By TONIA HILL
The Hyde Park Historical Society hosted its annual dinner Saturday evening, Feb. 25, at the Quadrangle Club, 1155 E. 57th St., honoring Hyde Park residents and institutions for their work in the community.
Awardees included Nicholas Rudall, founding artistic director of the Court Theater, who received the Paul Cornell Award. Pioneer Cooperatives, Inc. received the Marion & Leon Despres Preservation Award for outstanding stewardship of its historic buildings and Jasmine Kwong and Megan E. Doherty received the President’s Award for “If You Weren’t Looking For it: The Seminary Co-op Bookstore.”
In addition to the founding the Court Theater, Rudall also was designated as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Classics at the University of Chicago (U. of C.). He was born in Wales and studied at Clare College of Cambridge University, received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and joined the faculty at U. of C. in 1966. Since opening in the early ‘80s under the direction or Rudall, the Court Theater has built relationships with professional actors worldwide to perform in plays.
The Paul Cornell Award recognizes individuals and organizations who exemplify the values and the objectives of the Society and contribute to the cultural heritage of Hyde Park.
Kwong and Doherty created a book detailing the history of the Co-op Bookstore, which opened in 1961 and has more than 60,000 members. Their book is filled with photographs of customers and employees as the store transitioned from being housed in the Chicago Theological Seminary to its present location 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
“We wanted to document the space and remember what it looked like and how it made us feel,” Kwong said.
Pioneer Cooperative Inc., 5427-5437 S. Dorchester Ave., was designed by architects George Fred Keck and William Keck both Hyde Park residents. From the 1940s and 1970s, the brothers designed many residential, commercial, and institutional buildings in the neighborhood.
The Co-op was intended to provide low-cost housing in Hyde Park. Currently, it remains a multi-ethnic community run by its members.
The guest speaker for the evening was Ward Miller executive director of Preservation Chicago. Miller gave a presentation highlighting the past and present of residential and commercial properties in Hyde Park. Miller said, As new development arises in Hyde Park more areas in Hyde Park should have landmark designation to preserve its history.