Our Own Vt Tour Guide: Pedersdottir (Katja)
What a delight to have a personal tour guide while discovering more about Evanston and Northwestern University.
Katja lives in Evanston and was gracious enough to offer her services for a tour after our VT Lunch/Meeting.
The photo shows Katja explaining Evanston's new construction. RMDW (Robert) is visiting Chicago from Canada and is listening attentively to the information.
We learned about the new restaurants that have opened in and around the Metra. She gave us the background information as to how this renovation and new construction had come about. I always find it more enjoyable to learn about a new area from someone I know and trust. It is also fun when you are with intelligent, friendly, fun people such as the VT members Erik, Ron, Kristi, Robert, Lisa, and Katja.
Not only did we enjoy this private tour, but Katja also gave us maps and brochures to take with us.
All-in-all, I learned a gread deal, enjoyed the company, and relished the beautiful Fall weather.
Mather Place at The Georgian in Evanston, Illinois
On our tour of Evanston, we walked passedMather Place at The Georgian, an imposing structure. We asked our tour guide, Katja, about it.
She explained that it is a residence for older adults who do not want the responsbilities of home ownership. It's a great location because it is just steps from fine dining, shopping, and cultural opportunities in downtown Evanston. It is also close to Northwestern University and Lake Michigan.
The facility offers "remodeled apartments with full kitchens, a shuttle bus and town car transportation, housekeeping services, dining in the Crystal Dining Room, an outdoor garden, a medical clinic on the premises, and valet parking or nearby garage parking."
This building is a former Grand Hotel, but, as Katja explained, it cannot accommodate enough up-to-date facilities and structures for handicapped or invalids. It has been renovated several times, and there is not anything more structurally that can be done safely.
Some people wish to tear down the structure; others are trying to make it into a Landmark structure. Time will tell. Since I am very fond of architecture, I found it interesting to hear about the Mather Place at the Georgian and all the complications in older structures.
On the one hand, it would be a shame to tear down such a place, but safety is important when dealing with the elderly.
Famous Evanston Streets
Most of the streets in Evanston were either named for founders of Northwestern University, Methodist Leaders (NW was founded by Methodists), or prominent citizens.
Chicago Avenue is the second oldest street in Evanston. It got its name for the very reason it was created in the 1850s: as the first straight and direct route to the city of Chicago. The road was sandy and its condition so bad that a corporation was formed in 1859 to grade it, and it was then called the gravel road. Proposals were made in the 1930s to change the street's name, but none was accepted.
Dempster Street was named for Dr. John Dempster, a prominent 19th century Methodist who founded Northwestern's Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (originally called Garrett Biblical Institute).
Sherman Avenue, which runs through the Chicago/Dempster neighborhood, was named in honor of Alson Smith Sherman, a member of the first board of trustees of Evanston's Northwestern University. He was also the mayor of Chicago in 1844 but he never lived in Evanston.
Davis Street was names for Dr. Nathan S. Davis, founder of Northwestern’s Medical School and one of the founders of the American Medical Association, and of the Chicago Academy of Sciences.
Orrington Avenue was named for Orrington Lunt, leader of the expedition of Chicago Methodists to find a location for North-western University. He was one of the founders of Northwestern and a leading benefactor. A rich grain merchant, he moved to Evanston after the 1871 Chicago fire, and was a charter member and supporter of Garrett Biblical Institute.
Ridge Avenue is the oldest street in Evanston. As high terrain left by the prehistoric retreat of Lake Michigan, the road was established as a military route in 1832. It was also the route of a stage coach line in 1836, which continued until the railroad came in 1855.
Green Bay Road is the old Green Bay Trail, the early road from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Fort Dearborn, Illinois.
Celebrations "Under the Silver Moon"
Visitors to the Evanston area over Christmas break should not miss this. FIRST NIGHT is the local family friendly New Year's Eve arts festival centered in downtown - it's billed as the largest in Illinois.
Interior venues like the library auditorium, a hotel ballroom, the Rotary Atrium and church halls are filled with arts & crafts, as well as performances as diverse as bluegrass & comedy, jazz & theatrics, ballroom dancing and circus acts. Ice sculptures line a bank plaza next to the huge outdoor Christmas tree. Hot cocoa, cider and other treats keep revelers fueled for the Midnight Countdown at Fountain Square.
The admission 'button' is less than $10.00 per person. A map with complete schedule of events and their locations, as well as the buttons, are available at area retailers beginning in early December. Additional information is available at the website:
Northwestern football has a long history of losing, but they still play an exciting brand of football in the Big 10. Occasionally, they will pull off a big upset at home, and in recent years they have been contending for a spot in a bowl game. Northwestern's mascot is the Wildcat.
Games are played at Ryan Field. It is a small but very nice venue to watch football. The stadium rarely sells out, so tickets are widely available on gameday. Tickets range from $15 (south endzone) and $40 (sideline). Even without a full stadium, the fans are loyal and into every game. Wear purple and black - the official colors of Northwestern.