New Book Covers History of The Castle

With Christmas just around the corner, a new gift option will be available when filmmaker and author Errol Magidson offers his new book, “Chicago’s Only Castle: The History of Givins Irish Castle and its Keepers,” at a program and book signing Sun., Dec. 10, 2 to 6 p.m., at the Givins Castle, a.k.a. the Irish Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. Magidson will present a program on the history of the Castle and its five keepers, and will sell and sign copies of his book.

As a follow up to his 2011 documentary, “Chicago’s Only Castle: The History of Givins Irish Castle and its Keepers,” Magidson’s book is richly illustrated and well-researched.  Its almost 300 pages – enhanced by over 400 images, many in color – include new and interesting information about the Castle and its five keepers over the course of the captivating structure’s 130 years.

The P. T. Barnum of Chicago developers in the later 19th Century, Canadian-born Robert Cartwright Givins was a well-known real estate man, Chicago booster and popular novelist who chose to build his remarkable home on the eastern crest of the Blue Island Ridge. Finished in 1887, for two years in the 1890s the building was rented by the Chicago Female College, which produced a brochure of classes offered that included photos of the house and grounds, now an invaluable window into the past.

Twenty-two years after building it, world traveler Givins sold his castle to the Burdett family, early auto enthusiasts, in 1909. The Burdetts sold it to the colorful Dr. Siemans family in 1921, and they owned it for 21.

The Castle is built of limestone, which can be tricky to preserve. Since 1942 the iconic building has been owned and maintained by the Beverly Unitarian Church. Its not-for-profit Castle Building Fund has been designated to that maintenance. All proceeds from Magidson’s new book will be donated to the building fund. Thereby, a purchase of the book will benefit the upkeep of this beautiful building, so unique in the City of Chicago and often used to visually represent historic Beverly/Morgan Park.

Neighborhood Notes – June 2017

Registration Open for Veterans Softball Tournament. Registration is underway for the Road Home Program’s Veterans Softball Tournament and Family Fest, Sat., July 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. Team registration continues until July 1. Standard ASA rules apply. Teams need a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 players, men and women, and 70% of the team must be veterans, active duty military or direct family of either. Individuals without a team can register under “open team.”  Registration info: Joel Gutierrez, 312-745-2170 or

Operation Help a Hero. In June, donations of personal hygiene items, cleaning products and miscellaneous items for Operation Help-a-Hero will be collected locally at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. through Fri., and Mount Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat., and 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., Sun.  Operation Help-A-Hero supports Chicago veterans transitioning out of homelessness. The local collection is ci-sponsored by Ald. Matt O’Shea, Chicago Park District and Military Outreach USA. Info

Beverly Therapists Hold Support Groups and Workshop. Call Bonn Wade (773-330-2544) or Christina Sprayberry (314-550-4384 ) for information on the monthly support group that provides an affirming space and social activities for gender expansive, transgender, agender, lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, LGBTQ+ high school aged teens; Without Them, a free six-week men’s and women’s bereavement support group led by Aida Piggott (773-332-6664), starts Wed., June 14, 7 to 9 p.m., offering interpersonal engagement and through the guidance of interesting, inspirational materials, discussion about loss, grief, coping strategies and potential for renewing hope and meaning; a Burning Sacred Botanicals Workshop explore mindful, cultural and intentional connections of burning botanicals and creating smudge sticks, will be held Sun., June 25, 3 to 4:30 p.m.  (a suggested donation of $15 covers supplies). Info and registration: Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd floor,

19th Ward Document Shredding. Residents of the 19th Ward are welcome to take advantage of free document shredding, Sat., June 3, 9 to 11 a.m., Crosswinds Church, 10835 S. Pulaski Rd. Only loose documents with no staples or binders can be accepted.

One Man’s Treasure Bazaar. Sutherland School, 10015 S. Leavitt, hosts One Man’s Treasure Bazaar, Sat., June 3, 9 am. to 2 p.m. The sale features household items, crafts, clothing, books, knick knacks and more. Proceeds from table rentals benefit math tutoring at Sutherland.  Info on table rental or donating items:

Town Hall Meeting. Join in the discussion of community events and meet with representatives from various government agencies at the 19th Ward Town Hall Meeting, Wed., June 7, 7 p.m. 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.

Free Oak Tree Saplings. 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea and the the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District are providing free oak tree saplings (currently measuring less than 18 inches high).  Saplings can be ordered online at, and will be available for pickup Sun., June 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the 95th Street Farmers Market, 95th and Longwood Drive. Instructions for planting and caring for the trees will be provided at pickup. Trees enhance property values, reduce utility bills, and can help prevent flooding by absorbing rainfall. Our community’s tree population has been decimated by emerald ash borer infestations and extreme weather. Help restore our tree canopy! Order a free oak sapling today!

Support Group for Caregivers. Caregivers for people with dementia are invited to a free memory care support group Tues., June 6, 6:30 p.m., Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl.  Memory support coordinator Diane Morgan will host an open topic discussion that will enable caregivers to ask whether dementia runs in the family, the difference between it and Alzheimer’s, and what certain behaviors mean. Reservations: 773-474-7300 or

Garden Club Meeting. The Garden Club of Morgan Park/Beverly will meet Wed., June 7, 9:30 a.m., Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley for the program “Tomatoes and More: Basic Vegetable Gardening.” Nancy Kreith, Extension Educator, Horticulture, University of Illinois Extension will present tips on creating a partly edible, partly ornamental garden designed for growing fresh wholesome food in a small space. Free.

BAC Exhibit Continues through June 8. “A Constant Struggle,” an exhibit exploring the insidious reach of racism in our nation’s history and culture and presented by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, continues through June 8,  Simmerling Gallery, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

Free Family Fun Nights. Local families with little kids are invited to enjoy live entertainment, activities, food and more at free Family Fun Nights, Thursdays, June 8, 15, 22 and 29, 5:30 to 7 p.m., adjacent to the Beverly Bank parking lot across from the 103rd Street Metra Station. Hosted by the Beverly Area Planning Association and Little Company of Mary Hospital, the events will be held weather-permitting. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Yoga at Cork & Kerry. Beverly Yoga Center’s Kenya Butts will lead yoga flow Sat., June 10, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Cork & Kerry beer garden, 10614 S. Western.  Open to participants age 21 and older, the session is $10 per person and includes a complimentary mimosa after class. Bring a mat. Sign up required at

Tour Mercy Circle. Tour a model apartment and see the exercise room, chapel, boutique salon, library, dining room and bistro during the open house at Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St., Sun., June 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Key staff members including Senior Living Advisor Marge Everett will be on hand to answer questions and explain the many services and comprehensive continuum of care available at Mercy Circle, which welcomes older adults from all walks of life. Info and private appointments: 773-253-3600.

Flea Market on the Lawn. The Women of the Castle will host a Flea Market on the Lawn, Sat., June 17, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Beverly Unitarian Church, 103rd and Longwood Drive. Info:  312-618-1814.

Mrs. King’s Art Camp. Registration is open for Mrs. King’s Art Camp for boys and girls ages 5 to 10. Five sessions will be offered, starting July 10, Mon., Wed., and Fri., 9 to 11:30 a.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Children will work individually and in groups under the direction of a highly qualified CPS art teacher. Areas cover drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture. Projects will be linked to select children’s literature to provide inspiration. $125 per session covers all materials and smock; $25 discount when registered before June 21.  Info: