, add the cream, milk, and pepper, bring to a boil, and serve. (Note: No salt should be needed because of the clam juice and pancetta, but taste and season to your liking.)

Howard Johnson’s Fried Clams

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt and pepper

4 dozen freshly shucked clams

1 cup cake flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

Oil for frying

Combine evaporated milk and whole milk, egg, vanilla, salt, and pepper. Soak clams in liquid and then dredge in combination of cake flour and cornmeal, fluffing them in the flour mixture for light but thorough coverage. Shake off excess flour and fry in oil. Serve with French-fried potatoes, tartar sauce, homemade rolls, and butter.

Howard Johnson’s Chicken Croquettes

6 tablespoons chicken fat (can use butter instead)

1 ¼ cups flour

2 1/4 quarts chicken stock. hot

6 tablespoons chopped onions

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

3 cups bread crumbs

3 eggs

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds boneless chicken, finely minced

Sauté onions in chicken fat but do not brown.

Make a roux (recipe below). Add hot chicken stock, and add seasonings. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and is well blended.

Add minced chicken and chopped parsley. Cook 5 minutes more, then remove from fire and chill. Scoop and shape into croquettes. Dip in flour, egg wash and bread crumbs and fry in deep fat until lightly browned on all sides.

These were served a cream sauce (see recipe below).

Roux

1/4 pound butter

1 stalk celery, minced

1 cup all-purpose flour

Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

Melt butter in pan; stir in flour and seasonings. Cook on low until smooth; stirring constantly, add broth and milk slowly; to maintain thickness, stir on medium heat until all milk and broth is added and sauce is thick.

In a heavy pot, melt butter and then add the minced celery. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes., stirring constantly. Fold in the chicken meat and allow to cool.

Howard Johnson’s Boston Brown Bread

1 cup unsifted whole wheat flour

1 cup unsifted rye flour

1 cup yellow corn meal

11/2 teaspoon baking soda

11/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup molasses

2 cups buttermilk

Grease and flour a 2 quart mold. Combine flours, corn meal, soda ,salt. Stir in molasses, buttermilk.

Turn into mold, cover tightly. Place on trivet in deep kettle. Add enough boiling water to kettle

to come half way up sides of mold; cover. Steam 3 1/2 hr., or until done. Remove from mold to cake

rack. Serve hot with baked beans.

Makes 1 loaf

1000 Places to See Before You Die: The World As You’ve Never Seen It Before

Patricia Schultz and I had only been on the phone together for five minutes before we decided to make the trip to New Zealand—neither of us had been and both of us wanted to go. And no, I haven’t bought my ticket yet but that’s how mesmerizing Schultz, who introduced the concept of bucket list travel when she wrote the first edition of her #1 New York Times bestseller 1000 Places to See Before You Die in 2003. It was so popular that over the years more than 3.5 million copies have been sold.

Now Schultz has updated her book with a new twist, her words accompanied by mesmerizing and amazing handpicked photos of some of the most beautiful places in world.  The book itself, weighing six pounds with 544 pages, is oversized eye candy—compelling us to pack our bags and head out to explore.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition): The World as You’ve Never Seen It Before was years in the making—after all Schultz had to travel to all those places.

Calling her new book, a veritable scrapbook of her life, she says she became teary eyed when choosing the photos. In its pages she takes us to destinations so exotic many might have remained unknown to most of us if not for her writing. One such is Masai Mara, the world’s greatest animal migration that takes place each May when hundreds of thousands of wildebeests travel north from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara. It’s a two to three month journey and the wildebeests are joining by other migrating herds including antelope, zebras and gazelles swelling the animal population to a million or so. There’s also ballooning over Cappadocia, a Byzantine wonderland encompassing a natural and seemingly endless landscape of caves and peaks of shaped by eons of weather with wonderfully colored striations of stone. Even better, Schultz points out, you can take a side trip to Kaymakli, an ancient underground city just 12 miles away.

For those less inclined for such travels or whose pocketbooks don’t open that large, Schultz features closer to home destinations that are still special such as Mackinac Island where cars were banned in the mid-1890s, New York City (where Schultz resides when not on the road) and one of my favorites, Stowe, Vermont. And, of course, the majestic Grand Canyon.

While Schultz’s parents weren’t world travelers, they encouraged her to find her way to what she loved. But for her, it’s not just the road, it’s the people she meets as well. When the first editor of her book proved so successful, she treated herself to a trip to Machu Picchu in the Urubamba Valley of the Cuzco Region of Peru often known as the Lost City of the Incas. Located 7800-feet above sea level, it’s isolated at the top of a mountain surrounded by jungles and other peaks. There she met a 90-year-old woman who had been inspired by her book to travel there.

“She asked me if I had heard of the book,” says Schultz. “Peru was the first stamp in her first passport.”

This venturesome woman who had traveled outside the U.S. for the first time in her ninth decade, offered the seasoned travel writer a pearl of wisdom that has remained with her for the last16 years.

 “She told me to make sure to see the difficult places first,” recalls Schultz. “You can see the easy ones when you’re not as active or energetic.”

          Is Schultz burned out by travel? Has she reached the point of been-there-done-that?

          Schultz answers with an emphatic no.

“There are still so many places I want to visit,” she says, noting that her list remains long. “I doubt if I’ll get to do them all, but I will try to do as many as I can.”

Ifyougo:

What: Authors Group Presents Patricia Schultz, 1000 Places to See Before You Die; Luncheon

When: Tue, Oct 29, 2019 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Where: Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL

Cost: $35 per ticket

FYI: 312-427-7800; ulcc.org

What: Cocktails with Patricia Schultz & Lake Forest Bookstore

When:  Tue., Oct. 29. 6 p.m.

Where: North Shore Distillery, 13990 Rockland Rd, Libertyville, IL

Cost: $65 for individual or $75 per couple (includes 1 book, 1 drink and appetizers)

FYI: RSVP required. Call 847-234-4420; lakeforestbookstore.com

What:

When’ Wed. Oct 30 at 7 p.m.

Where: Anderson’s Bookshop La Grange, 26 S La Grange Rd, La Grange, IL

Cost: This event is free and open to the public. To join the signing line, please purchase the author’s latest book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Deluxe Edition, from Anderson’s Bookshop. To purchase please stop into or call Anderson’s Bookshop La Grange (708) 582-6353 or order online andersonsbookshop.com

FYI: 708-582-6353

W. Bruce Cameron: A Dog’s Promise

W. Bruce Cameron continues the story of Bailey, now an angel dog, in his latest book, A Dog’s Promise.

            W. Bruce Cameron continues the story of Bailey, now an angel dog, in his latest book, A Dog’s Promise.

            “Bailey has been sent to a boy in a wheelchair whose family is really struggling with many issues and is being torn apart,” says Cameron, who’s other two books featuring Bailey are the bestsellers A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey. “Bailey’s mission to fulfill a promise to help these people out.”

            Cameron’s last two books have been made into movies starring Dennis Quaid, the scripts of which he and his wife, author and comedian Cathryn Michon, co-authored with several other writers. There’s little doubt that A Dog’s Promise will be too. But these wonderful heartwarming stories about Bailey (who is joined by another special dog name Lacey in this book) might never have been written if Cameron’s first writing dream had come true.

            “I started off thinking I’d write thrillers for adults,” he says. “I’d turn out one once a year just like Michael Connelly.”

            Bailey as a cop, government agent or spy?

            Luckily it didn’t happen that way. Instead, hoping to convince Michon, who was heartbroken over her loss of a beloved dog, to let them adopt another dog, Cameron spun a canine tale to tell her. She was so taken that she insisted he should turn his story into a book. That morphed into his A Dog’s Purpose series (there’s also a puppy’s purpose series as well). The two married and now have adopted what Cameron describes as a “mixed DNA” dog they named Tucker.

            “He’s sitting here right now as we’re talking,” says Cameron who is currently working on a Christmas novella about a dog and a new series, Lily’s to The Rescue starting in 2020. “He may be expecting me to cook for him.”

            Ah, a dog’s life.

            If writing all these books, many of which are New York Times and USA Today best sellers, seems to indicate a well-organized mind, Cameron disagrees.

            “My brain has always been a cluttered attic full of stories,” he says. “I was the kid who instead of paying attention in class, was writing stories.”

            But just as Bailey has a purpose, so does Cameron. One of the take-aways he’d like readers to get from his books is this: if people would adopt canine values—respect, love, support and caring—the world would be a much better place.

            “I think A Dog’s Promise is a story that can help us come together,” he says. “We build up all these barriers. But if you just follow the path of this dog or any dog, you can overcome what keeps us apart.”

Ifyougo:

What: W. Bruce Cameron presentation and book signing

When: Tuesday, October 15 at 7 p.m.

Where: Stevenson Hall in the Wentz Science Center on the campus of North Central College, 131 S. Loomis St., Napier, IL

Cost: A ticket for one person cost $32.00 ($34.59 w/service fee). Includes a copy of the new book with a personalized signing and photo. The ticket package for two is $42.00 ($45.09 w/service fee). Admits two people and includes one copy of the new book with a personalized signing and photo. To purchase tickets, brownpapertickets.com/event/4343095

FYI: (630) 355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com

After the Flood

A dream of a tsunami sweeping across the plains of Nebraska helped form the plot of Kassandra Montag’s After the Flood, her novel about a time in the future when rising waters engulf the earth, leaving only small chunks of land suitable for living.

A dream of a tsunami sweeping across the plains of Nebraska helped form the plot of Kassandra Montag’s After the Flood, her novel about a time in the future when rising waters engulf the earth, leaving only small chunks of land suitable for living.

Montag, who is from Nebraska, had just moved back from Amsterdam when she had not only a dream as well as a vision.

          “I was pregnant with my first child and I saw the image of a mother with her daughter sailing on a boat in a future flooded world but separated from her other daughter,” she says. “Then I re-discovered a line from a journal I had kept— ‘a group of people huddle around a campfire, struggling to survive and looking for a safe haven.’ Group dynamics has always been an interest of mine and these story lines—a mother separated from her daughter and people trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world all came together and were part of the inspiration for writing the book.”

After the Flood tells the story of Myra and her seven-year-old daughter Pearl who live on their small fishing boat and visit what’s left of dry land to trade for goods and gather information. When Myra learns her long missing daughter, Row, who was kidnapped by her father, has been seen near the Arctic Circle, she and Pearl make their way through the north treacherous  and frozen waters. Their hope is that Row will still be there when they arrive. During their voyage the two join up with others who are also struggling to survive.

          To create this alternate universe, Montag studied a variety of subjects including stories of the Bajau, a group of nomads in Southeast Asia who are sea dwellers, so used to spending time in the water they can hold their breath for up to 13 minutes.

          “I also researched ancient seafarers like the Vikings, read guidebooks on how to build fires, fish and other survival skills,” says Montag. “And I watched sailing videos while eating my lunch.”

          Montag, who is a published poet, says that she was surprised at the reaction to her book, which is scheduled to become a television series.

          “As a poet, you don’t get this type of interest,” she says.

Ultimately, she says, the book is about what parts selfishness and selflessness play in the fight for survival.

“It interested me how the survival instinct can be inherently selfish in a dangerous world without enough resources and others transcended those feelings,” she says. “I was also interested in the way that survival can be seen as selfless as well, as an act of love carrying on.”

Ifyougo:

What: Reading and Q & A with Kassandra Montag

When: Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m.

Where: Anderson’s Bookshop La Grange, 26 S La Grange Rd, La Grange, IL

FYI: (630) 355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com

Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity

I wasted a lot of time early in my career trying to conform to what I thought Hollywood would approve of,” says Day, who has five million social media fans. “It wasn’t until I abandoned that mindset and started creating things based on my unique point of view, that I finally found success.

          For those who were totally uncool in high school, not to worry. Neither was Felicia Day, actress (Supernatural, The Magicians), producer and bestselling writer.

          “I wasted a lot of time early in my career trying to conform to what I thought Hollywood would approve of,” says Day, who has five million social media fans. “It wasn’t until I abandoned that mindset and started creating things based on my unique point of view, that I finally found success. The things that make us different are our creative superpowers. I truly believe that.”

In her latest book Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity, Day shows how to tap into our inner weirdness.    The book functions as a journal, a guide and a workbook that not only helps with personal growth but also in overcoming the anxiety, uncertainty and fear many of us experience. Day, who loves self-help books sees it as a hands-on follow up to her memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir.

          “I heard a lot of feedback after I wrote my memoir, that my story inspired people to start creating, and/or get help around anxiety and depression,” says Day. “Hearing that motivated me to write a book where the focus is more on the reader and not myself. I wanted to make the process of self-improvement funny, interactive, and just a touch geeky.”

          Her book is full of advice and techniques she’s cobbled together over the years as she worked towards getting to the core of who she is as a creator. The process of refining those techniques was a long one though and she constantly asked herself if the reader would be discovering something new about themselves when reading this section or doing this exercise? If it didn’t pass that sniff test, Day threw it out and started all over again.

          When asked if she had any advice for readers in how to begin the process of getting weird, Day recommended everyone put down their phones when they can and instead carry a little notebook to for writing down their thoughts, dreams and observations.

          “You’d be amazed at all the creative ideas we let pass us by just because we don’t give ourselves the mental space to come up with them in the first place,” she says.  “I am just excited for people to dive in and learn how to start incorporating more creativity in their lives in a fun and funny way. Being able to show the world who you truly are through your creativity is, in my opinion, the ultimate freedom.”

Visit Felicia at @feliciaday on Twitter and Instagram, or at FeliciaDayBook.com.

 Ifyougo:

What: Felicia Day presentation.

When: October 5 at 4pm 

Where: Sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop but the event is being held at the Community Christian Church, 1635 Emerson Lane, Naperville, IL.

Cost: Ticket for one person is $20.00 ($21.99 w/service fee) admits one person and includes one copy of the new book, pre-signed; ticket package for two is $30.00 ($32.49 w/service fee) admits two people and includes one copy of the new book. Each ticket holder gets a photo with the author.       

FYI: For more information or to buy a ticket, visit feliciaday2andersons.brownpapertickets.com/ or call (630) 355-2665.

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