Posts Tagged Dunning

Mayor Daley Dedicates Chicago Public Library Dunning Branch

From Marc Schulman, President of Eli’s Cheesecake:

As Mayor Daley has been in office since 1989, his term has been very close to covering the time since my dad, Eli, has been gone. The invitation to emcee and participate in his farewell tour at the dedication of the new Dunning Library on Friday, May 6th was very special for me. We had the opportunity to create one more special cake and to thank the Mayor for the support of our business and our people by helping us build our facility and by promoting our cake around the world.





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Chicago Tribune Profiles Eli’s & Wright College’s Neighborhood–”Dunning: Where the living is cool and calm”

dunning article

dunning map

f peace and quiet are what you seek, look no further than Dunning.

Located only 10 miles from the Loop at the edge of the city on the Northwest Side, Dunning is anything but edgy. This community is so calm, cool and collected, not even Starbucks knows it’s there.

How do the 40,000-plus residents handle living in a “No Starbucks Zone”?

Tivadar “Ted” Szabo Jr., president of Portage Park Chamber of Commerce, put an espresso machine in his real estate office. The chamber includes Dunning in its service area.

The 12,000 students at Wright College stay on campus when the need strikes for caffeine.

For residents who commute on Interstate Highways 90/94 or 294, coffee has to wait until they park. Those riding the Blue line or one of the eight CTA buses that serve the area hold out until they get to their stop.

The rest pull up a chair, open their laptops and order a slice of chocolate chip with their coffee at Eli’s Cheesecake World Cafe.

Marc Schulman settles in at a table in the cafe and watches the goings on. Schulman is a regular; he is also president of Eli’s Cheesecake Co. It’s Friday morning and he isn’t alone. This place is so popular it was featured on the Food Network.

Bakers, chefs, school children, tourists and neighbors wander in and out of the large, airy space that includes outdoor seating in warmer weather. This foot traffic happens all day long, seven days a week. Some stop to shop, others for lunch or to check their e-mail; the cafe provides free Wi-Fi.

When Eli’s original factory needed to expand, Schulman said they were very happy to find property on Forest Preserve Drive at the north end of Dunning. Dunning, one of the city’s 77 official community areas, stretches between Montrose Avenue, Forest Preserve Avenue and Irving Park Road on the north and Belmont Avenue on the south; Cumberland Avenue to the west and Austin Avenue on the east.

The desire to stay in the city is not lost on Mary Gale.

Thirty-four years ago Gale and her husband decided to buy their English Tudor home in Dunning. They raised both of their children there.

“I’m a city girl, ” Gale said. She liked the idea of living in Chicago and in an area that was filled with other young families. “We bought because of the neighborhood.”

Gale likes the access she has to the expressways, which she uses to go somewhere special to shop or to have dinner. In the neighborhood, she and her husband prefer Caponies Trattoria for pizza. Caponies was featured on “Check, Please!” and lauded by food critics for its wood-burning pizza oven. If they just want a burger, Gale says they’ll drive to the Longhorn Steakhouse in nearby Norridge.

The community has special memories for Szabo too. A Realtor for 21 years, he grew up in Dunning.

“My parents still live here,” Szabo says. “I have nothing but fond memories of grammar school and high school. And my first job was here.” He says today there is great opportunity to buy a quality home in Dunning.

For buyers wanting to stay in the city or return from the suburbs, Szabo says Dunning offers an array of conveniences and bargains in solid housing. “There are plenty of housing options and lots of homes on the market. Some have struck deals with receiverships as this neighborhood is not immune to the mix of foreclosures and short sales [that plague] other areas,” he said.

Szabo added that Dunning is primed for a new cycle, meaning the couples that moved in years ago are now empty-nesters. Some stay in their home, downsize to a condo or sell to the new families who are moving in for the very reasons that they did — a desire for a home in an area that provides city life with a suburban feel.

City life also means city concerns. Dunning is located within Chicago Police Precinct 16. Between October 14 and 27, only five incidents of crime were reported for beat 1631 (the heart of Dunning): four thefts and one assault.

According to Szabo, the condominium market is attracting singles and young couples as well as retirees. He has a listing in the Glenlake condominium development for a two-bedroom unit with garage space for $224,900.

Yet it is single-family homes that dominate Dunning. Frame houses, Chicago bungalows and English Tudors line the side streets. In the early 20th century a developer named Schorsch built the graceful English Tudor styles with their stylized roofs along Oak Park Avenue and called the area Schorsch Village. It remains one of the jewels of the community.

Wilbur Wright College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago, is another.

The sprawling, modern campus is the cultural anchor of Dunning. Wright draws 12,000 students to the area, which brings a huge economic impact to the community. Wright is a major employer, a learning center for class credit, adult education and programs for the entire family.

Residents follow the Wright Rams, attend fine arts exhibits and productions at the Stage Wright Theater. Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” runs through Nov. 22 and general admission is only 10 bucks.

Schulman says his company partners with Wright College and other local businesses in community service programs and events that pay tribute to Dunning residents. These activities include hosting one of the city’s farmers markets in the parking lot, which is where the Father’s Day bike ride kicks off each June; 200 rode in 2009. Each October, the Fall Cheesecake Festival draws crowds from all over the city; this year 15,000 showed up for the fun that included two entertainment stages and a classic car show.

Dunning is a community of sidewalks for baby strollers and power walkers. Many head over to Merrimac Park and nearby Portage Park for events at the field houses and to enjoy the greenspace and Chicago Park District programs. Everyone, it seems, makes time to walk, ride or bike in Dunning and to its events. Including those held in the parking lot at Eli’s.

Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune

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Celebration at Wright College to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of the visit of the Imperial Chinese Commissioners to Dunning and Chicago highlighted in the Times/Harlem-Irving Edition

Chuimei Ho, president of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, gives a presentation marking the anniversary of a 1906 visit by Chinese imperial commissioners to the Dunning area.

Celebration marks 1906 landmark visit to DunningBY MATT SCHMITZ
A century ago this month Chicago’s Dunning community hosted a panel of delegates visiting from China in what history would deem the beginning of a sea change in Chinese education and mental-health care, and an enduring partnership with the United States.

Chicago was one of several stops on a multi-continental tour by the quintet of Chinese imperial commissioners in 1906. Dispatched by the Chinese emperor to study how modern industry and social welfare were handled elsewhere in the world, their journey also included the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States.

“One hundred years ago today, at 9 o’clock, a group of Chinese visitors came to the Northwestern train station,” Chuimei Ho, president of the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago, told a packed auditorium Jan. 19 at Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave., during a celebration of the Imperial Chinese commissioners’ three-day stay

The cultural disparities between imperial China and the democratic United States were evident immediately, Ho indicated, as the ambassadors were followed off the train by 750 pieces of luggage. “And I lost count of how many carriages they took” to their hotel, she added as she narrated over a black-and-white slide presentation.

After a reception in Chinatown, the delegates’ quest to find American ideas to benefit their homeland took them to the city’s Northwest Side for a tour of the mental-health buildings of The Dunning Institutions, the now-defunct hospital campus where Wright College now sits. One of the commissioners, whose diary entries later were published in China, took note of how patients were segregated by the type and degree of their condition, with the most severely ill patients restrained in fenced-off areas and tuberculosis patients in one large room in a separate, well-appointed building.

The Dunning visit inspired the commissioners to bolster humane care for the mentally ill in China, having seen how “clean” and “comfortable” the local operation was.

“We are surprised it can be conducted so cheaply, and now we believe we are prepared to go back and establish places for the insane in China,” Tuang Fang, associate commissioner, told a daily Chicago newspaper at the time, describing the Dunning facilities as “wonderful.”

Likewise, the commissioners’ visit to Chicago’s Union Stock Yard elicited praise as an efficiently run operation. That same year, Upton Sinclair published “The Jungle,” which criticized the massive livestock and meatpacking district as a filthy, deplorable place.

During the delegates’ rounds, they relied heavily on China’s earliest foreign-exchange students as tour guides. Yung Wing, the first Chinese native to graduate from an American university in 1847, had urged his nation’s leaders to send as many students as possible to study in the United States to allow them to witness the progressive side of the United States at a time when tensions were high between the two countries.

Ji Yuan, China’s education consul to Chicago, told the crowd at Wright that 180,000 Chinese students have studied in the United States. About 10,000 currently are here, while 3,000 U.S. students are in China, comprising the third-largest foreign-student population in the country.

Before the commissioners left Chicago for Pittsburgh, one of them left behind a token of appreciation for the love of art he shared with Americans. Tuang Fang, himself a collector, visited the soon-to-open site of the Field Museum, donating a Tang Dynasty Stele, circa A.D. 726. Having come from a nation with no public museums, “He loved the idea of having public trust in art objects,” Ho explained. Although the pace of change in China would prove deliberate, the commissioners’ visit to the United States yielded several broad-reaching results on that nation’s way to becoming the People’s Republic of China, Ho said. They included: improved state prisons, libraries, respect for overseas students, advocacy for democracy, suggested changes in bureaucracy and an emphasis on Western-style management.

Wright College President Charles Guengerich said he looked forward to working with present-day Chinese education officials in Chicago as Wright looks at “globalizing” its curriculum.

“The world is getting smaller,” Guengerich said. “And we need to understand the culture of China. We need to partner with the Chinese people and make the world a better place for everyone.”

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Eli’s and Wright College to host a Commemorative Ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the Visit of the Imperial Chinese Commissioners to Chicago and the Dunning Institutions (now the site of the Wright Campus and Eli’s Cheesecake World)

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