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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shambhala Saga - Mr. Holsman

When I heard about the plans for the Shambhala Meditation Center to become an unappealing parking structure that, in my opinion, would destroy the ambiance of this section of Rogers Park, I took the information to Autumn, who looked over the information that she could find to try and turn 7331 North Sheridan Road into a historical landmark. According to the information she found, which was limited, it didn't seem like it was possible. 

We took this information to the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce board, and there, things came into focus. Autumn Davids, the Secretary of the Chamber, put together a letter that was sent to Rogers Park Solutions, with attention to Colonel JN Pritzker.

The Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce proposed that 7331 N. Sheridan Road, instead of being razed and replaced, be converted into a business incubation program so that home based businesses and entrepreneurs could learn their way around the regular running of a business and it's associated fees before moving in to their own storefront.

After the submission of the letter, the Chamber then decided to take this idea to SEED Chicago, and gave them their goal of creating a business incubation program as well, trying to get funding behind the project.

When Mary Parthe contacted the Chamber, their was a bit of phone tag before any conversation occurred  Mary Parthe then suggested that one of their other locations would better benefit this end and then suggested the Chamber work with the Rogers Park Business Alliance

On Apri 23rd, both Autumn and myself, as representatives for the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, attended the Rogers Park Builders Group where Mary Parthe was speaking. Their, we waited while they went through the details of the parking structure, which should be made available on the Rogers Park Builders Group's website, until questions were asked for. 

Then, I stood up and mentioned the currently available and unused parking lots that were available, and some of the businesses that rent out spaces. I announced that the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce is against this structure before sitting and listening to the other inquiries. 

Since, at this point, there doesn't seem to be much that can be done, I would like to share over the next several days Susan Olin's well thought out article in excerpts. 

Excerpt from "7331 N. Sheridan Road" Mansion (the "Shambhala Meditation Center") by Susan Olin.

source: Stop the Lakefront Car Tower (Saturday, April 13th, 2013 blog post)

"From 1918 through 1936, various Tribune articles refer to the mansion’s primary residents, the Holsman family. According to his 1934 obituary, Mr. Hyman Holsman was a local philanthropist and a jeweler by trade. Initially, Mr. Holsman owned a downtown jewelry store located at 179 W. Madison. Eventually, he owned a store at 5 S. Wabash, otherwise known as the “Jewelers Center” at the Mallers Building. This is one the most famous addresses on the historic “Jewelers Row” in the Loop. “Jeweler’s Row” is a group of buildings which contained many silver and jewelry businesses starting in the early twentieth century. These buildings are now a Chicago Landmark District since 2003.

Mr. Holsman resided in the home with his second wife, Nell, and their three daughters, Hortense, Jeanne and Elizabeth. His first wife passed away in 1911. He had an adult son, George, from this first marriage who did not live there.

Also according to his obituary, Mr. Holsman’s philanthropy included active participation in several important Chicago institutions. He was an early vice-president of the Edgewater Hospital at 5700 N. Ashland founded in 1929. This hospital, now closed, was one of the primary hospitals in the area for many decades. (Hillary Clinton was born there in 1947!)

Mr. Holsman was a founder and treasurer of Temple Mizpah, a synagogue at 1615 W. Morse, which is now the “Mision Cristiana Elim” Church on the southwest corner of Morse and Ashland. Temple Mizpah was one of the early, liberal, “Reform” Jewish congregations in the city. (The other major Rogers Park congregation founded at that time was the “Conservative” synagogue of B’nai Zion at 1447 W. Pratt now the private “Lakeshore Preschool”.)"

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