The Village Next to Lincolnwood – Greetings From Skokie, Illinois

Greetings From Skokie

Skokie, as it is known today was incorporated as Niles Centre in 1888. Around 1910, the spelling was Americanized to Niles Center. A village-renaming campaign began in the 1930s and residents chose the Indian name Skokie over Devonshire in a November 15, 1940 referendum. Its population today hovers around 65,000, but it’s been higher. In the mid-1960s, 58% of the population was Jewish, the largest percentage of any Chicago suburb. An estimated 7,000 to 8,000 pf those residents were Holocaust survivors who started life anew after suffering immeasurable pain.

Infamous History


In a November 27, 1934 shootout dubbed the Battle of Barrington, infamous bank robber Baby Face Nelson and his gang killed two FBI agents. Nelson was severely injured and his body was brought to Winnetka where he died. According to history, his accomplices either dumped his bullet-riddled body at the north end of St. Paul Lutheran Church Cemetery on Harms Road or in a ditch adjacent to St. Peter Catholic Cemetery in downtown Skokie.

In 1977, a neo-Nazi group led by Frank Collin announced plans to march in Skokie. The news set off a rhetorical firestorm and residents filed a court order to prevent this on the grounds it would “incite or promote hatred against persons of Jewish faith or ancestry.” This Skokie controversy triggered a rare, remarkable moment in American history when citizens throughout the nation vigorously debated the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union represented the First Amendment rights of the neo-Nazi group. The Supreme Court ruling on June 14, 1977 stated the group could march wearing uniforms with swastikas under the constitutional protections of freedom of speech and assembly. Ultimately, they decided to march in Chicago, which was met by derision and little turnout. In the summer of 1978, in response to the Supreme Court decision, some Holocaust survivors set up a museum to commemorate those who died in concentration camps. The 1981 television film Skokie starring Danny Kaye, Eli Wallach, and Carl Reiner dramatized these events.

Welcome to Skokie Street Sign 1960

 Personal Connections


Skokie played an integral role in my education. I started nursery school at age 5 at the Niles Township JCC at 4017 Church Street and graduated from Niles West in January 1976. In between, I was schooled at Todd Hall, Rutledge Hall, and Lincoln Hall in Lincolnwood. I hated nursery school and remember holding on for dear life to the front screen door because I didn’t want to leave my mama. My only fond memory is drinking grape juice on Fridays. When we were naughty, the teachers locked us in a dark storage closet. This is not a false memory because it was corroborated by two childhood friends when we were much older.

Oakton Park Swimming Pools 1956

Photo credit: Skokie History Project, Oakton Park 1956

Touhy Avenue, 1975

When I was little, I always looked forward to my mom driving north on Cicero to Skokie Blvd, under the train track viaducts north of Howard, because I could see the high diving board at the old Oakton Park pool from the car. Jewel-Osco on the north side of Touhy at Laramie was our primary grocery store. We shopped frequently in downtown Skokie, Old Orchard, on Dempster Street and Main Street. My older sister went to her first dance lessons at a little studio on the south side of Main a few blocks west of Crawford. There was a small toy store in the same block as the dance studio and my mom bought me an odd toy while we were waiting for dance class to conclude. It was a magnetic board with colorful plastic faces and hats (with magnets) that you could rearrange on the board – I was about 3 years-old. This would definitely not be considered a safe toy by today’s standards! My dad ordered prescriptions at Musket and Hendrickson on the northeast corner of Main and Crawford, and he also loved a little independent hardware store on the northwest side of the street.

 Downtown Skokie


1975 Circus Vargas Elephant Parade

I could not believe my eyes when I found the above photo of Circus Vargas elephants marching down Oakton Street in 1975. Yes, that alone is a remarkable sight, but that’s not why. The blonde young man in the foreground is Mike Schiller, a Skokie resident and Niles West classmate who I thought was cute. In the background, you can see Wolke & Shack, which was a small, old-fashioned ma and pa department store. I remember their clothes were pretty dowdy and my mom preferred Crawford’s and Howard Juvenile.

4900 Oakton Street

Rich's Britches

My mom bought me a pair of rust-colored jeans at Rich’s Britches around 1975, which sold interesting but relatively expensive casual clothing. Amazingly, the store is still in business – in this picture, the R fell off Britches. I remember seeing this myself  – hey, if Rich cared, you’d think this would have been quickly remedied. If I recall correctly, Rich’s elderly mother was born in France. You can see Spire shoes in the top photo, but we shopped at a shoe store (Shapiro’s?) located at 4335 Oakton, currently home to a Salvation Army Family Thrift Store, and a Tuesday Morning prior to that.

Lincoln & Warren (looking NE)

Ben Franklin and Discount King 1975

My favorite stores in downtown Skokie included Louise’s Gift House, Skokie Camera, Ben Franklin, Discount King and a very odd, tiny jewelry shop near Louise’s on Lincoln Avenue north of Oakton. It was nearly as narrow as a phone booth and sold funky hippy jewelry like slave rings and love beads. I’m thinking it was in business in the late 1960s to early 1970s because my older sister Debbie drove me there.

Desiree Restaurant

Skokie Paint 1960

Photo Credit: Skokie History Project, 1960

Walgreens Downtown Skokie

Photo Credit: Skokie History Project, 1960

Debbie hung out at Desiree Restaurant with pals from Niles West Orchesis and theater, although I can’t say I ever ate there. My younger sister Janet, who was a cheerleader, also hung out there after Niles West football games. It was one of those classic, iconic corner coffee shops continuously disappearing from the American landscape. The white terracotta-clad building also housed Skokie Paint and offices on the second floor. Skokie Paint advertised selling artist supplies in the window. I actually decided to investigate this one day and found only a handful of acrylic paints and artist brushes. A Thai-American restaurant briefly occupied the Desiree space. After sitting vacant for several years, the somewhat decrepit building was demolished, however, nothing has been built on the site. Right across the street was a Walgreens, but I have no recollection of this.

Leave it to Skokie

Lincoln Facing Desiree & FNBS -1970

Interestingly, the idyllic stretch of Lincoln looking north to St. Peter Catholic Church was used to depict the fictional town of Mayfield in the TV series Leave it to Beaver. This intriguing blog compared a screen capture from the episode with a photo from the Skokie Historical Society to drive the point home. The episode Beaver’s Fortune originally aired on December 5, 1959. In the 1970 photo above, it appears that the iconic First National Bank of Skokie clock from the “Leave it to Skokie” scene was removed.

Lincoln Avenue Downtown Skokie 1960s

Photo Credit: Skokie History Project

I had no idea there were Sinclair gas stations in the Chicago area, much less downtown Skokie, but always loved their icon. Interestingly, Sinclair Oil sponsored a dinosaur exhibit at the Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair (1933–1934), pointing out the now discredited correlation between the formation of petroleum deposits and dinosaurs. The exhibit of a two-ton animated model of a brontosaurus inspired a promotional line of rubber brontosaurs at Sinclair stations, and subsequent addition of Dino to their logo.

8034-8050 Lincoln Avenue 1971

The downtown Skokie bakery in the above photo holds special memories, albeit not good ones. I already blogged about a date from hell in Cotton Candy Memories. The absolutely dreadful date at Great America culminated in a party later that night in an apartment above the bakery. I ended up kissing one of my date’s roommates on the roof above the Nunn Bush store. We went downstairs to the bakery at one point and he told me he was friends with the owner so I could take a loaf of bread. On top of finding out my date had gotten back together with his old girlfriend (that explained his horrible behavior), my entire family got queasy after eating the bread!

Hobbies and Toys


 Record City

My dad and I spent a lot of money at Skokie Camera on our mutual photography hobby. I also have fond memories of going to Record City with my sister and later by myself when I could drive. Located at 4407 Oakton, Record City was owned by Jimmy Staggs (aka Jim Stagg). Staggs was an iconic WCFL Chicago disc jockey in the heyday of Top 40 radio. He accompanied The Beatles on their ‘64, ‘65 and ‘66 U.S. tours and interviewed scores of legendary musicians. Staggs opened additional Record City stores in Lake Zurich, Glenview, Northbrook, and two outlets in Orlando, Florida. The Lake Zurich store was the last one, closing in 2005. Staggs lost his battle with esophageal cancer in 2007, dying at his Lake Forest home at age 72.

One of my favorite five and dimes was across the street from Oakton Park. I believe it was called Alexander’s and they sold all sorts of penny candy and dime store merchandise. I bought many inexpensive little toys that I used in my artwork, as well as candy. I also clearly recall buying a Charlie’s Angels plastic pencil sharpener with a photo of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith on one side. I remember asking the owner if I could buy the display from an empty gumball machine when the store was going out of business, but he declined. I was most intrigued by the vintage 1960s-era charms of JFK and a troll.

A super cool store called That Paper Place was on the southeast side of Dempster and Crawford, if I recall correctly. Their original location was in Old Town, but despite much sleuthing, I couldn’t find a single online reference to this shop. They sold funky paper lantern light fixtures, huge paper flower table centerpieces from Denmark, greeting cards, posters, and more.

Entertainment & Leisure


Photo Credit: Skokie History Project

Photo Credit: Skokie History Project

Betsy at Fun Fair

Fun Fair was located on the southeast corner of Skokie Boulevard and Golf Road. It was owned and operated by Dave Foley, Tom Foley, and John O’Brien from 1948-1968. Like Hollywood Kiddieland, a little red fire engine picked up birthday guests at home and delivered them to the amusement park. I believe I only went there once with my grandparents and parents as a toddler. In the above photo of me, you can clearly see the helicopter ride in the background.

Around 1905, before many of the large movie studios moved west to Hollywood, dozens of silent movies produced by the old Essanay Film Manufacturing Company were filmed in the heart of Niles Centre. In 1915, Samuel Meyer built the Niles Center Theater at 7924 Lincoln. In 1942, the building was remodeled and enlarged with its current Art Deco brown & white checkboard façade.

Niles Center Theater

Skokie Theater

I cannot say for certain how many movies I saw at the Skokie Theater, but it sure was nice to have a quaint little movie theater nearby. In the last couple of decades, the Skokie Theatre closed and opened a number of times in different iterations. It became a mix of art/foreign films, second-run commercial fare, and Bollywood movies until it closed in the fall of 2004. In the spring of 2005, the theater was acquired by the Skokie Theatre Music Foundation (aka the Cavalcade of Music Foundation). It was converted into a 148-seat venue for various types of music concerts. It closed on December 31, 2011, reopening in April 2012 as the Skokie branch of Gorilla Tango Theatre. Since February 2014, MadKap Productions has operated the venue under the name Skokie Theatre with a wide range of events.

Old Orchard Theater

The Old Orchard Theatre was considered state-of-the-art when it opened in 1960 at 9400 Skokie Boulevard at Emerson. It closed in late 2000 and was demolished in March 2003. I clearly remember seeing Funny Girl at this theater with my parents, which turned me into a lifelong fan of Barbra Streisand.

Orchard Twin Bowl 2-63

Photo Credit: Eric Bronsky, Beat the Champs, Orchard Twin Bowl, Barbara Kahn, February 1963

Gabby Hartnett in Lincolnwood was our favorite bowling alley, although in high school, I remember going once or twice to a few Skokie bowling establishments. Orchard Twin Bowl was next door to the theater at 9444 Skokie Blvd. It was the site of the 1960 season of the “Championship Bowling” TV show and the 1964-65 Loyola Academy bowling team. All Star Lanes was located at 5200 Dempster and Fair Lanes Oakton Bowl was at 4833 Oakton, just west of the Skokie Swift tracks.

Photo Credit: Skokie History Project, Bowling History

Photo Credit: Skokie History Project, Bowling History

Way back in the 1920s, Niles Centre residents could bowl, play pool and miniature golf among other activities at the Niles Center Recreation Rooms at 8146 Floral Avenue. This was the village’s first bowling alley which endured for many decades as Skokie Lanes, Sadly, like so many other bowling alleys, it bit the dust several years ago.

Eateries and Libation


Cock Robin

I never ate at Cock Robin, which was north of Oakton on Skokie Blvd, but it’s hard to forget that name and cool sign. My sister Debbie went there on a few dates and raved about their square ice cream cones and buttered hamburger buns. This was prior to her becoming a vegetarian at age 16, so must have been around 1968 to 1969.

Chances R Skokie 1971

One of our family favorites was Chances R which opened in 1961 in Old Town, and later in Skokie, Hyde Park, River Oaks, Palatine, Champaign and Boyne City, Michigan. They had delicious char-broiled hamburgers and of course, we loved the free bowls of peanuts and throwing the shells all over the floor. We frequented the Skokie location north of Old Orchard on Skokie Blvd, before the original Hackney’s on Harms in Glenview became our go-to family burger joint.

Mister Ricky's Matchbook

I have very vague memories of Mister Ricky’s at 9300 Skokie Blvd, however, I know it was my parents’ favorite Chicago-area deli. Before the Chicago-Main Newsstand in Evanston carried The New York Times, my dad picked up his Sunday copy at Mister Ricky’s. The young, dark-haired guy working the cash register was none other than Rich Melman. His dad Maurie decided on the name Mister Ricky’s, even though Melman claims he hated that nickname. Melman cut his teeth at his dad’s deli before launching his incredibly successful Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. He wanted to be promoted to a partner at Mister Ricky’s, but when his dad declined, Melman quit and opened R.J. Grunts with Jerry Orzoff. Of course, the rest is history!

Tower Garden

The European-style Tower Garden Restaurant at 9925 Gross Point Rd was where my sister Debbie got married on September 3, 1978. I was her wedding photographer and the restaurant and outdoor garden provided a beautiful backdrop for photos. I should have gotten married there in June 1981 instead of the Orrington Hotel, which at the time was run-down and not yet renovated. Tower Garden has been Zhivago Restaurant & Banquets for a number of years and I ate dinner there once, likely in 2007.


Schaefer’s at 9965 Gross Point Rd is a longtime family favorite. Over 40 years or so, my dad spent thousands of dollars on wine and gourmet food at this wonderful store. We enjoyed going to their Saturday tastings for many years. George J. Schaefer Sr. opened a tavern named The Boundary on January 1, 1936. In the mid-1940s, the tavern was converted into a package store and renamed Schaefer’s Wines, Foods & Spirits. After George Sr. suffered a fatal heart attack in February 1959, his widow Eileen ran the business, with George Jr. coming on board in 1966. Four years later, George’s sister Gene Schaefer Flynn joined the family business. In 2008, George Jr. passed away, and the following year, Kenilworth businessman William Graham bought the legendary store, retaining all 25 employees and the Saturday tastings.

Old Kaufman's

Kaufman's Interior

As I child, I loved going to Kaufman’s, because my mom bought me sprinkled butter cookies and kichel. At one time, Kaufman’s was the only store that carried Ba-Tampte mustard, which has a wonderful kick. I loved it so much I would smear it on a piece of Challah bread. For many years, Kaufman’s was divided into two sides – the bakery and deli. It is currently owned by Bette Dworkin, whose father bought the deli in the 1980s from Maury Kaufman, a Holocaust survivor who opened the deli in 1955. Major renovations to the interior, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing were necessitated by a November 2011 fire that created extensive damage. As a result, the current store is upscale and quite attractive, especially compared to the original. Although Kaufman’s prices are somewhat high, the quality of their deli meats is superb.

Jack's Diner

Henry's Drive-In

I already blogged about Jack’s, Elliott’s Pine Log, and Henry’s in my Lincolnwood and Matchbook blogs. The Henry’s in Skokie was adjacent to Fun Fair. My sister Janet worked at Buddy’s Deli on Church, part-time during high school and full-time for a short time, after graduating early. The below picture gallery includes a variety of Skokie restaurants and bars with no personal meaning, however, I’m certain these places are associated with special memories for many people. Barnum and Bagel, Bryan’s Fountain and Grill, The Cork, Edward’s, El Gaucho, Isbells Nautical Inn, Krier’s, The Pyrenees, Sky Rocket, and Wally’s Red Hots. The Cork was owned by Harold Sokol, WWII Purple Heart Veteran of the Pacific Campaign. Black and white Cork photos courtesy Eric Bronksy.

Old Orchard Center


Old Orchard Postcard

Lytton's Old Orchard

Designed by Richard M. Bennett of Loebl, Schlossman & Bennett, Old Orchard was anchored by the 3-level, 370,000 square foot Marshall Field’s, which stood at the center of the mall. Marshall Field’s grand opening was on October 22, 1956. When the center opened three days later, retail shops included Baskin (men’s wear), Lerner Shops, Walgreen Drug, Mode Petite, Chandler’s Shoes, Baker’s, Kay Howard (ladies’ wear), Broadstreet’s (men’s wear), Burny Brothers Bakery, S.S. Kresge 5 & 10 and Kroger supermarket. The mall’s second anchor, a 2-level, 83,000 square foot store called The Fair, opened a week later. In early 1964, The Fair was rebranded by its parent company Montgomery Ward.

Old Orchard Marshall Field's

Marshall Field & Company holds the most memories for me, starting as an impressionable youngster. I loved their toy department and frequently found good bargains on high quality clothing. When I was about 5-years-old, my dad went down the escalator ahead of me, not realizing I was still at the top. I was scared to come down by myself and he was quite angry when he had to come back up to get me. About 5 years later, I was shopping again with my dad and we saw an elderly lady fall down on the moving escalator and her hose must have gotten caught in the mechanism. I’ll never forget the sight of her bloodied legs. See dad, I was right to be scared! A much fonder memory is nursing my newborn daughter in the Field’s ladies lounge in August 1987 after exchanging a baby gift. There were several other mothers doing so on a comfy leather couch.

Old Orchard Shopping Center 1970

In addition to Field’s, we loved shopping at Kroch’s and Brentano’s, Montgomery Ward, Crate & Barrel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Chandler’s Shoes, and Baker’s. I remember only browsing at Joseph shoes because even their sale prices were high. At one time, I saw a dentist and gynecologist who practiced in the seven-story Professional Building at the north end of the mall. While Westfield Old Orchard barely resembles the mall of my youth, it is still a nice place to shop.


Skokie Blvd at Dempster. 1943

Photo Credit: Eric Bronsky, Skokie Blvd at Dempster, July 7, 1943


Photo sources: Eric Bronsky, Bowling History, Chicago’s Extinct Businesses, Cinema Treasures, Craig’s Lost Chicago, ebay, Illinois Digital Archives, Malls of America, NileHi61, Pinterest, Pleasant Family Shopping, Retrospace,, Silent Locations, Skokie History Project, Yelp



  1. As you had no “contact us” page or Facebook page that I could find – thank you for your blog and the work you put into it. Your love of vintage, Chicago and NYC history, and Wolf Myrow is obvious and infectious. Your post on Patti Smith is wonderful – Just Kids is still one of the only books that caused me to shamelessly cry in public while reading. If you haven’t seen her performance of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” upon accepting the Nobel Peace prize on his behalf – it was beautiful. Here is the link:

    • Hi Jeffrey: Thanks so much for your positive feedback and nice comments about my blog. I listened to Patti Smith’s performance of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” no less than 10 times last December. I was just thinking about it over the weekend and then you commented – odd coincidence – so I watched it again. The fact that she forgot the words and was so humble made the performance incredibly special. Her New Yorker article explaining what happened embodies the eloquence and humility that makes Smith a revered icon. I looked at the Winky and Dutch website – very cool pieces!

  2. I have been a resident of Skokie since 1997, but as a native Chicagoan I became familiar with Skokie during the mid-’50s. At the time, Old Orchard was under construction and our family business (General Cabinet Mfg. Co.) custom-built and installed store fixtures and millwork in several of its stores. So, I do have memories of things like shopping at The Fair Store and dining at Edward’s.

    Later in life, I was briefly employed by Loebl & Schlossman, the architectural firm that designed Old Orchard.

    Although a major refurbishing and expansion of the mall began in the 1980s, thank goodness the outdoor spaces were never enclosed (indoor malls are a dying breed nowadays). Marshall Field’s was originally two stories tall but at some point a 3rd floor was added. The ‘Macyfication’ of Field’s was a huge disappointment, and more recently, Lord & Taylor (which replaced Saks) announced its imminent closing. Much has changed in the years since OO morphed into Westfield OO, but thank goodness the ’50s-style Professional Building and the attractive green spaces anchoring the north and south malls are still there to remind us of the good old days.

  3. Great job!

    Brings back fond memories

  4. Ann McAlexander

    I’ve followed your Lincolnwood blog for several years, but just found this Skokie one thanks to a comment someone had written in the Lincolnwood one.

    Although I grew up in the nearby Chicago neighborhood of Edgebrook, many of these places in Skokie are so familiar to me.

    I took gymnastics at St. Peters in the early 70s (the Olga Korbut era) when Mr. Batista, a former member of the Cuban gymnastics team taught there. In trying to Google him, I see that the current Niles West gymnastics coach is also Mr. Batista. I’m wondering if that’s his son or grandson.

    I later worked part time while in school for an accounting firm near Church and Crawford, and I grew up shopping at Old Orchard and in downtown Skokie, and eating at many restaurants throughout Skokie.

    You mentioned That Paper Place — There was also one of those on Devon in Edgebrook, and I remember buying many little Peter Max and similarly decorated paper and cardboard products (little boxes with drawers, pads of paper, note cards, pens decorated with large plumes, etc.) It seems like the one in Edgebrook adjoined a waterbed store, and we all loved testing them all while we were there.

    Record City was another favorite haunt during my preteen and teen years. It was there I also learned what a head shop was, although I was only there to browse and buy records!

    Our wedding reception was at Tower Garden in 1988. It was a lovely place! I still remember the gruff catering manager at the time (I think his name was Bill Ruhl?) who was difficult to work with, but put on a wonderful party for us.

    I also remember being at Fun Fair one night with a friend’s family when her brother suffered what later was determined to be an epileptic seizure, and we ended up spending the evening at the nearby Skokie Valley Hospital after making a hasty exit from Fun Fair. I think that was my only time there.

    I moved out of state for 30 years, returning several years ago to Edgebrook. It’s been both sad and fun re-exploring all these places, as some are still around, but so many I fondly remembered are no longer there. I am a big fan of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, although I wasn’t aware of the connection to Mr. Ricky’s. Our most typical route to Old Orchard was up Gross Point Rd, so I remember going past Mr. Ricky’s many, many times, but I don’t think we ever ate there.

    I do remember Edward’s at Old Orchard, although I think I only went there a handful of times. My favorite restaurant there was The Magic Pan, which was part of a national chain that eventually disappeared. Nearby Chances R was also a favorite — what kid didn’t like throwing peanut shells on the floor?

    We lived just down the street from Jack’s (formerly Jakes, and now the site of a Starbucks), and we also shopped regularly at Jewel. In fact, now that I’ve moved back to the area I shop there again, although now it’s moved across the street to Village Crossing where the old Teletype factory used to be, and Pep Boys is in the old Jewel building.

    • Thanks so much for your great comments, Ann. I’m pleased my Skokie blog brought back many fond memories for you. Oddly, the Skokie blog elicited very few comments – perhaps because there are quite a few other sources with detailed information about Skokie – and so few on Lincolnwood.

  5. I love this – grew up in Skokie – 1954 (3rd grade) until 1973. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Stacy Nosanov Rosen

    Loved the blog. I grew up in Skokie across from Devonshire Park on Kilbourn. I remember walking to dance class with my sister on Main just west of Crawford. It was called K Studios. On weekends they had tumbling classes. I loved that little place and remember the “changing room” with the bib mirrors on the door.

    • Hi Stacy – That’s the same studio I mentioned in the blog – the one my older sister took dance classes at. Glad you enjoyed the blog and thanks for providing the name of the dance studio!

  7. No mention of Sam ‘n Hy’s. I am disappointed.

  8. Thanks for your blog – brings back many memories! Lived in Evanston then moved to Skokie from 1962 thru 1969. Moved back as an adult in 1977 thru 2006.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this blog – thanks much for posting feedback!

      • I spent five weeks at Northwestern in the late 70s at the Traffic Institute. During this time, I used to have dinner at a restaurant in Skokie. I can’t recall the name or location, but they had the best devil’s food cake with a warm chocolate or fudge syrup! It was so good, I took my cousins there a year or two later when we came to a Northwestern vs Indiana football game! I hope somebody can recall the name of this restaurant?! Thank you!

  9. I used to go to The Paper Place with my girlfriend her twin sister and another friend. I still have one of the book of matches I bought there and every time I see it brings back fond memories.

    • Hi Brad: I’m so glad you shared this – you are the first person that has commented on this wonderful store! And that includes the Old Town blog I wrote in which I mentioned their other location.

  10. Fabulous post! I have so many of the same memories of growing up in Skokie…swimming at Oakton Pool in the summer with our tags sewn onto our suits, Ben Franklin on Oakton where I bought my first makeup. Jack’s was a favorite haunt as I lived a few blocks away – my mother, obm, loved Carol’s salad! I could go on and on. I love all the details you mentioned. Thank you very much!!

    • Hi Sheri – So glad the blog was a walk down memory lane for you, too! Thanks for leaving feedback – I appreciate it!

  11. I LOVE your Lincolnwood posts – I just found them and grew up around the corner from you (6642 Kolmar / graduated NW 1978 / went to Solomon Schechter for K – 8). I must have run into you a hundred times getting candy at the North Shore Market!

    My dad took us for candy every Sunday at Musket and Henrickson. I worked at Joseph in Old Orchard – it was owned by a friend of my parents. Remember 5-7-9 in Old Orchard? I thought that was a terrible name for a store – even as a kid. What if you were a size 11?

    I had to write a response when I saw you mentioned that little funky jewelry store on Lincoln Ave. I totally remember that and as I was reading I wondered if you would mention it. I wish I could remember the name of the store. I would so love to see photos of that store – it was the best!

    Also, on Oakton – Herman Miller’s – I used to pour through their invitation books every day after tennis camp at Niles East looking for the perfect Bat Mitzvah invitation. And the father of a friend of mine from HS owned a clothing store for children on the north side of the street, but I cannot remember the name of it.

    Love your posts and the comments – so many great memories. Thanks for all of the work you’ve done.

    • Hi Heidi: Thanks so much for leaving such nice feedback – glad my blogs brought back happy memories of your childhood. The only store I can think of on Oakton that sold children’s clothing was Wolke & Shack, which I mentioned. And of course, they sold clothing for the entire family. Perhaps our paths also crossed at the little park on Kilbourn – now called Arthur M. Goebelt Park. We spent an extraordinary amount of time there playing on rather dangerous equipment – was ignorance bliss?! I think I found your LinkedIn – do you work in publishing? So do I, as a freelance writer.

  12. Wasn’t there a roller skating rink near there too?

  13. Michael Stohle

    Hi Betsy, I really enjoyed reading your blog about Lincolnwood and thought I would add one thing to the history. The small farm located on Touhy east of Crawford was Hoffman’s Farm. They grew vegetables, raised chickens, and had a beehive. I lived about two blocks east on Jarlath next to East Prairie Park. We would play in the fields in the area behind Hoffman’s Farm. On occasion, I would play with Hoffman’s son Pete who had Down syndrome.

    One day some guys from the neighborhood and my older cousin were hanging around the farm watching them slaughter chickens with a knife – I won’t share details. I don’t remember who, but one of the guys took an egg from the chicken coop. As we walked home down the dirt road we saw the beehive. As we watched with fascination, one of the older boys threw the egg at the beehive, hitting it dead center. The bees were quite upset and started to swarm us. Since I was the youngest and slowest, they attacked me. I got stung multiple times around the head and neck and cried all the way home. I survived the incident and to my surprise, did not develop a phobia of bees. I guess I felt the bees were justified in their revenge!

    • Hi Michael – Thanks for sharing your story and adding to the personal history of Lincolnwood. Getting stung by all those bees sounds painful and terrifying. Although the farm no longer exists, it’s kind of nice to know that Urhausen Greenhouses has been in Lincolnwood since 1922, at 6973 N. East Prairie Rd.

  14. Betsy, I am Mary Powroznik from the Niles West class of 1977. You don’t say what your maiden name is or I would try to remember you. The jewelry store you are talking about was called The Phone Booth jewelry company and the store was long and skinny. I remember buying my first gold collar necklace there. I think I bought some 14 kt gold necklaces too.


    Anyone have their doctors at the OO professional Building?

    I had a neurologist I saw in the late 70’s through the mid 80’s who worked out of there and at the time you had to get a key from the doctor to use the bathrooms.

    Was that always the case?

    Forgot to mention the name Dr. Irving Rosenfeld.

    • My dentist sent me to a dentist in the OO professional building to have two wisdom teeth removed. That guy knew what he was doing!!

  16. Sandy Massnikoff

    I remember going to the OO professional building to get my ears pierced. The doctor only did this on Wednesday night. There was always a long wait to get them done. I think it was five dollars cash.

  17. Almost 50 years ago, Larry Rand wrote a “song” about Skokie, with the last line, “Everything about living in Skokie is boriiiing..” It was, and looking back, it was as comfortable as you could get, almost catatonic. But, we had great childhoods and a cushioned life. We lacked nothing.

    Interestingly, the pictures accompanying your blog are nearly all universal in documenting our lives – engaging mostly comforting memories. The Facebook page, “I Grew Up in the Skokie Illinois area in the 60s and 70s” documents the same feelings. The pictures awaken memories that are nostalgic, familiar, and comforting. The so-called “plastic bubble” of living in Skokie was real, and it sure beats the gritty pain of California homeless.

    Living in Israel for 44 years, and after spending 18 years on the edge of the desert, we moved to a community not unlike Skokie. On any number of occasions, I’ve remarked about it, and how the street we live on now is so reminiscent of Skokie. But there’s no “Monkey Ward’s” soda fountain…

    NE ’71


    How was Skokie boring?

    I’m from Park Ridge and still living here, although I like it. It’s a residential town and many kids through the years have probably found it that because of what it is. But Skokie has much more commercialization.

  19. That Paper Place was owned and run by Isabel Dickstein, a longtime friend of my family. She passed away about 5 years ago. She was the best at wrapping gifts, and you could always tell which gift in the birthday pile was from “Aunt Isabel”- it was covered in fancy ribbon and paper. Thanks so much for this post. I’m ten years younger than you, but have memories of so many of these places. I also remember the bank that is now on the northeast Corner of Niles Center and Oakton being constructed. It had to be in the early to mid-1970s.

    • Hi Andrew – thanks so much for your comments. I had no idea That Paper Place was owned by the mother of a Niles West classmate. Dede Dickstein Lubeznik graduated from Niles West in 1976 – of course, she was a “cool” kid and I was a not-so-cool artist, which explains why I didn’t know this fact! And I see Dede is a society lady now – event photos of her abound online. I found Isabel’s obituary and also discovered that her younger daughter Barb passed away from cancer in 2018 – sad. Glad you enjoyed this blog.

    • I worked at That Paper Place when I was in high school around 1970-1972. At that time it was owned by an Orthodox family. I remember when there was a fire in the store on a Friday night. The owners were contacted but did not answer their telephone as they observed Shabbat. At that time, Isabel was a manager along with Saralee Medwed. I remember they opened another store on Oak Street in Chicago. It wasn’t open very long. She and Saralee eventually purchased the Skokie store and moved it to Northfield where it was renamed That Paper Place, Etc.

  20. Betsy, I have enjoyed your blog posts. One geography note: Skokie Blvd. north of Old Orchard Rd. is part of Wilmette. My bar mitzvah luncheon/party was held in 1968 (Niles East ‘73 grad) at Pyrenees Restaurant on the east side of Skokie Blvd. north of O.O. Road near the location of Chances R. One other point: Yes, Skokie was boring, but in a good way. People were nice and friendly for the most part, conspicuous consumption and materialism hadn’t yet taken over, and the type of ugliness that exists in America in 2020 did not really rear its head in the Chicago area until ‘68. Kids could leave home in the morning during the summer and didn’t have to get home until dinnertime. We had freedom and learned to be responsible and accountable. From the age of 6 or 7, we had to resolve arguments and solve problems (like a flat bicycle tire several miles from a gas station or home) on our own.

    Even then, the divisive politics of Nixon and Vietnam did not have much effect on daily life. A boy in my class was suspended from Oakview Jr. High for wearing flowered pants to school, and drugs, long hair for boys and very short skirts — and pants/jeans — for girls became common school attire/appearance. (My sister, who is three years older than me, had to change from pants to a skirt for her senior year math class because the teacher (Mr. Yursky?) did not allow girls to wear pants.) We had open campus at Niles East starting in ‘71, so students could go out for lunch and no longer had to stay for the last period (in a study hall) if they didn’t have a class. So, things did start changing, but once I left for college, I didn’t follow what was happening in Skokie.

  21. Dale Smith Elkins

    Lived in Skokie from 1954 to 1961 on Floral Avenue and went to St. Peters School. Then we moved to north Skokie by Jane Stenson School from 1962 till I married in 1976. My Aunt Jewel married Henry Proesel – hence, Proesel Park is now where their old house was. I remember my cousin Ruthie had a beauty salon in the basement of their house. Anyone remember Parobecks Bakery and Alberti’s Pizza? We would all go there after basketball games at St. Petes.

    Loved reading your blog!

  22. Paula Goldberg Moskovits

    That Paper Place was on the corner of Dempster and St Louis. Driftwood Florist occupied the space after that and now it is a strip shopping center.

  23. Jack Goldberg

    I moved to Skokie in 1956 as a stout 2-year old and lived there until January 1972. I mentioned the month because it was six months before I graduated from N.E. What a bummer. To me it was the greatest place in the world to grow up. Main and Ridgeway was where we lived. What great memories. Many of the places you mentioned I remember, but there are many I don’t. Yes we lived a very sheltered life, as I found out as soon as we moved to Atlanta, Georgia and my eyes opened up to a whole new world I wasn’t quite prepared for.

    In the following years, I didn’t come back much, but when my son moved to Chicago four years ago, I started coming back pretty often. I don’t even recognize most of Skokie anymore – kind of sad, but progress is inevitable. I remember when there were no stops between Dempster and Howard on the Skokie Swift. At least my old hot dog store Poochie’s is still there and my old synagogue, although it looks smaller than I remember. Old Orchard was still an outdoor shopping center when I left.

    The house I lived in looks so different – it’s kind of sad. We had beautiful hedges between my neighbor’s and our driveway and three beautiful maple trees in the front that are gone. We had 8 to 10 foot high hedges in the backyard that are also gone. On the other side of our house were the most beautiful Christmas tree pine trees bordering our property and they’re not there either, so I no longer drive by the house.

    I worked at New York Bagels and Bialy on Touhy Avenue and Dempster. Glad that business still exists and one of my old bosses works there. He is the son of one of the original owners and I think he’s the only one left from when I worked there.

    Again, Skokie was a great and very safe place to grow up. So safe that when my pops had a store on the westside of Chicago, as an 8 or 9-year old, I was able to take the L by myself to the Lawndale area of Chicago – now one of the worst neighborhoods in the city – imagine that! Going to Cubs games with my friends at 10-years old with no adult supervision – unheard of today! Anyway, thanks for the blog – hope I get to see more.

  24. Really enjoyed your blog and photos. Thanks for taking the time and energy to share these memories. I grew up in Hollywood Park in Chicago. My dentist’s office was in the Old Orchard Professional Building.

    After I got my driver’s license, that was the very first place I drove by myself. I did a lot of shopping at the 5-7-9 Shop, but had forgotten all about it until I read your comments. Your musings created a regular Wayback Machine.

  25. Paul M Roberts

    Really appreciate your history blog on Skokie and Lincolnwood. We moved to Skokie in 1958 and lived on Brown Street, just north of the new Skokie Library. I am wondering if you or anyone can remember the name of the restaurant across the street from Niles East High School in 1958. It was a hangout for upper class students at Niles East (juniors and seniors), and kids would go there I think to smoke and have cokes and hamburgers. I never went there because I ended up going to Niles West when it opened.

  26. I rented a room in a large house in Evanston not too far from the Northwestern campus for 6-8 months around 1976-77. I didn’t have much money then, but one thing I could splurge on was the cover charge for a bar/music venue, which I believe was on the edge of Skokie, just outside of Evanston. There was a great band that played there regularly and students packed the place. I can’t remember the name of the place. Would you happen to know? Even better if you remember the name of the band. I remember they had an outstanding fiddle player and they played music I would call country swing.

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