Love in the Afternoon

Yesterday I took advantage of the sunshine and explored a well-traveled bike route. Biking along the lakefront from Clark Square Park to Northwestern, I traveled through campus to the lakefront path, past the soccer fields and fraternity houses, north on Sheridan Road to Sheridan Place, then south on Ridge. On the northern grounds of Evanston Hospital I found a plaque marking the location of an ancient Indian village and chipping station (a place where arrowheads and tools were made). From there I continued west on Central Street to Greenbay and McCormick where another bike path begins.

The trail greets passersby with a large silver sculpture followed by a short patch leading up to the Evanston Ecology Center and 23-acre Ladd Arboretum. After Bridge Street the path becomes the North Shore Channel Trail. Along this path and within the arboretum lies the Rotary Club of Evanston International Friendship Garden (designed to mimic the Rotary Club logo), flags of many countries (representing the ethnic diversity of Skokie) and the Jacqueline Gorell Park, named in honor of the first female mayor of Skokie. At Dempster Street, the first of four half-mile segments of the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park begins, which continues down McCormick Boulevard to Touhy Avenue in Chicago. I rode as far as Oakton Street before circling back to head home.

The sculpture park is visually interesting from a car, but absolutely fascinating when exploring by foot or by bicycle. Many of the sculptures include QR codes to connect the viewer to information about the sculptor; there is also a self-guided walking tour and booklet with information about each artist and the thoughts behind each work. Many are permanent installations.

The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park sponsors a biennial competition, the Lewis C. Weinberg Competition, open to interested artists. Applications for the 2015 contest are due before July 1, 2015.

 

 

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Visit the Custer Street Fair Today

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Just rolling along at the Custer Street Fair.

Soak up the sunshine, munch on fun snacks (more than 30 food vendors), take in the music and performances. Great people-watching. Street performers, face painters and balloon sculptors galore! Support over one hundred local businesses and peruse the wares of talented artists and craftspeople at the Custer Street Fair starting at the intersection of Main Street and Chicago Avenue.  All businesses open until 7PM tonight and some until 9PM.  An easy ride on the CTA direct to the Main Street stop on the Purple line.

And if you hear a weird flapping noise, keep your eyes peeled for this street performer. Totally different and very edgy.

Calling All Rail Buffs!

If you happen to take the Purple Line going south, stop and notice these enlarged mementos from the CTA of yesteryear.

1946 Chicago Rapid Transit Company Map.  The 4000 Series cars were featured on the cover.

1946 Chicago Rapid Transit Company Map. The 4000 Series cars were featured on the cover.

Main Street CTA Station, 1946, Charles E. Keevil photo, Walter R. Keevil Collection

(L) Enlarged version of child’s half fare ticket. (R) Main Street CTA Station, 1946, Charles E. Keevil photo, Walter R. Keevil Collection.

In 1908, the Northwestern Elevated Railroad extended “L” service into Evanston using tracks leased from the

Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. Within a few years’ time, the surface level tracks were placed on an embankment and the present-day Main Street station and platforms were placed in service.

In 1973, the Chicago Transit Authority’s venerable 4000-series rapid transit cars were retired after a half century of service. A total of 205 of these cars were built for the Chicago system over a several year period in the early 1920’s by the Cincinnati Car Company and saw service throughout the Chicago ‘L’ system.  After the last cars were retired from the Evanston rapid transit line in 1973, cars 4271 and 4272 were selected for preservation by the Chicago Transit Authority. In February 2014, these cars paused at Main for a photo.

Final Ride for 4000 Series Transit Cars, Bruce G. Moffat photo

Final Ride for 4000 Series Transit Cars, Bruce G. Moffat photo

The Women of Duna

Arne and Mary Oldberg Park in downtown Evanston boasts the lovely, weatherbeaten equine statue, Duna, by Deborah Butterfield. This statute was given to Evanston by a donation from the Estate of Catherine Rassinier Stallings and installed May 15, 1998.

Catherine Rassinier was born in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby. Although she was bright and eager to attend college, family circumstances intervened and she was unable to do so.  Undeterred, Catherine worked and saved her money.  She was a modern woman in every way: independent, confident, goal-oriented, thrifty and adventurous, traits she retained throughout her life. Shortly after World War II ended, she moved to Chicago, alone, and rented an apartment across from the Lincoln Park Zoo. 

Patriots Park

The city’s first public art project is a monument and flag pole honoring Evanston soldiers who gave their lives in the Spanish-American War, the Civil War and World War I.  In 1929 the Fort Dearborn Chapter (established in 1894) of the Daughters of the American Revolution commissioned the work. Stephen Beames (1896-1969), an Indian-born, Canadian artist who studied, lived and worked in the United States, created it. He also taught at Rockford (IL) College until 1931, when he moved to California; later he made his living as a bookkeeper.

The small park is on a sliver of land at the intersection of Davis Street and Sheridan Road, perpendicular to Lake Michigan and the beachfront. Stop by for a closer look at this memorial to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Ride of Silence

Nearly 20 cyclists, all wearing bike helmets and most similarly clad in yellow neon shirts with the kneeling cyclist logo, gathered at Chandler-Newberger Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to take part in this year’s Ride of Silence.  Before we started, some people shared stories about friends who were injured or killed while riding; one person’s story was a personal account of his own accident and how the support of the cycling community meant so much to him and his wife during his recovery. Still recuperating, he was not yet ready to join in this year’s ride.

The silent procession flows at an easy pace to encourage riders of all levels to join.  The leader, Dave, moved steadily and deliberately, observing all traffic rules. An important aspect of the ride is to raise awareness of the need to ‘share the road.’ There is safety in numbers: our group was visually distinctive as we rode 11 miles together through northwest Evanston, Skokie and Niles. The ride concluded uneventfully with a whoop of exhilaration at Evanston’s Wheel & Sprocket, who generously provided not only the neon t-shirts but pizza and drinks.

I found out about the ride through The Chainlink.org and the Evanston Bicycle Club. The Ride of Silence is an international event started in 2003 by Chris Phelan in Dallas as a way to honor the memory of a cyclist friend killed on the road.  It’s a great cause and free to participate.

Ride of Silence

Color Love

My Schlumbergera is blooming and it’s gorgeous.

Color Love

Earlier in the week I saw Tommy and Lexi from across the street and shamelessly sprinted after them. They were very sweet and a little shy. The photo does not do them justice.

Color Love

Wednesday morning’s winter wonderland looked like marshmallow frosting.

Color LoveColor Love