North Mayfair Community Collection

Dates: 1869-2000
Size: 1 linear foot in 2 boxes (including 31 photographs)
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Sulzer Regional Library, Northside Neighborhood History Collection, 4455 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625  
Collection number: nnhc.00038
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Dale Bolling in 1997 and 2000.
Custodial history: The collection reflects Dale Bolling’s work as an author, editor, and compiler of North Mayfair history.
Conditions governing use: Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Conditions governing access: Materials are open without restrictions.
Preferred citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: North Mayfair Community Collection, [Box #, Folder #], Northside Neighborhood History Collection, Chicago Public Library.
Finding aid author: Original author unknown, 2001. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Allyson Smally, 2021.


North Mayfair is a residential neighborhood near La Bagh Woods within the community area of Albany Park on the north side of Chicago. This collection contains news clippings, letters, and other material that document the history of local families, businesses, parks, organizations and other topics. It also contains historical sketches and reminiscences from former residents.


North Mayfair is a residential neighborhood near La Bagh Woods with a commercial district along parts of its perimeter. It runs from Pulaski (4000 west) to Cicero (4800 west) and from Lawrence (4800 north) to Bryn Mawr (5600 north). North Mayfair lies within Albany Park, one of the 77 official community areas of the City of Chicago, but it has a strong identity of its own.

Native American people were the original residents of the area that is now North Mayfair. Among the first Europeans to arrive were the Harding and Spikings families. William Harding acquired a land grant in the 1830s and Richard Spikings arrived in the 1840s. Like many early (and later) residents, they lived in the area for decades. In the 1870s William Harding Spikings, a builder, constructed a large brick house on the southeast corner of Pulaski and Ainslie that stood until 1941.

The Erickson family, also early landowners, had a farmhouse on Kostner south of Foster that was owned by the family into the 20th century. By the time Jennie Erickson died at the age of 96 in 1954, the area had been annexed into the City of Chicago (1889) and Northwest Side farms had given way to subdivisions. Also, the area, known as Montrose in the 19th century, was now called Mayfair. This name was first used for the community's railroad station on the Chicago & North Western line in the mid-19th century. Mayfair was also the name of the local post office, established June 2, 1882. In the 20th century Mayfair generally refers to the area south of Lawrence Avenue and North Mayfair to the neighborhood north of Lawrence.

The identity of the modern neighborhood was greatly strengthened in 1929 when twenty-three residents organized a community group for North Mayfair, which later became the North Mayfair Improvement Association. One of the first projects the group tackled was convincing state and local authorities to transform Foster Avenue from a rough road to a modern street. After that success, they pushed for bus service on Foster, organized scrap drives in World War II, watched the planning and construction of expressways in the 1950s and 1960s, worked with the North River Commission in the 1970s (and beyond) and opposed development projects at St. Lucas Cemetery in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, they were concerned with issues common to most neighborhoods, such as zoning decisions, new developments, and local parks.

Scope and Contents

North Mayfair Community Collection contains material about a variety of subjects. Formats in the collection include 19th-century newspapers, 20th-century photographs, and research notes by Dale Bolling, author of three books about North Mayfair. Subjects covered range from biographies of early families to histories of community organizations. The largest and most detailed files are the historical sketches, which include reminiscences in which local residents describe their lives in North Mayfair.


The collection is arranged in two series: 

Series 1: Documents, 1869-2000

Series 2: Photographs, circa 1880s-circa 1990s

Related Materials

North Park Village Records

Subject headings

  • Albany Park (Chicago, Ill.)
  • North Mayfair (Chicago, Ill.)
  • North Mayfair Improvement Association (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Community life -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- Sources.

Collection Inventory

Series 1: Documents, 1869-2000

Scope and Contents

This series contains letters, news clippings, research notes, historical sketches, and reminiscences from former residents. Topics covered include histories of local families, businesses, organizations, parks, schools, and streets.


Alphabetically by topic, and then alphabetically within each topic.

Box 1 Folder 1 Biographical – Bolling, Dale, news clippings and programs 1983-1999
Box 1 Folder 2 Biographical – Bolling, Dale, letters 1975-2000
Box 1 Folder 3 Biographical – Caldwell, Billy, news clipping undated
Box 1 Folder 4 Biographical – Cicero, Joe, biographical notes circa 1997
Box 1 Folder 5 Biographical – Erickson family, letters 1869, 1883, 1979, undated
Box 1 Folder 6 Biographical – Gulbrandsen, Harold, news clippings, letters, notes, and obituaries 1986-1997
Box 1 Folder 7 Biographical – Hawkinson, Zenos, newsletters, memorial program, obituary 1997-1998
Box 1 Folder 8 Biographical – Kilbourn, Groves, articles and notes 1981-1982
Box 1 Folder 9 Biographical – Larsen, Einer, news clippings 1947
Box 1 Folder 10 Biographical – MacArthur, John D., news clippings and biography 1971-1987
Box 1 Folder 11 Biographical – Shuman, Ruth, news clippings, letter 1982-1985
Box 1 Folder 12 Biographical – Schwarz, Steve, news clipping 1986
Box 1 Folder 13 Biographical –Snell, Amos, summaries of news clippings from 1888, notes, article 1997-1998
Box 1 Folder 14 Biographical – Spikings family, book excerpt, obituary, reproductions of photographs 1941, 1998, undated
Box 1 Folder 15 Businesses – Investor savings, news clipping and brochure 1957, 1966
Box 1 Folder 16 Businesses – Marie’s Liquors & Pizza, news clipping 1994
Box 1 Folder 17 Businesses – McCutcheon’s Standard Gas Station, clipping 1977
Box 1 Folder 18 Clubs and organizations – Mayfair Civic Association, news clipping, undated undated
Box 1 Folder 19 Clubs and organizations – North Mayfair Improvement Association, flier, typescript, and newsletter 1989-2000
Box 1 Folder 20 Clubs and organizations – North River Commission, reports, news clippings, and newsletters 1988-2000
Box 1 Folder 21 Development projects – Bankers Life Complex, news clippings and flier 1976-circa 1996
Box 1 Folder 22 Development projects – North Park Village, site report, projects summary 1975, undated
Box 1 Folder 23 Development projects – River’s Edge, news clippings 1994-1995
Box 1 Folder 24 Historical sketches – Bolling, Dale, booklets: “A Historical Account of North Mayfair” [two editions] and “North Mayfair, USA” 1976-1998
Box 1 Folder 25 Historical sketches – Bolling, Dale, research cards about Bohemian National Cemetery undated
Box 1 Folder 26 Historical sketches – Bolling, Dale, research cards about Mayfair undated
Box 1 Folder 27 Historical sketches – Bolling, Dale, research notes about Mayfair undated
Box 1 Folder 28 Historical sketches – Mayfair and Jefferson Township, articles and excerpts 1884-2000
Box 1 Folder 29 Historical sketches – Mayfair name origins, letter and excerpts 1908-1997
Box 1 Folder 30

Historical sketches – Reminiscences, last name, A-G

·         Albany Park Community interviews: William Spikings, Sarah Argo, and Corabel Brown

·         Archambault, Stewart and Elaine

·         Behrendt, Almira Hamachek

·         Carlsen, Robert

·         Chobot, Violet

·         Damask, Leo Michael III

·         Gara, Ann Marie Villella

·         Gardner, Mrs. William

·         Griggs, Bob

1986-1998, undated
Box 1 Folder 30

Historical sketches – Reminiscences, last name H-Q

·         Kiecal, Henry

·         Karavidas, George

·         Krupica, Fred

·         Kuhn, Ed

·         Muhr, John Richard

·         Nolan, Mary Lou McAuley

·         Nelson, Carol Walti

1973-1998, undated
Box 2 Folder 1

Historical sketches – Reminiscences, last name R-Z

·         Ries, Alma

·         Rosborough, Joan

·         Schwarz, Eleanor

·         Shouba, Jim

·         Seyferlich, Clara B.

·         Smith, Charles Simpson

·         Tichy, Joe

·         Tracy, Ruth Kannberg

Box 2 Folder 2 Maps – North Mayfair, including Krenk farm and Gompers Park undated
Box 2 Folder 3 Municipal agencies – Mayfair Branch Library, news clipping, letter, and flier 1996
Box 2 Folder 4 Newspapers – The Jeffersonian [copies] 1896 June 6, 1908 June 27, undated
Box 2 Folder 5 Newspapers – Mayfair News 1926 November 5; 1928 November 8
Box 2 Folder 6 Newspapers – Mayfair News-Letter 1918 January 26
Box 2 Folder 7 Parks – Caldwell Woods, excerpt from publication undated
Box 2 Folder 8 Parks – Gompers Park, newsletter, news clippings 1947, 1976, undated
Box 2 Folder 9 Religious Institutions – Mayfair Presbyterian Church, news clipping, 75th anniversary booklet 1938, 1997
Box 2 Folder 10 Schools – North River Preparatory Charter School, brochure undated
Box 2 Folder 11 Schools – Palmer School, news clippings and letter 1957-1999, undated
Box 2 Folder 12 Schools – Von Steuben High School, 50th anniversary booklet 1986
Box 2 Folder 13 Streets and Highways  – Crosstown Expressway, letter 1974
Box 2 Folder 14 Streets and Highways – Edens Expressway, news clipping 1952
Box 2 Folder 15 Streets and Highways – Street Names between Pulaski and Cicero, news clipping undated
Box 2 Folder 16 Transportation  –  Mayfair Station, Milwaukee Road, articles 1976

Series 2: Photographs, circa 1880s-circa 1990s

Scope and Contents

This series contains 31 photographs. The first two folders contain color snapshots, the first of the Bankers Life and Casualty Co. building being torn down and the second of the Chicago River flooding. The third folder contains miscellaneous images of Mayfair residents, including an early baseball team, a 1990s Fourth of July parade, and Joe Cicero, the director of the North River Commission.



Box 2 Folder 17 Bankers Life and Casualty Co., building and building being torn down [12 photographs] circa 1990s
Box 2 Folder 18 Chicago River flooding, including in Bohemian National Cemetery [12 photographs] 1994
Box 2 Folder 19 Mayfair residents [7 photographs] Circa 1880s-1990s
Print this page