Summer’s over, but life goes on

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We’re finishing up another great summer in Chicago, with fond memories of many activities and so much to look forward to.

Here in Pullman, the Pullman Artspace Lofts project is nearing completion and the first tenants are brimming with expectation while they wait for their move-in date. The construction fence is gone and the larger construction vehicles have done their job and the buildings are looking more Pullman-like than they did in the artist’s renderings.

After ten years, the community will see how the added designation of “artist colony” melds with the national reputation Pullman has as a preservation community and national monument. There will be artist exhibitions, open houses, events and classes that will be welcoming to members of the community. This will give inclusion to the community and allow Pullman’s residents to benefit directly from the Pullman Arts project. I’m sure that when there is a Pullman Arts Festival held in the community, perhaps in Arcade Park, in short order it will become a major event on the Midwest art festival tour.

The annual Pullman Family Picnic on the first weekend in August was even better attended than usual. There may be a couple of reasons for this, with the prime reason being an awakening of people’s sense of nostalgia for all things Roseland. The loss of the Gately’s People’s Store building due to fire had a much deeper effect on Roselandites than anyone could have expected. The other reason more Roselandites may have turned out for this year’s picnic is the possibility that this year’s picnic might be the last one due to lack of volunteers to assist in its planning and operation.

A new feature at this year’s picnic was the posting of signs at each picnic site around Arcade Park. The signs denoted which Roseland area high schools the people at that specific picnic site had attended. This made it easier to find out if any former classmates were at any particular picnic site. Anyone passing by could easily see if they knew anyone.

The picnic attendees discussed the Gately’s fire along with other Pullman news. One of the big questions was the availability of the Hotel Florence. The state of Illinois owns the hotel and has assigned a new supervisor to maintain the property. Now that the re-plastering of the dining room and halls has been completed, the hope is that the hotel will be open for visitors for the Labor Day Weekend and into the future.

The fire was part of the news and there were hundreds of comments and responses to Facebook postings. Those postings were a catalyst for bringing to the forefront many good memories of Gately’s. Comments included discussion of the donut machine, the foot x-ray machine, the restaurant, the balcony level with the wooden arm hairs, and the Green River and hot dog stand across from the Bakery. Roselandites also brought up how they would go shopping with their mother, who would let them wander the main center aisle sales tables on their own. (Dad was busy making the money to pay for everything I guess.)

The saving of the Gately’s sign was on everyone’s mind and fortunately through the efforts of Ald. Beale, Gately family members and the Raffin family, it was saved. A crane removed the 1-1/2 story sign from the building and laid it on a flatbed truck. It was then taken down 111th Street to Ellis Avenue and to the Raffin Construction offices behind the police station where it was safely stored behind the facility’s secured fence.

What will happen to the sign for the long-term is still under consideration. I am fairly certain that when a determination is made, the proper notices will be posted. A number of things that have to be considered: 1) the availability for Roselandites to see/visit the sign; 2) the neon on the sign needs to be considered in the displaying of the sign; and 3) the neon on one side of the sign has actually been broken off for a number of years. We can rest assured its display will be the result of a well-thought-out plan.

The members of the Tresche Conca Society have a close connection with the town in Italy. where many of the Panozzo clan originated. For years they’ve met and have held their annual mass for San Luigi Gonzaga at St. Anthony’s on June 21st or the closest Sunday to that day.

The church in the town of Treschè Conca is guided by their priest, Don Davide Francescon, who is also in charge of the churches in two other towns: Cesuna and Canova. The church in Conca suffered weather related damage that took place many years ago. The roof and ceiling frescoes are now in such bad shape that a net has been stretched across the entire church to protect attendees from falling debris. To begin working on these repairs they have established a “gofundme” campaign with a goal of raising $170,000euros. If you Google gofundme and search for Treschè Conca, Italy Church Roof Restoration you will be able to make a donation in your family’s name to assist in the rebuilding work. For details, click here.

The Kickstarter Project for my book — “Petals From Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman, and Kensington Neighborhoods” — is over and the results are being tallied. The book of Roseland memories will be available in print sometime in November and just in time for Christmas gift giving.

CJ Martello, 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL 60628, res. 773-701-6756,

About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

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