Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Stone Building (2)
Stone Building (2)
TitleStone Building (2)
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingJuly 25, 1926
DescriptionDrawing of a stone building of the Steel Works Club. The building was built in 1889 for employees of different steel and railroad workers in Illinois to utilize. This drawing is a part of the Robert E. Sterling Collection.
Title of ArticleRecreation for all provided at Steel club : despite nearly 40 years of existence, building is sturdy and handsome.
Date of ArticleJuly 25, 1926
Transcript of the ArticleFrom Joliet Herald-News Sunday July 25, 1926 "Who suggested the building of the Steel Works club? Whose was the genius and sympathy and constructive vision that brought into being a worthy community enterprise at a time long before the community had enlisted the impersonal interest of the community itself? History is not exactly silent on the subject but while the honor is laid at the door of several individuals, each one gives credit to a woman for her enthusiasm, energy and brilliant accomplishments in the matter. Mrs. Horrace S. Smith was the women, wife of H. S. Smith, who came to Joliet about 1875, where he was called to restore the somewhat fallen fortunes of the Joliet Iron and Setel company, as its manager. Everyone of the elder generations today remembers Mrs. Smith for her remarkable combination of abilities and qualities. Not alone beauty but intellect, personality, artistic temperament, charm and great executive powers combined to form a character that could not help but leave its mark for good on the community. Built in 1889. The Steel Works club was first called The Atheneum and was built in 1889 by the steel company, and there were many influences seeking thry the conditions of the time to bring about, this worth while institution. Built of Joliet stone at the intersection of Collins and Irving streets, every rough stone proved a monument to the wisdom of its founders. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Smith other names that have been mentioned in this connection are, John L. Wilson, Charles Pettigrew and William R. Sterling. Yet tho it is an honor, no one claimed for their own. However it was known that the late John Crerar, of Chicago, once said at a meeting of the directors of the then flourishing steel works company, made this suggestive remark: ‘We've been doing well for ourselves, but what have we done for our men?' This was the seed, perhaps, from which grew the plant with so many useful ramifications. The club building cost $53, 000, and trustees by the company leased the property to the Steel Works club for the extraordinary sum of $1. A board of directors with 15 members was chosen. Crane First Superintendent. W. Crane was the first superintendent and held the position with his aids for many harmonious years without a change. David Ogg was librarian and F. C. Brookner was physical director. Mr. Crane first introduced the kindergarten into Joliet, with Misses Benedict and Lumley in charge. When the gymnasium was something to be proud of and was the only thing of the sort in town. But with the growth of the sports ideas, the growth of Joliet and the increase in club membership, the once spectacular gymnasium is no longer adequate to the demands made upon it. Early directors of the club, in 1890, following the consolation of the steel mills of the country into one great corporation were: John Pettigrew, president; S. J. Drey, secretary; George Washer, treasurer and J. K. McNell, William Doubleday, Robert Kerr, Thomas Aurelius, Charles Tengden, T. M. Thomas, Sam Davis, Thomas Fewtrill, Frank Harvey, John Ferguson, John Morrison, George Sword. The objects of the club were defined to be promoting of healthy recreation and to afford opportunity for physical, intellectual and scientific moral culture. It provides free of charge, the services of the superintendent and librarian, light heat and payment of taxes, to keep the building and equipment in good repair. Fee Is Small. The membership fee for these and many other privileges of the club is still $2 a year for workers in the Illinois Steel company, the E. J. and E., the American Steel and Wire company. There are now 3, 445 working members besides the women and children of the families who use the club at stated times by whom the membership is lifted to 8, 961. Since last April a membership drive brought in more than a thousand new members. Funds for various social and philanthropic work are supplied by membership dues and the recipients from the annual minstrel show in which is utilized the talent of many employes. Moving picture shows, vaudeville and the ‘department' shoes are free to members. In the department, such as the rod mull, the coke oven, the billet mill, the E. J. and E. and others. A spacious billiard and pool room with eight tables is in the south wing of the building. A large hall on the entire top floor will accommodate 950 at entertainments. The swimming pool in the basement allows sometimes 75 swimmers at a time. The shower baths are patronized by 400 or 500 on warm Saturdays. Classes in bowling, boxing, swimming, wrestling, baseball, basketball, in fact everything in sports, are furnished. Day for Women. Tuesday, all day, is woman's day who have nearly the same privileges in classes and sports. A pleasant reception room has comfortable chairs, a dignified mantel with a lovely landscape print in delicate colors as an over mantel treatment. There is her a life size portrait of Lincoln painted by Ulrich Farshy in 1886, and a set of historical steel engravings on the walls. An excellent plaster relief of a Roman holiday forms a frieze on two sides of the reception room. A reference room occupies the place of the former library and the offices are just back of the reception room. Girl scouts meet here and child welfare occupies the basement Tuesday afternoons. Arthur E. Kelly, who has been superintendent since last September was assistant superintendent to A. H. Shenk for 18 months before the resignation of the latter. He is the son of John D. Kelly and came to Joliet with his parents in 1915 from Streator where he was born. He was formerly with the E. J. and E., but came to the Illinois Steel company in 1924 as assistant to Mr. Shenk. He has shown a special aptitude and enthusiasm for the club work, altho, being modest, he refuses to speak about himself. He gives credit for the remarkable growth of the club for several years to his cooperating officers and his predecessors, Martin P. Gleason is the physical director and coach, and H. L. Mohr is assistant superintendent. All are Young, all are enthusiastic and full of energy. Moreover, they seem to possess a wise judgment and vision in planning for the future. They are untiring and even aggressively on the job. Camp Wins Praise. The Christmas party, which lasts all day and sometimes more, in the entertainment and giving of hoy to 1, 700 children, is one of the spectacular activities of the winter. But for summer philanthropy the Steel Works club camp bulks large among worthwhile enterprises. In a beautiful grove on 17 acres of the Oberlin farm in Troy, the Steel Works company has built a charming camp club house with a wide 12 foot porch on four sides. This is the camp's first year and for the months of July and August, all the children of the fresh air rooms of the city schools have been are being cared for. Twenty-two girls are receiving these privileges in July, while 22 boys will take their places next month. Miss Myrtle Chalstrom is in charge of the camp with Miss Edna Wurtz as cook, and Miss Evelyn Bannon, supervisor of play. The important as well as the interesting detail of camp life is the attention given to diet, to increase the weight and health of the fresh air children. Each one is striving to gain weight, to reach her normal quota of pounds. One tall girl, who is improving was 38 pounds under weight. In every way the work is of benefit. Get Weekly Picnic. Each Wednesday 100 children are brought out for a picnic transported by automobiles loaned by employes. Miss Ruby Flora, former librarian of the Steel Works club, was the originator of these regular children's picnics. George T. Jones is president of the board, William G. Meadmore is chairman of the entertainment committee, with T. Woodhouse, William Seeley, F. J. Dunn and John Morrisey. L. A. Touzalin is chairman of the finance committee, and J. W. Brockway is head of the house committee. It was in 1888 that L. E. Ingalls bought the lot on which now stands the Steel Works club. But the very same day, November 20, he turned it over to the Illinois Steel company, for whom it was bought. The entire tract was bought by G. W. Casseday in 1837. He subdivided the region, selling a number of lots to Wright Smith, who lived in Cincinnati with a wife and ten children. When he died in 1845, the children deed the lots to Oliver Smith to settle the estate, after which the Steel Works club lot was purchased."
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description28 cm. x 38 cm.
SourceClick this link for more historical information on the Joliet area - http://lewisu.edu/imcanal
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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