When we designed Eli’s Cheesecake World on Chicago’s northwest side, our goal was to create a state of the art facility that was good for our people, our products and visitors. Since we opened in 1996, we have been honored as the best food tour in the country by Top 5 on the Food Network, hosted many special events including our annual Eli’s Cheesecake Festival and weekly
Farmer’s Market during the summer and enjoyed our partnership with important organizations like the New Horizon Center for Developmentally Disabled, Wright College and Vaughn High School.
Chicago is a great place to do business. I learned that growing up from a father, Eli. who always wanted to promote Chicago as a great place for visitors and residents. One thing that I got from my father was a love of Chicago history. As a high school senior, I became a member of the second class of docents for the Chicago Architecture Foundation and I continued that interest as a director for the Landmarks Preservation Council and as a Trustee for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
I maintain an interest in Chicago history and now collect historic Chicago postcards and Century of Progress memorabilia. One post card that caught may eye was that of Olson Park at the Olson Rug Company at the corner of Cicero and Diversey just a few miles east of us. Now the home of the Macy’s (Marshall Field’s),Furniture Warehouse, the Olson Park was built by Walter Olson in 1935. Taking nearly six months to complete, the project took 800 tons of stone, 800 yards of soil and 3,500 perennials along with many species of junipers, spruces, pines and annuals. The Park also had a rock garden, duck pond
and 35 foot waterfall. Regrettably the waterfall was turned off and the Park closed in 1971 when it was converted to a parking lot.
As we dream about future opportunities for beautifying our property and enhancing tourism to Chicago, it is nice to have inspiration right in our neighborhood.