Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Bijou

I wonder why I bought this postcard.

2015-5-24. img025
(Click on images to enlarge)

As the legend tells us, this is "The Bijou" in East Gary, aka Lake Station, photographed in 1909 by A. Haase. Where exactly in East Gary it was, I do not know.

Nor do I know exactly what the Bijou was. A restaurant? — you can see some tables out in the yard there, which would make a nice place to eat in the summer.

The baseball game of June 9, 1918, mentioned in this post, took place "at the Bijou grounds." I made a note of that because it concerned Company K, not because it concerned the Bijou. Now I wish I had paid more attention to the newspapers for any other information about the Bijou.

On the back of the postcard, one person I never heard of writing to another:

2015-5-24. img026

I actually looked these people up in the 1910 Census. They were sisters, Ellen being 26 and Anna 23 in 1910.

So … that's the Bijou.

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[8/10/2015 update] In the "Local Drifts" column of the Hobart Gazette of March 31, 1905, I came across this item:
On Tuesday [March 27], Hugo Zobjeck, administrator of the Kucaba estate, through his attorney, Asa Bullock, entered in a contract with Frank Florian for the purchase of the Bijou resort at Lake Station, the price being $5,300. The resort embraces forty acres. Mr. Florian is a wealthy hay and grain dealer in Chicago and he expects to vastly improve the property the coming season.
So I go to the next available plat map, the 1908 Plat Map, and find F. Florian owning — not forty acres, but a nice little bit of land:

2015-8-10. Florian 1908
(Click on image to enlarge)

Most of this land would be in the southern part of what's now Riverview Park — yes? I can't tell exactly. Maybe just south of the park. Of course the difference between 1905 and 1908, and between forty acres and the smaller parcel shown on the plat map, means we can't be sure this is where the Bijou was. But at least now we know the Bijou was a "resort."

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[9/22/2015 update] I have come across a couple of newspaper tidbits relevant to the Bijou. First, from the "General News Items" of the Hobart Gazette of August 19, 1904: "Hans Thune conducted a dance last evening in the Bijou hall south of Lake Station. The Spencer orchestra furnished the music." A location "south of Lake Station" is not inconsistent with the Riverview Park area.

Secondly, this item in the "Local Drifts" of the Hobart Gazette of October 28, 1904, describes the father of Mary Kucaba Zobjeck as residing at the Bijou:
Frank A. Kucaba who lived at the Bijou near Lake died in a hospital in Chicago, where he had been for treatment, on Saturday, Oct. 22, it being his 54th birthday. Funeral services were held last Tuesday in Chicago, his former home. The deceased leaves a wife, one son and six daughters.
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[12/6/2015 update] This "Notice" placed in the Hobart Gazette of June 6, 1902, is mostly Greek to me, but it does seem to show Frank Kucaba owning land bordering on the land shown in the 1908 map above as belonging to F. Florian, in the southwest quarter of Section 16 … roughly in the area of present-day Riverview Park.

2015-5-24. Kucaba real estate notice
(Click on image to enlarge)

I do not know anything about Andrew Peter Larson.


Rachel said...

There seems also to have been a Bijou Lane and a Bijou Lawn:

Maybe it was a large recreational area with a restaurant in the middle of it?

LLoyd Puchek said...

I am going to have to talk to my wife's great aunt, she grew up in then East Gary, she is age 93. She may know something about this.