Kane County History: St. Charles' Evergreen Pub ... The 'BEFORE' Photos

Kane County History: St. Charles’ Evergreen Pub … The ‘BEFORE’ Photos

Editor’s Note: The Evergreen Pub & Grill in St. Charles is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, and the St. Charles History Museum is sharing stories about its past. Below is a collection of memories about the business and the property on the city’s far west side. 

Julia E. Peck of Geneva at one time owned the property called Evergreen Farm. She owned the property from the late ’20s to about 1943 when she sold it.

During the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Otto Anderson lived on the Evergreen Farm. Their children were Pearl, Carl, Kenneth, Ray and Chester. the owner of the paddle boats on the river and the concession stands at Pottawatomie Park.

Chet says during the Depression their father went broke. His debt was $6,000. Andrew Anderson rented this farm property. He broke horses on the farm, but the family did not live there. He was the one who rented the picnic grounds to the Lithuanians and Belgians.

Lithuanians and Belgians picnicked at Evergreen Farm starting in the late 1920s until Word War II to raise money for their Sick Benefit Groups.

Families would bring baskets of food and hot dogs would be sold. Joe Anderson, who was known as the “Popsicle Man”, would bring a truck full of popsicles and for a couple of popsicles, he could get a couple of kids to stay and sell popsicles all day long.

The farm consisted of a cemented, fenced-in dance floor and space for musicians. Frank Zudis played the accordion, Russell Anderson played the drums, Stanley Petronis played the accordion and John Petronis played the tambourine.

There was a bar that consisted of four long planks nailed together waist high with a keg in a galvanized tub with ice that was covered in canvas to prevent from melting. Beer and pop came from Geneva Bottling Works.

The man running the candy booth had a box of candy individually wrapped the size of a hat box. You take out a handful of candy put it on the table and say “odd” or “even.” The man counts out the candy two at a time if you said even and there is one piece of candy left you to pay for the number of pieces that the man counted. If you guessed correctly you got the candy, and it didn’t cost you anything.

Elanore Oberst, his daughter, told me how she and her sister would get up early the day after the picnics and search for coins. If they got there early enough, the pickings were quite lucrative.

New Exhibit Highlights WWI Collection

The St. Charles History Museum’s new temporary exhibit “Homefront: Echoes of the Great War” will highlight the reality of World War I and recognize the St. Charles residents who contributed to the war effort.

The museum is privileged to include many World War I uniforms from our collection, as well as letters, postcards, and other artifacts of that unique and tumultuous time in American history. All of these aid the exhibit in portraying these individuals as multi-faceted people and not just names in a roster.

Curated by the Amelia Deering (summer intern), “Home Front: Echoes of the Great War” will bring home the reality of a war often forgotten and overshadowed by the many conflicts of the later 20th century.

Join the St. Charles History Museum from  5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, for the opening of its fall exhibition, as well as light refreshments and a performance by Lux Dance Studio. To register please visit www.stcmuseum.org and fill out the form or call the museum at 630-584-6967.

About the New Exhibit

After 100 years of obscurity, “Homefront: Echoes of the Great War” aims not only to highlight the bravery of the fighting men but also to portray the grim reality of life at the front as well as the daily struggles of those at home.

Also offering a glimpse into the Museum’s wonderful WWI collection, the exhibit will run from Aug. 24 through the first week of January 2019.

About the St. Charles History Museum

Founded in 1933, the St. Charles History Museum, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, collects, preserves and presents St. Charles’ long and rich history through unique programming, events, exhibits, and presentations. History. Happens. Here.

Read The Kane County History Series!