Monday, January 30, 2023

Homer's Ice Cream, Wilmette, Illinois, Fabricated (A Lie) a "Legend" about Al Capone.

From Homer's website: "In 1935, restaurant owner Gus Poulos created his first batch of homemade ice cream that was far richer and more satisfying than any other in that era anywhere in Chicago."
From Homer's Ice Cream at 1237 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, Illinois, website.

"Word traveled fast about the quality of Homer's Ice Cream. Its humble beginnings as a two-table ice cream parlor lasted only briefly. Soon, people from all around, up and down Chicago's North Shore, came to Homer's. In fact, Homers Wilmette Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor, located at 1237 Green Bay Road in Wilmette, IL, is the original location."

"Legend has it, Al Capone, having a lakefront house in nearby Glencoe, was a frequent visitor and most appreciative customer. Al Capone spent many hours in the Wilmette location and always had an unusual entourage. He was one of Gus' most pleasant customers."
Website Screen Capture 02/25/2023 - Click to Enlarge.

Questionable (marketing) statement on Homer's website: "Today, many prominent dignitaries and entertainment stars religiously request varieties of Homer's Ice Creams sent to hotel suites, private homes, and assorted entourages when in Chicago." 
Homer's opened a second store at 1534 East Lake Street, Glenview, Illinois, in September 1996.
The Onion, Chicago, September 09, 2010. Owner Dean Poulos (Right) and son Andy Poulos (Left).

Al Capone NEVER stepped foot in Homer's Ice Cream at 1237 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, Illinois. 

Capone purchased a house on Palm Island, Florida, in 1928. 

In 1931, Al Capone was tried and convicted of not paying taxes in an effort by authorities to put him behind bars for a long time, finally sentencing Capone to 11 years in federal prison. On May 4, 1932, Al Capone was put onto a special rail car on the Dixie Flyer, under heavy guard, en route to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. By bribing the guards, he lived in a cell with amenities other prisoners didn't get.

It was decided that Capone needed reforming, so he was transferred to  Alcatraz "The Rock" Federal Prison in San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate Area in California on August 22, 1934. Al Capone was in the first group of inmates incarcerated on The Rock, a year BEFORE Homer's Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor opened in 1935.
Inmate № 85, Al Capone, 35 years old, immediately tried to assert his dominance and bribe his way to control. Alcatraz's first warden, James A. Johnston, shut down that idea, to which Capone said: "It looks like Alcatraz has me licked."
Al Capone served a total of 4 1/2 years at Alcatraz. Suffering from paresis (partial paralysis) derived from syphilis, his brain significantly deteriorated during his confinement. He was transferred to Terminal Island Prison in Southern California for the remainder of his sentence. Capone was released from Alcatraz on January 6, 1939. Paroled from Terminal Island on November 16, 1939, Capone was transferred to a Baltimore mental hospital before returning to his Florida estate. Capone lived in Florida until he died in 1947. 

His wife, Mary "Mae" Josephine Capone, sold the Florida property in 1952. Mae died in Hollywood, Florida, on April 16, 1986.

The Internet Archive first captured Homer's Ice Cream's website on April 7, 2003. It turns out that DEAN POULOS, Gus Poulos' son claimed: "Legend has it Al Capone, having a lakefront house in nearby Glencoe, was a frequent visitor and most appreciative customer. Al Capone spent many hours in the Wilmette location and always had an unusual entourage. He was one of Gus' most pleasant customers." For the next 20 years, two generations of the family continued with the lie. 

We have no need to lie about anything. The only thing this article proves is that Capone was in prison from 1932-1939. Gus Poulos was making ice cream in Wilmette since 1926, just down the street from the current location. So while the Homer's you know it as today was opened in 1935, there's a chunk of his life missing from that article, as well as the 8 years after he was released. If you're saying you have empirical knowledge as to his whereabouts for the entirety of his life after prison and before prison, we'd love to see such documentation.

"Gus Poulos was making ice cream in Wilmette since 1926, just down the street from the current location," is another deception tactic! The Sweet Shop was not in Wilmette but in Winnetka. 

Below is the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois law suite for stealing money from the family-owned business filed by family members, and five articles, 2015-2016, about Poulos' legal issues. 

Via research: Gus E. Poulos operated the "Sweet Shop Ice Cream Parlor" in the Ayres Boal Building, built in 1913, on the Northeast corner of Elm Street and Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka from 1926 to 1936, with his brother, James. 

The Sweet Shop opened in 1922 (after the Winnetka State Bank, the first occupant of the corner storefront, moved to a new site just east) and remained a popular destination for more than 80 years, becoming the Depot Diner in the 1980s, and finally closing in 2008.

I'm friends with Deirdre Capone, Al's grand-niece. We've been friends for over 10 years. Contrary to popular belief, no evidence suggests that Al Capone ever resided in Glencoe, Illinois. While some sources might mention Glencoe in relation to Capone, it’s likely due to confusion with other events or figures associated with the notorious gangster.

During his rise to power in the 1920s, he owned several properties in various Chicago neighborhoods, including Cicero and Mount Greenwood. Following his release from Alcatraz in 1934, he spent his final years in a seaside mansion on Palm Island, Florida.

Some other prominent Chicago gangsters of the era did have connections to Glencoe. For example, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, a close associate of Capone, reportedly owned a summer home in the town.

Therefore, while Glencoe might be mentioned in some contexts alongside Al Capone, it’s important to note that there’s no historical record of him ever residing there.

Please provide the name of the company and address of where Gus Poulos worked in Wilmette making ice cream in 1926.

My statement, "Al Capone NEVER stepped foot in Homer's Ice Cream at 1237 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, Illinois," is 100% accurate. The way it is written on your website is NOT TRUE. How about telling the truth

The phrase "legend has it" refers to a story or tale passed down from one generation to another. It is not a statement of fact. This isn't a documentary page about Al Capone. If the idea of him eating ice cream in Wilmette, whether he lived in Glencoe or not, is so offensive to your sense of reality you are welcome to believe whatever makes you happiest.

Deliberately misleading consumers, knowing the story is a lie, is considered misleading or deceptive advertising. The statement is being used to make a factual claim about the business's history, regardless of prefacing the statement with "legend has it," then it's problematic. On their website, Homer's Ice Cream banks readers are less likely to understand that the claim is unverified, so it's considered manipulative.

Even if a business uses "legend has it" in a playful way, it could still be held liable for false or misleading advertising if the claims it makes are demonstrably untrue. Businesses are responsible for being truthful and transparent with their customers, even when using creative language. Using "legend has it" to skirt around the truth could be seen as unethical. Building trust with customers is essential for any business. If used to make false claims about product efficacy, origin, or history, "legend has it" can be seen as an unethical marketing tactic that exploits consumer trust in the brand.

In conclusion, "legend has it" is not a magic shield against legal or ethical repercussions. Businesses should use it responsibly, ensuring that the content remains playful and doesn't mislead consumers. It makes one wonder what other information presented a FACTUAL Homer's Ice Cream in Wilmette, Illinois, has used. Are the Ice cream ingredients, calories, sodium content, carbohydrate counts, and is Homer's really using natural flavors? You can see where lying can trap a company into customers being doubtful. Homer's won't correct their historical lie!



STEPHEN G. POULOS, through CRAIG POULOS and TODD POULOS, his agents under his Power of Attorney.
HOMER'S ICE CREAM, INC., an Illinois corporation, and POULOS ASSOCIATES, an Illinois general partnership
Dean Poulos and Jon D. Poulos have diverted funds from the family-owned ice cream business for their own personal benefit.

Under Dean's management, the businesses have deteriorated and lost money, have not regularly paid debts when due, and owe considerable money to creditors. Furthermore, beyond this gross mismanagement, Dean and Jon diverted funds from the family-owned ice cream business for their personal benefit.

APRIL 22, 2015, via Scribd

Crain's Chicago Business, April 23, 2015

The family that owns Homer's Ice Cream in Wilmette is fighting in court.

A son of the founder of Homer's Ice Cream is accusing his two brothers of skimming cash from the Wilmette institution and letting the 80-year-old business fall into debt, disrepair and unprofitability.

In a filing yesterday in Cook County Circuit Court, Stephen Poulos alleges breach of fiduciary responsibility by brothers Dean and Jon and seeks dissolution of the partnership and appointment of a liquidating trustee.

The three sons of founder Gus Poulos are equal partners in the enterprise, according to the lawsuit, which said Dean became president about 2010 when Stephen suffered increasingly from Alzheimer's disease. The action was brought by Stephen's sons Craig and Todd through a 2009 power of attorney, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleged that since at least 2011, Dean and Jon took more than $220,000 in “shareholder advances” for expenses that included membership dues at the Glen Club on the North Shore. It also alleged that Dean “has engaged in a practice of skimming cash received from Homer's sale proceeds without accounting the proceeds on Homer's books and records” while making payments to himself and Jon but not to Stephen.

Reached at Homer's, Dean, 62, said he received a copy of the lawsuit today and declined to comment "until I talk to my attorneys to see what it entails."

Referring to his nephews, the plaintiffs, he said, "If their father knew what was happening, he would be very disgraced."

Homer's lost money during the first two months of this year after annual profit in 2014 dwindled to $30,000 from $105,000 the year before, according to the filing. “Despite Homer's dire financial outlook, Dean has continuously caused Homer's to pay him a substantial salary as an 'officer,' even giving himself a raise from $156,000 in 2013 to more than $185,000 in 2014,” the lawsuit said.

Starting as a two-table ice cream parlor, Homer's grew into a restaurant and manufacturer. Among its accolades is being named to a top 10 list by Bon Appetit magazine. However, the lawsuit claimed the restaurant today "appears dirty and is in need of substantial repairs and updating."

The lawsuit alleged that Homer's lost its “secret recipe” to a company it contracted with to produce ice cream for restaurant customers, including P.F. Chang's and Maggiano's. It blamed Dean for the lack of a written agreement, which allowed “the third party eventually (to) cut Homer's out of the deal.”

According to the lawsuit, Dean rebuffed an attempt by Craig and Todd, identified as founders of medical device companies, to take over their father's role in the company. Instead, Dean became president in 2010 and “announced that he would manage the business exclusively with his sons,” the lawsuit said.

It further alleged that Dean induced Stephen to write a $50,000 check to Homer's on the last day of 2010 when Dean “knew or should have known that Stephen's cognitive impairment had progressed to a point where Stephen was not aware of the impact or consequences of his actions.”

By Steven R. Strahler

The Patch, Winnetka-Glencoe, IL., April 27, 2015 

Suit brought on by nephews, owners Dean and Jon allegedly paid themselves big time while allowing business to slip.

A pair of brothers are accused of skimming cash from their family business, allowing Homer’s Ice Cream in Wilmette to fall into debt, disrepair and unprofitably.

A lawsuit was filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court by the sons of Stephen Poulos on their father’s behalf, alleging their uncles, Dean and Jon Poulos, kept lofty salaries for themselves while not providing anything to Stephen, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Stephen, Dean and Jon are the sons of Gus Poulos, who founded the 80-year-old Wilmette staple at 1237 Green Bay Road. The three are equal partners in the business, the lawsuit stated.

Stephen had originally been president of the operation, but that changed in 2010 when Dean was appointed due to Stephen’s increasingly developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Over the last four years, Dean and Jon took more than $220,000 in “shareholder advances” for membership dues at the Glen Club among other expenses, the suit states, in addition to accusing Dean of skimming cash from sale proceeds without accounting for the proceeds on Homer’s records.

Despite an annual profit that dipped from $105,000 to $30,000 from 2013 to 2014, Dean still compensated himself as an ‘officer,’ providing himself with a raise from $156,000 in 2013 to $185,000.

By Tim Moran

Homer's Ice Cream, the 80-year-old Wilmette ice cream emporium that has become a North Shore landmark, is now the subject of a family feud in Cook County Circuit Court.

Todd and Craig Poulos, grandsons of founder Gus Poulos, filed suit April 22 against their uncles, Dean and Jon Poulos, on behalf of their father, Stephen Poulos of Wilmette, who is, according to the filing, suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to dissolve the Poulos brothers' three-way partnership in Homer's Ice Cream, to appoint a liquidation trustee for the business and to levy compensatory and punitive damages against Dean and Jon Poulos on behalf of Stephen Poulos.

Not only did Stephen Poulos' brothers take advantage of his decreased mental acuity by convincing him in 2010 to loan $50,000 of his own money to the business, but the suit alleges Dean Poulos, in his role as Homer's President, has mismanaged it and its connected businesses into losses, increasing debt and physical disrepair.

The charges are both false and hurtful, Dean Poulos said on April 27.

"I categorically have gone through each and every assessment and can tell you how wrong so many of these assumptions are," he said. "Unfortunately, or fortunately, my brother is not cognizant of what his sons are doing right now. He'd be so disgusted. For his children to say, after all these years, that I'm trying to do anything at all ill against my brother is so hurtful."

Dean Poulos also said that adding his brother Jon to the lawsuit "is a travesty."

Gus Poulos, the father of Stephen, Dean and Jon Poulos, founded Homer's Ice Cream in 1935 as a two-table ice cream parlor selling gourmet homemade ice cream. Since that time, the business has won numerous accolades, the suit states.

"Under Dean's management, the businesses have deteriorated and lost money, have not regularly paid debts when due, and owe considerable money to creditors," the suit states. "Furthermore, beyond this gross mismanagement, Dean and Jon have diverted funds from the family-owned ice cream business for their own personal benefit."

The suit alleges that Dean Poulos, a Glenview resident, and Jon Poulos, who has lived in Florida for more than 20 years, have used company coffers "as their personal piggy banks" to the tune of more than $220,000 in so-called stockholder advances that have not been repaid.

Among the items allegedly improperly paid for on the brothers' behalf by Homer's, according to the suit:
  • Membership dues and other costs of $7,700 for Dean Poulos at the Glen Club, a Chicago area golf club;
  • An estimated $54,000 in nine separate wire transfers or checks made out to Jon Poulos between December 2013 and December 2014;
  • The mortgage, fees and costs associated with a California condominium unit "for which Dean solely benefits," according to the suit.
The suit also charges that the two defendants deliberately blocked Stephen Poulos' sons from taking part in Homer's management, despite their 2010 request to be brought onto the team after their father's progressive cognitive deterioration forced him to step down as president. Instead, Dean Poulos announced he would become president and would manage the business "exclusively with his sons," it states.

Since that time, Todd and Craig Poulos allege, their uncles tried to keep them from seeing the company's books. The company's accountant stated in 2011 that he would not open the books to them "on the advice of his counsel," their lawsuit charges.

Only a 2013 lawsuit convinced Dean Poulos to allow his nephews to view the company's financial status, the suit alleges.

However, Dean Poulos said that Todd and Craig Poulos dropped their 2013 legal action after an investigation into the business showed no wrongdoing.

"Contrary to their (current lawsuit), I offered in my office for them to go through everything, all the records. They reneged and chose to do it in court. … They dropped the lawsuit. I'm confident the same thing is going to happen this time," he said.

In the current lawsuit, Todd and Craig Poulos say they discovered that Dean Poulos' management lost the company a valuable wholesale contract to produce ice cream for restaurants, including Maggiano's and P.F. Chang's.

That happened after the lack of a written agreement with the third party producing Homer's ice cream allowed that party to use Homer's so-called "secret recipe" and eventually cut Homer's out of the restaurant deal, the suit states.

Dean Poulos' management practices allegedly include a habit of skimming cash receipts for personal use, the suit states, and giving himself a raise from a salary of $156,000 in 2013 to $185,000 in 2014.

At the same time, the plaintiffs allege, their eventual access to Homer's books shows that the company "realized a profit of only $105,000 in 2013 and, not surprisingly, less than $30,000 in 2014." This year, the suit says, "appears even grimmer, as Homer's recorded losses in both January and February."

Poulos, on April 27 denied that the business was in any danger of closing.

"Sure, business is tough, and we go through cycles, just like any other business, especially with cold winters like this year and last year that are bad for the ice cream business," he said. "But Homer's is not going anywhere, not melting down, or anything that they say."

By Kathy Routliffe

New Trier News, May 21, 2015

Homer’s Ice Cream, a longtime North Shore landmark, has become the center of a lawsuit amidst rumors of closing.

Homer’s was founded by Gus Poulos in 1935, and since then has been a roaring success with residents of the North Shore.

However, the success of the shop itself may not be enough to keep it up and running. Under accusations of mismanagement, a lawsuit is being filed by Todd and Craig Poulos on behalf of their father, Stephen Poulos, a co-owner of Homer’s Ice Cream and son of Gus Poulos.

The sons claim that Stephen’s brothers and co-owners, Dean and Jon Poulos, have been taking advantage of their father’s deteriorating mental state, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune also reports that the suit is being filed under accusations of Dean and Jon Poulos using the profits Homer’s reaped “as their personal piggy banks.”

The suit alleges that Dean Poulos has used Homer’s profits to raise his own salary from $156,000 in 2013 to $185,000 in 2014, pay his $7,700 membership fees at the Glen Club, a golf club in Chicago, and pay the dues for his personal condominium in California. The suit also alleges that roughly $54,000 was transferred to Jon Poulos between December 2013 and December 2014.

Although he manages it with his brothers, taking over after Stephen Poulos’ mental health forced him to step down, Dean Poulos is actually the president of Homer’s Ice Cream. And according to Todd and Craig, his management, while president has been doing more to hurt the business than just skimming from the company’s bank account.

Poulos allegedly lost Homer’s a large contract to produce ice cream for a number of restaurants, such as Maggiano’s and P.F. Chang’s, according to the suit.

That occurred when the lack of a written agreement allowed the third-party producer of Homer’s ice cream to steal their “secret recipe” and cut Homer’s out of the deal.

However, both Dean and Jon Poulos are calling these charges false and hurtful. Dean Poulos commented on this lawsuit, saying to the Tribune, “Unfortunately, or fortunately, my brother is not cognizant of what his sons are doing right now. He’d be so disgusted. For his children to say, after all these years, that I’m trying to do anything at all ill against my brother is so hurtful.”

The suit also states that Dean and Jon Poulos deliberately blocked Todd and Craig Poulos from participating in Homer’s management.

When Stephen Poulos stepped down as president in 2010, Todd and Craig Poulos were denied their request to be brought into the management team. Instead, Dean Poulos announced that he would become president and would manage Homer’s “exclusively with his sons.”

Todd and Craig Poulos also allege that the company books, to which they were able to gain access due to a previous lawsuit, revealed that Homer’s “realized a profit of only $105,000 in 2013 and less than $30,000 in 2014” and that this year “appears even grimmer, as Homer’s recorded losses in both January and February.”

Ultimately, Dean Poulos denies that Homer’s is in any danger of closing, according to the Tribune, “Sure, business is tough, and we go through cycles, just like any other business, especially with cold winters like this year and last year that are bad for the ice cream business,” he said. “But Homer’s is not going anywhere, not melting down, or anything that they say.”

by Sarah Zhang and Anna Ferguson

Crain's Chicago Business, October 05, 2016

The family that owns Homer's Ice Cream in Wilmette is fighting in court.

The family dispute over Homer's Ice Cream has taken another twist: A co-owner sued a law firm for the Wilmette business, alleging it advised two brothers of the ailing co-owner to forge his signature or induce him to sign a change-of-control agreement.

In a Sept. 30 filing in Cook County Circuit Court, David Najarian and his Wilmette law firm are accused of negligence or, alternately, breach of fiduciary duty, and of aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.

“No comment,” Najarian said this morning.

Stephen Poulos last year sued his brothers Dean and Jon for breach of fiduciary duty and sought dissolution of their joint ownership of the 81-year-old North Shore institution and appointment of a liquidating trustee. 

Last week's filing by Stephen and two sons alleges that Najarian's firm “knew Stephen no longer possessed the capacity to manage his financial affairs, let alone enter into binding agreements” after seeking treatment for Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

Stephen's sons Craig and Todd gained their father's power of attorney in 2009, according to the complaint, which alleges that on or after Sept. 30, 2010, the Najarian firm assisted Dean and Jon in getting Stephen to sign the ownership agreement or advised forging his signature on it.

Craig and Todd did not learn of the existence of the agreement, the new filing said, until it was produced last year in the earlier lawsuit.

“The execution of the agreement was part of Dean and Jon's plan to obtain control of the business and to prevent Stephen from participating in the management of the business or from transferring his interests in the business to his sons,” the latest complaint says.

Homer's was founded by Gus Poulos, father of the three brothers.

By Steven R. Strahler

Fabricated History Corrected After 124 Years
Dr. Gale exposes Pabst's false claim of winning a Blue Ribbon (or Gold Medal) at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. 
Dr. Neil Gale's work in bringing to light the published 1893 contest rules played a crucial role in prompting Pabst to finally address and correct the false claim about their "blue ribbon" award. His meticulous research and use of a definitive source like the official Exposition rules added significant weight to his argument and ultimately forced Pabst Brewery, Pabst Mansion, and the Wisconsin Historical Society to acknowledge the truth. This highlights the importance of using credible sources and verifiable evidence when challenging unsubstantiated claims, especially those used for marketing purposes. The misinformation on their websites was corrected in 2017. 
Dr. Gale's efforts serve as an example of how diligent research and a commitment to factual accuracy can lead to positive change. 

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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1237 Green Bay Road Wilmette, IL

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Fool Killer Submarine was found in the Chicago River in 1915.

William “Frenchy” Deneau was a minor celebrity in Chicago. He was a diver who recovered 250 bodies from the Chicago River in the Eastland disaster in 1915. His expertise in the water put him in demand, and the next November, Deneau was back in the water to lay electrical cables underneath the Rush Street Bridge. While there, his shovel brushed against something metal. Further excavation found a metal submarine, forty-foot long and made of iron. Some reports say it was found under the Rush Street Bridge, others say it was found under the Wells Street Bridge, and others say it was under the Madison Street bridge. 

Submarines had been the news since the battle of the Merrimac and the Monitor in the Civil War. During this time, submarines were used in World War I battles. Some people feared this was a primitive U-boat from a failed German invasion. Others wondered if this was something left over from the Civil War. No one knew, but they tried to find out. The newspapers took up the story and watched it with interest. The vessel was nicknamed the "Foolkiller" by the newspapers.

Deneau was given permission to salvage the submarine, and it was hauled from the Chicago River on December 20,1915. Once inside, the discovery was made of a man’s skull and a dog’s skull, just the skulls. Police combed their missing persons' records to see who the skull could belong to. Deneau partnered with the SkeeBall company and put the Foolkiller on display. With the slogan “Come for the Foolkiller, Stay for the Skee Ball!” the submarine went on tour in February 1916. For the low price of a dime, people could tour the interior of the Foolkiller and have a question-and-answer session with Deneau. Attendees had to tour at their own risk.

Still, there was no indication of how the submarine got there. The thought that it was a German U-boat was dismissed as wartime propaganda. The U.S. wasn’t in the Great War at this time. There was also speculation that it was built in 1890 by Peter Nissen. 

The Chicago Tribune initially reported, “The boat is said to have belonged to Peter Nissen, spectacular mariner, who was lost in his revolving vessel while attempting to drift across Lake Michigan … The “Foolkiller” was so called because it first appeared shortly after the Chicago fire, in the days when submarines were unheard of, and drowned its original owner, a New York man when it made a trial trip. Nissen then bought it.” Peter Nissen was originally an accountant turned daredevil, but his boat designs were very different than the submarine found. Also, Peter Nissen died on a different boat, so he could not be the human skull found.

Another speculation has said it was a creation of Lodner Darvantis Phillips, a shoemaker from Michigan City, Indiana, who also happened to be a submarine pioneer. He had built successful submarines in the Great Lakes, and one of his designs from the 1840s resembled the submarine found. According to his family legend, a prototype he built sank in the Chicago River and claimed the Foolkiller as one of their ancestor’s creations. 

This is the only evidence. However, his designs resembled the submarine found more closely than Nissen’s. Then who was the man found on the submarine?

Some people believe that Deneau added the skulls as a bit of showmanship to generate interest in his find. Deneau was in a spot of financial trouble, and the submarine tour generated some needed cash. However, we will never know the truth about the submarine as its last known location was Oelwein, Iowa, in May 1915. It is lost in the mists of time, but it could still be out there waiting for its mystery to be unraveled.

Shortly thereafter, the submarine was displayed at 208 South State Street, Chicago. For 10¢, you could see the submarine and the skulls.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 28, 2023


Aldine Square.
Conley's Patch.
Hyde Park Township. 
Lee's Place / Hardscrabble a Chicago Community.
Little Sicily "Little Hell" Neighborhood.
Mopetown, a Chicago Neighborhood.
Shanty Town, District of Lake Michigan, and Streeterville.
Swede Town Neighborhood.
Towertown Neighborhood. 
Town of Austin forced annexation to Chicago in 1899.
Town of Lake. 
Village of Jefferson. - Township of Jefferson.
Village of Pennock.

Lost Communities of Chicago - Aldine Square Neighborhood, 1874-1938.

Aldine Square was built on untouched prairie land on the South Side of Chicago.

Since the onset of the 20th century, Aldine Square has been one of the city's most fashionable neighborhoods for a few decades. Its big brick and limestone townhomes surrounded a wooded park with a lake and footbridge.

Built in 1874 between 37th Place and 38th Street, bounded by Vincennes Avenue (entrance) to the east and Eden Avenue (entrance) - no longer exists) to the west. 
Plot Plan of Aldine Square, Chicago.

Aldine Square Postcard.

Aldine Square was where judges, attorneys, and folk in society lived. In 1877, the Chicago Tribune called it "the most charming of all the beautiful places of residence in the city." It consisted of 42 houses built of brick and limestone that surrounded a park with a pond and was initially paved with Belgian Woodblock. Homes in the neighborhood carried an "Aldine Square" address.
Looking westward shows the Aldine Square main entrance on Vincennes, marked by two enormous stone pylons. Ragtime giant Jelly Roll Morton lived at 545 Aldine in 1918.

Towards the end-of-life of Aldine Square, near the Eden Street entrance, was a dumping ground over which a sign read, "No Dumping Here."

But by 1938, Aldine Square was gone, razed to build the now-demolished Ida B. Wells public housing project, and is all but forgotten. Fortunately, just before Aldine Square was demolished, the federal government sent photographers Joseph Hill and Robert Tufts to document the site. Their photographs, taken between 1934 and 1936, are among the few visual records of this spectacular Place that looked impressive even in its final days.
The original wood and iron footbridge.
So, what happened to Aldine Square? When black migrants from the South began settling in the Chicago area beginning in the 1920s, the white residents of Aldine Square and the surrounding neighborhoods moved away. 

The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 further exacerbated economic conditions, and the area quickly became slum housing.
Here you can tell the still-stately homes have seen better days. The simple wooden footbridge in the foreground replaced the more elaborate iron and wood original one.

The Chicago Tribune documented this in a 1929 story about a neighborhood reunion held by Aldine Square's original families. The article said the gathering was held at a downtown hotel by residents who "moved away from the path of the advancing Negro district."

That Negro district had some of the most substandard housing in the city, and the big, new, modern Ida B. Wells public housing project was supposed to fix those ills. Aldine Square, which occupied a small portion of the future public housing site, was in the path of progress.

Ironically, the Ida B. Wells homes have been demolished and replaced by upscale housing in the newly gentrified neighborhood.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Lincoln College and the City of Lincoln, Illinois

In 1852 Logan County was a popular place for settlers. Logan County was so popular because of the easy access to the waterways (Kickapoo, Salt, and Sugar creeks) and the abundance of wildlife. 

The City of Lincoln was founded in February of 1853 by three men: Virgil Hickcox, a railroad director; John D. Gillett, a cattle rancher known as "Cattle King of the World" in future years; and Robert B. Latham, the Sheriff of Logan County.

However, what made Lincoln so desirable was the future railroad. When the government wanted to connect Springfield to Bloomington, they encountered a small problem. Springfield and Bloomington were nearly 60 miles apart, and the steam trains of the day required a water stop point every 30 miles, along with the railroad that also required a passenger depot every 30 miles. This water point and passenger depot would be in Lincoln.

When realizing Lincoln would be the railroad stop, people quickly realized this would be a great opportunity. Seizing this opportunity became the goal of the three businessmen. These businessmen created a business venture called the Town Site Company. These three men were Virgil Hickcox, a railroad director. John D. Gillett, a cattle raiser known as "Cattle King of the World" in future years and a landowner in Cornland, and Robert B. Latham, the Sheriff of Logan County. The first step in creating Lincoln was obtaining the rights to the land. The venture needed to purchase the land that Isaac and Joseph B. Loose owned. Sheriff Latham traveled to Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where Isaac Loose lived to purchase the land. On February 3, 1853, Sheriff Latham purchased the land from Isaac and Joseph B. Loose for $1,350. To continue the development of Lincoln's new town, the Town Site Company realized that it needed some legal assistance. So Virgil Hickcox called on his friend and neighbor to help with the legal matters. The attorney's name was Abraham Lincoln. Then a week and a half later, after purchasing the land, the proposed town of Lincoln became the new county seat after a bill was passed to move the county seat from Mt. Pulaski to the City of Lincoln.

The next step in the process was to design the City of Lincoln. The County Surveyor, Conway Pence, created the City of Lincoln around the railroad. All the streets ran parallel and perpendicular to the railroad. In addition, he designed four blocks that were for the county. In these four blocks were two parks, one court house and one jail. Now that the city was planned, it was time to bring in the people. On August 24, 1853, the men of the Town Site Company met with Abraham Lincoln at his law office. Sheriff Latham was appointed the representative, and it was announced that the new town would be named Lincoln. There is controversy over who had the original idea to name the town Lincoln. Sheriff Latham claims that he had the idea. However, John Gillett's daughter insists it was her mother's idea. Unfortunately, no one knows who named the town Lincoln, but Lincoln will always be the first town named after Abraham Lincoln before he became president.

On August 27, 1853, lots for the town went up for sale. On that day, over ninety lots were sold, with prices ranging from forty to one hundred and fifty dollars. The Town Site Company's proceeds were over six thousand dollars. The same day after the sale, Abraham Lincoln christened the town using watermelon juice from a nearby wagonload of melons. There is a watermelon statue near the railroad depot commemorating where Abraham Lincoln christened the town. You will find it near the corner of Broadway and Sangamon streets.


Lincoln College was established in 1865 to fill the need for an institution of higher learning in central Illinois. Commissioners investigated several sites and, in December 1864, selected Lincoln, Illinois. On February 6, 1865, the Illinois General Assembly secured a charter for the new university. The ground was broken for University Hall, the first college building, just six days after Abraham Lincoln's birthday. 

By September 1866, the foundation had been completed, and the cornerstone was laid. In November 1866, instruction for men and women began. The first commencement in 1868 honored three graduates. Thus Lincoln College took its place among the pioneer educational institutions of Midwest America.

On March 30, 2022, after 156 years of history, the school's president, David Gerlach, announced Lincoln College's permanent closure.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Tiny Towns in Illinois: The Village of Metcalf, Illinois

Metcalf is a village in Young America Township, Edgar County, Illinois, United States. Metcalf, with a population of 239 in the 2020 census.

Metcalf was founded as a railroad town in its early history as the Baltimore & Ohio and the Norfolk & Western Railroads intersect.

Schooling was made available for the children of Metcalf in the late 1800s. The only remnant of the grade school building was the cornerstone. 

Construction of the Metcalf High School building began in 1921 and opened in 1922. The last graduating class of High School was the class of 1949 due to the consolidation with Hume, Illinois. In the fall of 1949, the school changed its name to Young America High School. 

The Class of 1968 was the last class to graduate from Young America High School. Yet another consolidation took place, and a new K-12 facility was built near Hume, joining the towns of Metcalf, Hume, Brocton, and Redmon. 

In 1969 the Metcalf building was purchased and used as a Shelter Care until 1979. Then, in April of 1980, the building was destroyed by fire. 

The sundial had been on the high school's lawn since 1922 and was purchased by the Class of 1932, who moved it to Metcalf Park. The cornerstones from the Metcalf Grade School and the old Metcalf High School were also placed in Metcalf Park.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.