Saturday at 11:00 AM, I will be at the southwest corner of Pulaski and Foster by the Samuel Gompers statue in his namesake park to lead the Tour of Albany Park. This is a tour I have lead quite a few times and is still one of my favorite areas in the city to ride around in. I traverse it quite often in normal workaday life, but it remains truly exceptional in layout, diversity of topography and its exemplary compliment of Chicago residential, institutional, religious and commercial architecture.
Albany Park is community area #14. It is situated 8 miles northwest of the Loop. The area’s modern history began in the 1860s when Richard Rusk built a farm and a brickyard. Today, the area is a pleasant mixture of commercial strips along its major streets and classic Chicago residential neighborhoods on the side streets. The residences range from the neo-Classical and Victorian revival styles of the late 19th century to the indiginous brick flats and bungalows of the 1910s-1930s. Streets are tree-lined and follow the traditional Chicago grid. There are noteworthy landmarks and works by well-known names in architecture, but like so much of Chicago, the every day beauty in the non-pedigreed homes and shops up and down its streets are the real reason for the show. The tour will look at all of these things.
The tour begins at Gomper’s Park, a two-sectioned park named for Samuel Gompers, the longest serving president of the American Federation of Labor. The north section was built first in the 1920s on the north side of Foster and features a Tudor field house by Clarence Hatzfeld. South of Foster, the park was expanded in 1938 as a WPA project. It is one of Chicago’s most beautiful parks, with beautiful landscaping designed by Henry J. Stockman that introduces streams, bridges, parkland, wetland and sports fields in a large expanse. They are especially lovely to see on a fall day.
The tour will take in the sites of many extraordinary architectural works. Amongst the stops will be Von Steuben High School, pictured above, the Henry V. Peters House by Walter Burley Griffin, the landmark homes of Ravenswood Manor, the old Mayfair College which is the current Irish American Heritage Center, and the National Landmark gates of Bohemian National Cemetery. It should be the perfect mixture of local history and bike riding to celebrate the start of the new month. There are more details in the links immediately below and I look forward to seeing some of you there.
Tour of Albany Park
Saturday November 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Gompers Park at the southwest corner of Foster and Pulaski by the Samuel Gompers statue