Chicago’s Stony Island Park and CVS

Everyone refers to Stony Island Park as a neighborhood today but for me it was a park in the 1960’s now referred to as Jesse Owens, must larger today than I remember located at…My memories include being a cheerleader for Warren Junior High football team, making our own green sweatshirts with Warren amateurishly spelled across the top, that took place at Stoney Island Park coached by my famous gym teacher, Chuck Ulrich. According to Wikipedia, he was a professional American football defensive tackle in the National Football League. He played five seasons for the Chicago Cardinals (1954–1958). Ulrich was a member of the Illinois football team that defeated Stanford 40-7 in the 1952 Rose Bowl to stake a claim for the national championship. He was a member of Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

When at the Park whether it be involved in a game or just to play, I always wondered about who went to Chicago Vocational School that was located on 87th Street and still open today commonly known as CVS, It was a vocational school then and now. Opened in 1941, it was an all male school of about 800 and it was not a diploma granting school. The school was known as the best trade school and turned over to the Navy during World War 11. In 1946, the school returned to normal with allowing women to enroll. Classes were offered all day long and the evening to accommodate new war veterans. It has been through many changes but currently a career academy run by Chicago Public Schools. Notable alumni was Dick Butkus and Chris Zorich, linebackers for the Bears as well as Dean Richards, film critic for WGN-TV.

Stoney Island Park was renamed in the 1980’s for Jesse Owens, all American athlete who won several gold medals at the Olympics in 1935 for running and jumping. The Associated Press acclaimed him the “Athlete of the Half Century” in 1950, and President Ford awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976. He also briefly served as a director for the Chicago Boys Club.

5 thoughts on “Chicago’s Stony Island Park and CVS”

  1. Worked as head football coach from 1973 until. 1988. Saw my first football team while driving by when I was about Five. Being from a place called Bush (neighborhood) most all my friends went to CVS. Great memories of Stony Island park. Practiced there everyday. We beat St Rita in the 76 prep bow First time in 17 years a public team beat a Catholic league Stony Island had much to do with that. Well thanks for the memories

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  2. Nice story! I appreciate that you keep our neighborhood history alive. I played at that park from the time I was a little tyke, and I attended Stony Island Park day camp. (With apologies, I want to point out the correct spelling of “Stony.”) We lived at 89th and Luella, so it was a short walk. My sister graduated from CVS—class of 1960. She has great memories of her classes and involvement in clubs, and fun times like football championship games played at Soldier Field. I took swim lessons at CVS with several of my grade school friends. Probably the summer of 1968 or 1969.

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    1. Thank you so much for the correction. I never thought about though when I was researching stoney was not bringing me back the info I needed. Loved your information. I want to do an article on 87st right by their. Tots, a couple of restaurants I can’t remember. Let me know if you have any information I could research. My best friend and I were allowed to go there when we were in Junior High.

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  3. Karla, the area south of 87th St., up to 93rd St. and between Stony Island and Jeffery, was referred to as Pill Hill because many doctors lived there. In 1970, my brother and I took swim lessons at CVS just to go swimming in the pool. The restaurants on 87th St. were Seaways Deli, halfway between East End and Stony, and Thomas’ on the corner of 87th and East End. My paper route for the Chicago American, Daily Calumet and Daily Defender was on Euclid and Bennett from 87th up to 93rd, and back again. By the time we moved away from 85th and Stony, I was delivering a whole lot more Daily Defenders than Daily Calumets.

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