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Efforts afoot to tear down Leona's on Augusta -- former historic Ukrainian dairy
Pure Farm Products promoted itself as "Chicago's only Ukrainian Dairy" in advertisements in the early 1920s at 1944 and 1942 W. Augusta Blvd. The home for Leona's Restaurant since 1985, the new owners have requested permission to demolish the site, 1944-1936 W. Augusta, in the East Village Landmark District. This site is to be addressed by the Chicago Landmarks Commission on Thursday.
Ironically, the site is in a Chicago Landmark District but was for reasons unclear determined "non-contributing" when the District was created in January 2006.
"This is the second time in eight years that this beloved building has been threatened," explains East Village architect Scott Rappe who is on the East Village Association's (EVA) Planning, Preservation & Development Committee.
"In 2007, EVA worked closely with Alderman Flores to down zone the property to prevent its replacement by a condominium development. While that effort successfully postponed the loss of this unique structure, it did not address the underlying problem: the mistaken classification of the building as ‘non-contributing’ to the East Village Landmark District."
According to Rappe, the East Village Landmark District boundaries were thoughtfully and carefully pared down to include only the most important buildings in the core of the neighborhood. "It is difficult to understand why the district was extended across an alley to include the Leona’s building, only to then designate it as non-contributing."
Rappe says that declaring 1944-36 W. Augusta as non-contributing is inconsistent with the condition, quality and local historic significance of the building. Thus he and others in support of the East Village Landmark District believe that the Landmark's Commission should change the non-contributing designation.
On Thurs., Nov. 5, the Landmark's Commission meeting will convene at 12:45 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, this property will be discussed.
Landmark's staff is going to testify that this building is non contributing. They say that they cannot substantiate that any particular portion of the building falls within the 1883-1920’s period of significance, though there is evidence that a dairy operated on that site. Clearly the original residential building on 1938 W. Augusta does fall into that time frame.
Representation of community at these meetings is encouraged and can influence the commission's actions.
While 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins has decided to deny a demolition order, community support at the meeting to change the "non-contributing" status is important, said Rappe.
Threads of history
It appears that this may be the only example of the local dairy left in the City of Chicago. People would surround at least three-sides of a two flat then put a roof over the enclosure and it would become the local dairy.
The 1914 Sanborn Insurance map shows that there were shed like structures on 1944 and the back of 1938 and 1936 W. Augusta.
Unfortunately, the Sanborn map was not updated until 1950. At that point it clearly shows that there were doors to 1944, 1942 and 1938 on the Augusta elevation. In addition it shows where the pasteurizing was done, wagons were and that offices were on two levels of the original building.
Today, 1944 and 1942 look as pictured below:
An article in the Chicago Tribuneon Dec. 31, 1922 states that Pure Milk Products at 1942 W. Augusta were to be re-pasteurized.
In the 1923 Polk's Directorylisting 1944 -1936 Augusta. Farm Products Corp with Theo Ciszman as Pres; Jno Dydak as Sec/Treas; and Simon Wojton as VP.
Polk's 1928-29 Directory Pure Farm Products was listed as 1936 to 1944 W. Augusta
John Duzensky (possibly Duzansky) at some point became the owner and headed the dairy possibly into the 1950s.
From the Newberry Library is the translation of an ad:
Sichovi Visty -- January 25, 1924
[Adv.] Pure Farm Products Company
The only Ukrainian dairy in Chicago, 1942-44 West Augusta Street. Tel. Brunswick 1410.
You will always get fresh and wholesome milk, sweet and sour cream, cheese, and butter from us.
The Ukrainian National Museum has other copies of Ukrainian newspapers that also have ads from the dairy on Augusta in the 1920s.
If anyone has photos of this building from the 1920's please send to Our Urban Times. We have aided in research from coast to coast in a short period of time but have been unable to locate photos.
Resources have included:
Chicago Landmarks; Chicago History Museum; Newberry Library; Ukrainian National Museum; USDA; Dairy Library in Albany, New York; National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD; and other online statistics data. Community members who have been in the hunt are George Matwyshyn; Paul Dickman; Tony Kit; Natalie Czuba at St. Nicholas; Jerry Hankewych and Jerry Nestor.