With tongue in cheek, a bit of Hyde Park “history”

To the Editor:

The following letter may be of interest to your readers, particularly those who take an interest in the historical character of the neighborhood. I found it working on our house, after tearing out a particularly hideous piece of cabinetry from the 1960s. It is a letter to the editor of your very newspaper, from 1927. Whether it is a copy of a letter sent, or it never made it to the offices of the Herald, it seems appropriate to send to you for publication, though of course it is only a historical curiosity today.

I do hope your readers will be as delighted at the quaintness of Mr. Longfellow’s opinions as I was.

April 1, 1927
To the Editor:
I take up my pen to remind your readership of the grave error they are committing in welcoming the construction of the so-called “Hyde Park Bank Building” on our beloved 53rd Street. The current occupants of the lot at 53rd and Harper, Christopher McDonnell’s odious “restaurant” and Pierre Meauville’s feedlot, have been exemplary community members (discounting the murder at Mr. McDonnell’s establishment some years ago, resulting in the tearing down of his building). I shall use the names of these good gentlemen for convenience, and refer to the parcel as the McMeauville lot.

The building proposed for the McMeauville lot, need I remind you, is an architectural abomination, with its face of vertical stone slots in the current “Neo-Classical” style, it looks like nothing more than a radiator or prison cell. And I scarcely need mention that the proposed building would be the tallest building in Chicago outside the Loop. Why, it will completely blot out the sunrise from my home on Dorchester Avenue!

I must also protest the removal of Meauville’s stablery; where shall the customers of the many promised new establishments of business stable their horses and have their carriages cleaned whilst patronizing the Bank? Surely it is laughable to suppose that the sorts of people we wish to welcome into our community will use the IC.

Yours in good faith,
Ebenezer Longfellow

Timothy McGovern

Editor’s note: Although we were unable to find reference to Mr. Ebenezer Longfellow in our archives of 1927, we did find two references that year to the esteemed poet of the same surname, who reminds us to “Look not mournfully into the past, it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present, it is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear and with a manly heart.”