This week's Reader has an article on Chicago-born 1940s-era actor Robert Ryan. It includes the full text of a lengthy letter he wrote to his children about his childhood in Uptown and Edgewater in the early part of the 1900s. Fascinating stuff to those of us who love knowing about the history of our neighborhood.
He lived at 4822 North Kenmore (since demolished) and 1408 West Winona before his family moved to Edgewater. His letter reminisces about seeing Essenay Studios movies being shot on Uptown streets, how the alley behind Kenmore was the center of neighborhood activities, and visiting the local fire department, where the fire engines were pulled by white horses.
The article is here, and the full text of the letter is here. (The photo of young Robert in front of 4822 Kenmore is from the Reader and was provided courtesy of the late actor's family.)