In Hegewisch in 1959, 16 rolls of toilet paper cost $1 at Aniol’s Hardware and Paints on Baltimore Avenue. Leaders of the Hegewisch Little League worried that the program would have to fold due to lack of umpires, and the Hegewisch Chamber of Commerce met to form a plan to stop the extension of 130th Street to Avenue O.
In Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood today, we still have Aniol’s on Baltimore. We still have the Hegewisch Little League, and that chamber meeting must have proved successful because there’s still no direct route from 130th to Avenue O.
A copy of The Hegewisch News, your neighborhood weekly, from April 24, 1959, proved for some entertaining reading this weekend. It’s a reminder of how much I love the printed word in classic newspaper format and how important community news still is today. The Hegewisch News, which was published every Friday, clearly devoted itself to its readers and no piece of community news was too small.
The front page dedicated its main story to Dollar Days, a communitywide commercial festival where businesses offered discounts for the weekend, thus the $1 sale on toilet paper. There’s also an article asking residents to submit their nominees for best mom of 1959. The contest was open to “bona fide” residents of Hegewisch or Burnham and the winners could receive flowers and a photo package.
There was also news about a communitywide polo inoculation drive coming the following week where boosters of the vaccines would be given to children and adults for free.
Items that the editors of today would place at the back of the newspaper, like obituaries and an upcoming bake sale, also found their way to the front page.
Looking at the ads makes me wish that downtowns were still sprawling with mom-and-pop stores of all kinds. There’s ads for the Hegwisch Pharmacy, Hegewisch Studio and Camera Shop, Baltimore Supply Co. TV and Radio Service, George’s Cleaners, The Flower Box, IGA and Arcadia Toggery to name a few.
More copies of the paper are available for viewing at the Chicago Southeast Historical Society at 9801 S. Avenue G in Chicago. The museum is only staffed certain days and hours so call ahead for more information at (773) 721-7948.
One group that focuses on the future of the Hegewisch community is the Knights of Columbus, General Pulaski Council 3323. Let’s help them give scholarships to local students by attending a fundraising spaghetti dinner. It’s from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at St. Columba Social Center, 13323 S. Greenbay Ave. It’s $8 for adults. That will get you a delicious dinner of all-you-care-to-eat spaghetti with meatballs and meat sauce, salad, bread, dessert and coffee and milk.
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