Old Town School History

A New Home on Armitage Avenue

In 1968, the School was given an ultimatum: Move. Its quarters on North Avenue were to be demolished to make way for a parking lot [ed. note - now a Dunkin' Donuts]. Win Stracke, writing in an early 1969 edition of an Old Town School newletter tells what happened next.

We had gotten notice from the old building at 333 W. North Avenue that we would have to vacate by August, so time was short. Many years ago I had attended an Italian wedding reception at Aldine Hall, 909 W. Armitage, and whether it was the vino or the beef sandwiches, I recalled the atmosphere as being congenial, and it was for sale at a moderate price....

We have received a substantial amount of aid in the past months from a variety of sources

  1. From a housewrecking concert and auction last summer at the old building we raised approximately $1,500.
  2. The Old Town Triangle Association gave us $1,000.
  3. The Newport Festival ma de us a loan of $3,000 with most liberal provisions.
  4. The Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission, by underwriting our one-day Folk Festival last December, enabled us to raise about $2,000.

Then there have been scores of gifts from friends ranging from $5 to $250.... There are many improvements still to be made, besides a $26,000 mortgage to be liquidated.

On September 16, 1968, as duly noted by Dawn in her desk log, the School reopened. Former Illinois governor Judge Otto Kerner dropped in to visit and made a few impromptu remarks. "Broonzy Hall," the large performance space on the first floor, was inaugurated, and a new era in the School's history was under way.

Next → Ray Tate and the 1970s

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000