July Walking Tours in Evanston Il

Now these are activities you will never forget.

Thanks to the Evanston History Center which I am a member of

The Evanston History Center offers docent-led walking tours, showcasing the work of Evanston’s noted architects including Daniel Burnham, William Holabird, Myron Hunt, Dwight Perkins, and Thomas Tallmadge. The tours provide fascinating insights into the history and development of Evanston.

Tours begin at 11:00am and end at 12:30pm. All tours begin at the Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood Street, Evanston. Admission is $20, $15 for EHC members

Architectural Evanston- Saturday, July 7 @ 11:00am

Walk through the original town of Evanston, with a view to the architectural styles of different eras and how they reflect the growth and change of the city.

Evanston Women’s History – Saturday, July 21 @11:00am

Explore the revolutionary history of Evanston’s women by viewing the houses and buildings where they worked to transform our cultural landscape.

To see the 2012 Walking Tour schedule click:


Special Walking Tour at the Frances Willard House Museum!

Join Kris Hartzell, the EHC’s walking tour guide, on Sunday, July 1 from 11:30am-1pm for the tour, “Frances Willard and Evanston’s Revolutionary Women: A Walking Tour of Their Extraordinary Legacy.”

Discover why Evanston was home to so many vanguards of the women’s rights movement. The tour traces Frances Willard’s path to worldwide leadership through the town she loved. Along the way you will pass the homes of the many other women who changed the course of history and created the world we take for granted today.

After the walking tour, the Frances Willard House Museum (Willard’s home beginning in 1865) will be open for tours at no extra cost. The award-winning exhibit, “Lifting as We Climb,” part of the Evanston Women’s History Project, will be available for viewing.

Walking tour departs at 11:30am at the Frances Willard House Museum, 1730 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL $10/Frances Willard Hisotircal Association Members FREE.

Click HERE to purchase your tickets today! Cash & checks only on day of tour.

Do B and Bs threaten Evanston neighborhoods?

Thanks to Bill Smith of Evanston Now


Evanston aldermen Monday failed to reach agreement on whether bed and breakfast establishments are a threat to residential neighborhoods.

The debate centered around how far B&Bs should be separated from each other — with Aldermen Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, and Melissa Wynne, 3rd ward, arguing for a separation of at least 750 feet.

But Aldermen Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, and Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, argued for a distance requirement of 500 feet or less.

“We’re acting as if B&Bs are going to be brothel-like, or party houses,” Rainey said, adding “B&Bs attract a certain kind of person — not revelers. We need to step back and think about what we’re saying here.”

But Wynne argued that when people buy a home in a single-family residential neighborhood they have certain expectations about what sort of uses will be allowed around them.

“When you permit a B&B, that alters the expectations,” Wynne said, “I don’t know why we are bending over backwards to permit as many of these as possible.”

Burrus said she’s seen no research that B&Bs deteriorate the quality of a neighborhood or bring down property values or lead to an increase in crime.

She suggested that, given all the other restrictions the ordinance would impose on  the operators, there isn’t a need for any distance limits.

Fiske argued that a commercial operation like a B&B would have “a direct impact on property values, but more impact on the feeling of a residential neighborhood as neighbors living together.”

Two other aldermen, Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, and Jane Grover, 7th Ward, expressed some reservations about the 750-foot separation rule.

Tendam said he agreed that avoiding clustering would be a good idea, but thought some other measurement technique might be better.

And Grover said she was more comfortable with a 500-foot, rather than a 750-foot limit.

The bed and breakfast issue has been on the council’s plate since last year when neighbors objected to a proposed B&B at 300 Church St. on the lakefront.

That proposal ultimately was approved by the council, but it led to demands by neighbors of the property for revisions to the ordinance to prevent similar establishments from opening nearby.

The aldermen postponed a decision on the ordinance revisions until their July 9 meeting.

Top: The property at 300 Church St. approved for use as a B&B.

Starlight Concerts Begin June 14

Chicago’s own Waco Brothers will open the City of Evanston’s 2012 Starlight Concert serieswith a free performance on Thursday, June 14, at James Park, 300 Dodge Avenue in Evanston. Presented by the City of Evanston, the series features 16 free outdoor concerts at six park locations throughout Evanston.

Founded by Jon Langford of the Mekons, the Waco Brothers’ train-wreck approach to country has been described as Johnny Cash meets the Clash. Other performers on the Starlight Concert series include garage rock legends ? and the Mysterians, down and dirty R & B singer Andre Williams, the raw county blues of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, and Django Reinhardt disciple Alfonso Ponticelli.

All performances are free to the public, and will take place from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, rain site information will be available after 4:30 p.m. on the show date by calling 847/448-8258, 847/448-8260 or 847/44-4311. More at www.cityofevanston.org/starlight.

Waco Brothers: Chicago alt country favorites: Johnny Cash meets the Clash, June 14, James Park

Juneteenth Day Celebration: Four urban contemporary groups: T-Dot, Da G-Twinz, Slique and T.L. Williams, June 19, Harbert Park

JT and the Clouds: Roots rock with a touch of Memphis soul, June 21, James Park

Expo ’76: Covers of dusties & one-hit wonders, June 26, Bent Park

Western Elstons: Western swing & honky-tonk, June 28, James Park

The O’My’s with The Loneliest Funk: Soul, hip-hop and blues, July 10, Twiggs Park

? and the Mysterians: Garage rock legends, July 12, James Park

Paul Green School of Rock: Kids cover classic rock, July 17, Harbert Park

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: country blues, July 19, James Park

Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan: Gypsy jazz, July 24, Dawes Park

Andrew Williams & the Goldstars: Down & dirty R&B, July 26, Brummel Park

Ken Arlen’s Indigo: Contemporary dance hits, July 31, Dawes Park

Taj Weekes & Adowa: Reggae from St. Lucia, August 7, Dawes Park

South Boulevard with Impressions of MJ: Blues rock, August 9, Twiggs Park

Musikanto: Experimental folk troubadour, August 14, Dawes Park

Archie Powell & the Exports: Power pop, August 21, Dawes Park

Meet Baby Falcons Marigold and Gribley, the Library’s Newest Arrivals

Thanks to Jennifer Fisher Evanston Patch

A pair of falcons has nested on top of the Evanston Public Library every year for the past nine years. On Thursday, scientists banded this spring’s babies, a boy and a girl, and the library announced their names to the public.

If these chicks had a manager, they would be charging for appearances.

Already stars of their own live-streaming “falcon cam,” the pair of baby peregrine falcons who recently hatched on top of the Evanston Public Library drew a crowd of kids and bird lovers Thursday, when they were introduced to the world and banded for identification.

As local photographers jockeyed for the perfect shot, Field Museum scientist Mary Hennen and Shedd Aquarium scientist Matt Gies passed a ladder out the library’s third floor window for the short hike up to the rooftop ledge where the falcons make their home. Wearing bicycle helmets in case the parents attacked, they picked up the baby falcons, put them in a cardboard box and brought them back inside the library for banding and a blood draw.

“Things like radio-tagging don’t really work in a city,” explained Hennen, who is director of the Chicago Peregrine Program, an effort to track the birds around the Chicago area. While radio signals are too tough to follow in a city full of cell phones, a simple band around the ankle—like the ones the library’s falcons received Thursday—lets scientists map the birds’ migration around the area.

In Evanston, peregrine falcons have nested atop library for the past nine years. And for the last seven years, the same pair, named Nona and Squawker, have returned to raise their young. Each year, the library names the babies based on a poll of patrons. The winning names this year were Gribley, after a character with a pet falcon in the young adult book My Side of the Mountain, and Marigold, a name turned in by a six-year-old girl “just because she liked it,” according to library spokesperson Marianthi Thanapoulos.

Nona and Squawker laid four eggs this year, but the other two did not hatch. Climbing back into the library window from the roof, Hennen explained that other two could have rotted or been eaten, although there’s no way to know for sure.

Surrounded by a mass of kids, Hennen and the other scientists pulled the baby falcons out of the box one at a time. They placed a towel over their heads to calm them, then placed band around one leg and drew a vial of blood. The blood, Hennen explained, is taken so that the Chicago Peregrine Program can study their genetics.

It was just one of many falcon bandings for Hennen. Earlier that morning, she had gone to tag four baby falcons on a 43-story apartment building in the South Loop. In total, she monitors 20 pairs around the region.

“If it’s in the state of Illinois, it belongs to me,” Hennen says.

The numbers haven’t always been this high. Between 1951 and 1988, Illinois’ peregrine falcon population was completely wiped out, according to the Peregrine Program. But the numbers have slowly started to grow back—in part because of a 1967 ban on DDT, a pesticide that made the birds’ eggshells so thin that parents unintentionally crushed their young when they tried to nest.

In the wild, falcons tend to make their home on cliffs, so it’s only natural that several pairs are regularly spotted among the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. Notable falcon nest sites this year include Oak Street Beach, Millenium Park, the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Paul Gottschalk, administrative services manager for the library, has been watching Evanston’s falcons for the past nine years. The first year, he recalls, the mother falcon broke her wrist while the babies were still in the nest. It was tough for the father to feed them, so the Field Museum supplied the library with a box of frozen quail, which staff would thaw bit by bit in the microwave and throw out the window to the babies.

The falcons are a regular site around town as they hunt for birds to feed their young. As the fastest living animal, they can speed through the air at up to 200 miles per hour before dive-bombing a pigeon in mid-flight.

“They hit them and it’s like a puff of pigeon feathers,” Gottschalk says. “I’ve seen pigeon wings in trees.”

According to Gottschalk, the most dangerous day of a peregrine falcon’s life is the day it first tries to fly, something that typically happens in mid June. The babies begin by stretching their wings, then practice jumping up to the ledge around their nest. When they’re ready to go, “they just walk out on the ledge and start flapping,” he says.

Once, a baby falcon flew into the Carlson Building, but survived. Another time, a baby landed in the middle of Church Street. Police came to stop traffic, and the falcon walked under the police car.

“The police officer didn’t know what to do,” Gottschalk laughs.

Although most falcons do not live to be one year old, a healthy falcon who survives lives 13 years, on average. At 9 and 8 years old, respectively, Nona and Squawker are getting older.

“They’re getting toward the end of their lifespan,” Gottschalk says. “So we don’t know if this is ever going to happen again.” 



Home Prices Show Strongest Gain in 6 Years: NAR

Existing-home sales rose to 4.62 million (seasonally adjusted annualized rate) in April from a downwardly revised March rate of 4.47 million, the National Association of Realtors(NAR) reported Tuesday. Economists had forecast the April sales pace would be 4.66 million.

The median price of an existing home climbed 10.1 percent to $177,400 from $161,100 in April 2011, the strongest year-to-year gain since January 2006. The median price in April reached its highest level since July 2010 when it was $182,100.

The inventory of homes for sale in April rose to 2.54 million, the highest level since last November, bringing the months’ supply of homes on the market to 6.6.

The 10.0 percent yearly gain in the sales rate was the strongest since October when sales were up 14.0 percent year-over-year.

Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 28 percent of April sales (17 percent were foreclosures and 11 percent were short sales), down from 29 percent in March and 37 percent in April 2011, the NAR said.  Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 21 percent below market value in April (compared with an average discount of 19 percent in March), while short sales were discounted 14 percent in April compared with 16 percent in March.

The months’ supply of existing homes for sale remains well below the July 2010 cyclical peak of 12.4 which had been the highest level since 1982. Inventories as tracked by the NAR are 20.3 percent below their year ago level. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there is still a large “shadow” inventory of homes available for sale, especially bank-o

The median price of an existing home rose month-to-month and year-to-year in all four regions. At $256,600, the median price of an existing home reached its highest level since August 2010. The median price of an existing home in the South rose to $153,400, the highest level since July 2010 and the median price of an existing home in the West rose to $221,700, also the highest since July 2010.

The year-to-year price gain in the West, 15.9 percent, was the strongest since November 2005. The year-to-year price increase in the Northeast was the first since last June.