The Hyde Park Historical Society to launch crowdfunding campaign to help preserve Cable Car Building

The Hyde Park Historical Society cable car building, 5529 S. Lake Park Ave. – Photo courtesy of the Hyde Park Historical Society

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

In an effort to help preserve the historic Hyde Park Cable Car Building, 5529 S. Lake Park Ave., the Hyde Park Historical Society will go live and launch a crowdfunding campaign page from its Generosity website with the link https://igg.me/at/Gi7QwA-9lec on Wednesday Dec. 6, to help raise funds for phase II of the historical project.

“The society has successfully raised funds from board members, the general membership, and the Hyde Park community,” said Michal Safar, president and archivist of the Hyde Park Historical Society. “Fundraising efforts have resulted in significant progress, but the society is still short of the funds needed.”

The Chicago City Street Railway constructed the Cable Car Building in 1893 or 1894, and it is believed to be the only building surviving in Chicago that was a part of the cable car system.

The Hyde Park cable line ran along 55th Street, and it served for a short time as a terminal rest stop for the trolley system. From 1898 to 1952 Turney Keller and members of his family operated the building as a restaurant. Later, it was known as Steve’s Lunch under the management of Steve Megales, who was a Greek immigrant.

Currently, the Cable Car Building is used by the Hyde Park Historical Society for meeting, programs, and exhibits.

According to Safar, the organization’s goal is to raise nearly $20,000 dollars for the project. She said that the funding for the project would help toward the restoration of doors, windows, and exterior woodwork of the building, which she said has sufficiently deteriorated compromising the interior of the building and increasing utility expenses significantly through heat loss.

Safar said on Oct. 26, 1980, the society raised approximately $45,000 for the restoration of the building project.

She said that the society has preserved and protected the diverse histories of Hyde Park by maintaining an archive, recording oral histories, actively engaging in the preservation of historic buildings, and presenting programs related to Hyde Park’s history.

For more information on how to help the Hyde Park Historical Society crowdfunding campaign to preserve the historic Hyde Park Cable Car Building, contact Michal Safar at: president@hydeparkhistory.org.

j.phillips@hpherald.com