Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Street View (Joliet, Illinois) 1929
Street View (Joliet, Illinois) 1929
TitleStreet View (Joliet, Illinois) 1929
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
DescriptionDrawing by Adele Fay Williams of old "Goose Hill, " with homes and picket fences. "Goose Hill" destroyed by cyclone in 1880, a group settled not long after- Donated by Katherine Woodruff Barnes
Title of ArticleAn ancient neighborhood
Date of ArticleAugust 18, 1929
Transcript of the Article"Goose hill" was once the neighborhood title given to the slight elevation on Desplaines street, south of McDonough street when Joliet was in its first youth. It is now known exactly when cheerful goose began to waddle extensively over these gentle green slopes, which alas are no longer nor are they sloping. It is not known whether in the 50's or 60's some ancient, woman established herself there in a pleasant little cabin where she tended her few geese, ducks and chickens, her cat, dog, and goat, and cultivated a thrifty little garden as well, to furnished enough for her meager wants. Nor if, like "Med, the Gypsy, who lived upon the moors, " her food was "swart blackberries, " and on many a chill night she gazed unblinkingly upon the moon.

Old Mother Goose.

Perhaps the people who lived north of McDonough street in better houses perhaps, called her Old Mother Goose. But, probably, she was not "the old wife, lean and poor, " when there strode a stranger to the door who bestowed upon her a goose - with "cackle and with clatter". A marvelous goose it was, that laid golden eggs. But it couldn't have been this ancient crone upon Goose Hill, because her goose eggs were the real thing. It must be remembered that this and Water street was once a charming region, near the curving banks of the Desplaines river, whose waters were then pure and undefiled, and the banks were shaded with graceful trees. So it was natural that numbers of people not blest with too much of this world's goods, should establish themselves here at some distance from the then business center to make a start.

Destroyed by Cyclone.

Ultimately there was arose a scattering little village all by itself, not too far from town, somewhat farther south, down on what was called "The Flats". But a pesky cyclone camp up from the west, sometime in the 80's and laid it low. This was historic wind that pursued its way up Fourth avenue, twisted the stone steeple of the old stone school house that once stood on this spot, and nearly uprooted some half dozen magnificent old oak trees, so that their roots reached high into the skies, It was a parlous storm, still remembered. But you'd never think there had ever been so distructive a thing along South Desplaines street and South Water street, the old Goose Hill, if you looked upon it today. The sketch pictures a perspective view of a portion of Desplaines street between Jasper and Monroe streets. The little tower peak at the right is the northwest corner of Jasper street looking south and Desplaines.

Rows of Dwellings.

For now, what a difference! Here are rows of charming, small dwellings bowered in green, shaded with trees, and such thrifty well kept gardens. Altho they are vegetable gardens, they are extremely decorative, with a few flowers growing tidily between the rows and on the edges. And there are interesting old fashioned picket fences. But the houses and porches are very spruce and comfortable indeed. Everything is just right and well cared for. It is full of dignified Italian citizens who work hard and are bent on making good and holding a respected place in the community. It is remarkable how each house in several blocks in this region reflects this progressive and aspiring spirit. Charles Calcatarra, who lives in his own home with his nice little wife and his two pretty little youngsters, is typical of this fine element of Joliet. A pleasant young fellow of 29, his wife is equally pleasant and good natured, and the children reflect this happiness.

Happiness is Rampant.

In every home in the block were as happy and thrifty and good natured, Goose Hill that was, is certainly a paradise. And truly it gives that appearance. The Calcattara home is on the south east corner of Monroe and South Desplaines street. This interesting Italian invasion of Goose Hill with happy homes, began in the late nineties and seems to have continued uninterruptedly ever since. The history of the region began much earlier, however, almost as soon as the pioneers began to arrive in 1830.

Sold to Faulkner.

It was a few years later, in 1835, according to the exact records of the People's Abstract company that George W. Merrill bought the whole block, lot 95, school section addition to Joliet. Two days later he sold it to Joseph M. Faulkner who was engaged intermittently in selling lots out of this property. But it was not a paying investment it seemed, according to the records, for in 1858 he conveyed the entire property to a referee whose name was Calquhoun Grant, acting as assignee. Mr. Grant retained the holding until 1880 when it was bought by John Edward Bush.

Subdivided in 1885.

At this time he was the owner of an important grain elevator on Washington street, and later owned one of the canal. It was also at this time, 1880, that he was building what was called the River block, 60 by 95 feet, and a little later three two-story buildings on Desplaines street. But these were only a few of his extensive operations for the benefit of Joliet. It was in 1885 that Mr. Bush subdivided the block into 19 lots and then they began to sell in earnest. It was in 1891 that J. W. D'Arcy bought a lot near Jasper street. Peter Doyle acquired the lot next door. Chtrles Henry Herbert bought three lots, number 7, 8, and 9, without tremor, the very same year. And the next year Carl Swanson added himself to the list of enthusiastic buyers, acquiding two lots, 10 and 11. But then there was a pause in these lively operations, until 1924. This was when Joseph Cucchi bought lot 13 which came thru the Bush estate. In 1925 Frank Calcatarra bought lot 14. Herman Columbo was another aspiring Italian who wished to own his home, so he bought lot 12.

Owned by Families.

And almost at the same time Almeda Stanton Rhodes bought the north half of lot 5, and Ellen and Edward Rogers bought the south half of the same. Lot 6 is now in the name of William J. and Alice Rogers. Lot 7 is the property of the heirs of Giovanni Blanco while lot 8 is owned by Herman and Mary Pianca. Lot 9 is in the hands of James and Louisa DelBerto. Observe, how many make a man and wife partnership of the buying? All of these are south of Jasper street. On the northeast corner of Jasper street and Desplaines, which was in the Marshall subdivision in 1899, Angel Bossi bought it of course with Rosa, his wife. But some time prior to 1921, Angel died and in 1922 Rosa became the sole owner. But she didn't keep it long. She sold it to Louisa Del Berto, who is still the owner. The opposite corner, the northwest, is now owned by Charles and Teresa Masse. This shows a peak in the perspective of trees.
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Streets -- Joliet (Ill.) -- History
SourceClick this link to see more historical information on the Joliet area - htpp://www.lewisu.edu
Publisher (Digital)Lewis University
RightsAll rights held by Lewis University. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection at Lewis University at 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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