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Added May 23 2012

The pier is not named after the street. Both the street and the pier are named after John V. Farwell. He is one of six investors who formed the Rogers Park Building & Land Co. in 1873, five years before "Rogers Park" was incorporated as a Village and twenty years before it was annexed as part of Chicago. The other guys were Patrick Touhy, Luther Greenleaf, Stephen Lunt,Charles Morse and George Estes. Touhy's father-in-law, Phillip Rogers, had died way back in 1856. You may call it Pratt Pier; you may call it "Shirley"; you may call it anything you want but it's given name is FARWELL PIER...forever.

  • Bill Morton President, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce

    Here a link to some photos of the pier: www.49thward.blogspot.com/2012/05/pratt-pier.html

    And some history on Philip Rogers:
    www.49thward.blogspot.com/2012/04/philip-rogers.html

  • Inactive user

    @Bill Here's the big question. When was it built?

  • Bill Morton President, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce

    I'm not really sure. I heard something about the Army building it.

  • Inactive user

    Since it is a "navigational structure" and not just an erosion control structure, the Coast Guard has formal operational jurisdiction and the Army Corps of Engineers has structural jurisdiction.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    The Directory of the Lighthouses of the U.S. doesn't know when any of these on the north side were constructed.

    http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/il.htm

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    Very interesting. Thanks for posting!

  • Inactive user

    Who has the key to the lock on Farwell Pier?
    There should be a keeper of the KEEP.
    The last time I was there the graffiti at the base was covered over,
    but there was trash inside the KEEP and also all the graffiti on the actual Farwell Pier was still there.

    And is that a solar panel by the red light there? It sure looked like it the last time I was there.

  • Bill Morton President, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce

    I just posted a photo set of Farwell Pier up close on RP1000. The article shows the solar panel, the red light, the fence, the graffiti and the litter. (click on photos for a much larger, more detailed view).

    http://rp1000.blogspot.com/2012/05/farwell-pier-up-close.html

  • Inactive user

    Thanks for the photo expose Bill!!!!

    You guys beat me too it. I was going to do an update
    on the Farwell Pier. Its really not in the best shape, and someone
    should have a key to the lock there and GET in there and help fix it up with some paint and to clean up the garbage. Next time I head out there now I know to bring a garbage bag.

  • Bill Morton President, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce

    I am a member of the Loyola Park Advisory Council. I'll ask about this at the next meeting and report my findings.

    In the mean time, we can see that there is a lot of broken glass and hard liquor bottles under the fence. Maybe we can bring a small broom or a stick to get those out from under there and clean it up.

  • Inactive user

    Thanks Bill. I go out there once a week or so with a stick and plastic bags to clean it out but the Gentlemens' Drinking and Fishing Society litters faster than I can clean it up. Any help is appreciated. As far as members of LPAC goes I doubt if any of them has a clue so I am searching archives with the CPD Historian for information.

  • Inactive user

    Eventually someone should get boltcutters then and get the old lock off and then put a decent new lock on it and then become the KEEPER of the KEEP.

    Every lighthouse has a lighthouse keeper. Why should Farwell Pier be any different?

  • Inactive user

    Hahahaha. Next you will be asking for a Coast Guard uniform, a government car with a siren and flashing light on top and a big pension when you retire.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Thank you all for introducing me to the pier. I feel like an idiot that I didn't know about it. but due to my prior work, I didn't get out too far from my immediate "hood" or downtown. So now I've visited the beloved pier, I think it has great potential. So if you don't mind, I'd like to add my two cents.

    1- I didn't see a trash bin/barrel anywhere around. I think people put trash in there b/c there's no where to dispose of it. I think if there was a trash bin at the end, people would put their trash in it. I know, the next question is who empties the trash. But that's a better problem than having trash stuffed in the house.

    2- Loyola seems to be doing well these days, would the university contribute to care and maintenance?

    Thanks

  • Inactive user

    Loyola Park personnel agreed with some area neighbors to allow a trash container to be rolled out to the end of the pier that would be exchanged with an empty one at least once a week. Neighbor volunteers will do all the work. Let's hope this will help. If every one pitches in, things can get done.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Nice. Thanks AppleJack!

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Went to the pier last night with my pup, the trash bin was there :) Yea!!!!! My only concern is whether it is secure such that if high winds kick up will the bin get knocked over and all the trash winds up in the lake? I didn't think to check if it was at the time because I was startled by a young man relieving himself and my pup was agitated. The young man and his friend did get a few choice words from me though.

  • Inactive user

    The steel cables will protect the bin from ending up in the lake. If a threatening storm front is forecast I will either move the bin back on land or secure the bin's lid. Though I don't have a lighthouse keeper's hat and uniform, I will do my best to keep it neat and secure. Never thought my status in life would be reduced to that of a garbage bin custodian but every litter bit helps LOL. The bin will be safe since I do at least one or two litter removals on the pier and in the dunes restoration area each day. Thanks for the thanks Dee.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    @AppleJack - Thanks for taking care of the lighthouse.
    I love lighthouses, we went to Maine a few years ago and saw some wonderful ones, they were great!

  • Inactive user

    We should all be custodians of our own areas. I know I am.
    Its an honor to have you AppleJack manning the garbage can of our great FARWELL PIER. Now we just have to get you a key if you want it you can officially be the KEEPER of the KEEP.

    Or perhaps that should be an elected position? HAha.
    It is technically a lighthouse right?

  • Inactive user

    Technically it's called a "navigation light". The name "lighthouse" is reserved for tall buildings with a "lantern" on top with the sole purpose of aiding the navigation of ships and boats. Officianados don't use the word "lights" for the top of real lighthouses; they are called "lanterns". The one up at Grosse Point in Evanston is a true lighthouse. Ours, at the end of Farwell Pier, is just a navigation light. Lighthouses have Keepers. Navigation lights just have plain old garbage grunts like me. If you are a lighthouse junkie, like me, you must visit the National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island or do a driving trip around Lake Michigan and visit all of them.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    @AJ, I didn't think the bin would get blown into the lake, just that the bin would get blown over and all the trash would. I don't want to have to get you scuba gear for garbage pickup. Will work on the lighthouse keepers hat and uniform though. How do you look in chartreuse? ;)

  • Inactive user

    Hahahaha. I'd look like Lunch Monkey's gray-haired grandpa in Chartreuse.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    One of the nicest Independence Day eves I've ever had was at the top of Grosse Point Lighthouse. A friend was the keeper; he and his wife lived in the house next to the lighthouse. He invited a group of us to watch the fireworks from the top. We could see them going off in all directions (except directly over the lake).

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    What can I say, I like to coordinate. Accessories are good to. Will work on a matching sweater vest.

  • Inactive user

    OLD GLORY is flying from the top of the Farwell Pier light. Some guy (unknown) climbed up the tower on Sunday and attached a flag in Memory of his Dad. It is proudly flying there today. What a sweet-sad gesture. There is one new graffito; I will paint over it later on. For the most part the garbage bin is being used and the pier is clean.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    BIG smile!

  • Bill Morton President, Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce

    While out on a walk the other day, I noticed the garbage bin myself. So, while I was out today with my girlfriend she and I took some photos of Farwell Pier with the trash bin for Rogers Park in 1,000 Words. I hope you enjoy!

    http://rp1000.blogspot.com/2012/05/farwell-pier-trash-is-going-out.html

  • Inactive user

    Thanks Bill. As Mother Theresa purportedly once said "There are no great acts in life. Just small acts done with great love and with great passion." A stupid little garbage bin helps in a small way to make RP just a little bit better. People are actually using it.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Ok, guys and gals, bear with me for two more cents and a question. Pup and I had a lovely a.m. walk picking up trash along the beach path and enjoyed walking the pier to check for more, none! Yippee! (Apple Jack can't have all the fun). Also ran into a guy from USDWidlife, apparently looking for otters or Helen's ferret...I digress.

    The walk got me thinking (scary).

    So, here goes:

    1- If we ever figure out how to get past the lock and chain to paint over the graffiti, can we paint the house/structure another, cheerier color than industrial brown? I'm suggesting red. It would be more inviting and make the house more visible. I pass by a red lighthouse in Algoma, WI on my way to Door Co., and it stands out as a beautiful beacon against the lake rain or shine. I think a bright, new coat of paint would peek people's interest and appreciation for it's former life. Now, that won't stop the tagging, but maybe if it didn't look like an abandoned industrial misfit, it might garner more respect. I'd volunteer time and materials, and vote Jeff O as project manager :). Thoughts?

    2- Old Glory wasn't flying above today, but I like the idea. Could we install a permanent flag fixture above the house that goes up Memorial Day and gets taken down sometime after Labor Day? I think the flag flying atop would also bolster a better sentiment and regard for the house and the Park/Beach in general. Thoughts?

    The question, for those of you in the know: Does the lantern (light) work? I don't venture to the park after dark.

    So now you have my four cents worth. I still will probably have spare change.

    Thanks

  • Inactive user

    Unless "D" was joking about a U.S. Fish & Wildlife guy, he may have been looking for Ring-necked Plovers. They are cousins of Killdeer, American Woodcocks and Semipalmated Plovers, all of whom visit the Farwell Pier area each year. USFW has monitored them in previous years. The light (lantern) appears to be not working or maintained at the moment. I am trying to find out who in the city government is responsible for it and get them to fix it and clean up the structure. I vote for JeffO, who ever he really is, to be the custodian. (Will buy him a hat of his choice.) I like the idea of a flag but the wind out there rips them to pieces quickly. Unless someone could, would maintain it, the flag would look like tattered "Old Glory" after one or two storms. Should we form FOTP? Friends Of The Pier? It is almost an icon of our neighborhood and deserves some TLC, tender loving care. BTW, the Yellow Perch are running right now and make some of the best eating you can get for free out of the lake.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    I like the idea of painting the house structure a bright red, or even a nice shade of green. It would be really nice to have a flag up too, especially with Flag Day coming up on June 14th.
    If someone could figure a way to keep the wind from shredding it to pieces that would be a good idea!!

  • Inactive user

    Name of the Game; "Pass The Buck". 311 doesn't have a clue about who is responsible for the light tower. Wilmette Coast Guard station ain't got no clue. They passed the buck to the Coast Guard's Lake Michigan Sector Command Office up in Milwaukee. I have their phone number and will call in the morning. This is like tracking down a bunch of Bozos to change a single freakin light bulb. It's hilarious. My vote is for painting the tower RED. Let's make a statement out at the end of the pier. I also vote YES for a flag out there. If we can do a garbage dumpster then we can do a flag. Come on JeffO where ever you are. We need you now.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Hate to be a party pooper, but unless someone is going to take down the flag at sunset and raise it again at sunrise, I suggest not putting a flag there. This is part of the U.S. flag code:

    "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

    I suspect who ever put one up on Memorial Day took it down that evening.

  • Inactive user

    Red would be cool AppleJack.
    Well what is the usual protocol with having a flag at a lighthouse?
    And it would be nice to have a new lock on the Pier because Im pretty sure we will never find out what happened to the key to the current lock. Its been awhile since someone has been up there (the only evidence to the contrary is the solar panel up there). Does that light work at night?

  • Inactive user

    AHA i see Applejack has already commented on this in another thread

    "Please don't extend this thread. I just posted this photo from July 1, 2011 to show that the light (lantern) on top of the pier tower used to work, flashing red every three seconds, but has been in disrepair since then. It needs to be restored as an icon of our neighborhood. If you have any comments please add them to the "FARWELL PIER Forever" thread. Let's not add unnecessary "clutter" to this EB page. I couldn't attach this photo to that thread and had to do a new "post". Thanks."

    Okay so the light USED to work last year and would flash red every three seconds. Yes I agree Applejack this should be restored as the icon of the neighborhood AND function to warn off boats from crashing into our Pier! I wish EB would let us post photos besides just in the opening post.

  • Inactive user

    Helen, you aren't a party pooper; you are technically quite correct. There is an "etiquette" of respectfulness related to flying an authentic Flag. Flying at night requires spotlighting the Flag. Street lights and navigation lights aren't considered bright enough to be respectful. I like to "fly the colors" day and night but instead of an authentic Flag, I fly a red, white-starred and blue burgee. It's a maritime version of the flag that is permissible to fly day, night, rain, shine.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    There really was a guy from USDW walking around with a clip board. I was obviously kidding about the otters/ferrets though. The fishing report yesterday from the locals was "not good, one perch", so Apple Jack you may need to pass along some fishing tips to those guys.

    Helen, I agree, you are not a party pooper. I wondered whether there was proper illumination for a Flag as well. As I mentioned, I don't venture to the park after dark. Your concern is valid, as is the concern about the Flag being shredded. We fly flags (illuminated) over our piers in Wisconsin, and they seem to manage through the summer.

    I'm for forming a FOTP group. I previously forgot to inquire if there already was one. Count me in.

    AppleJack, I'm wondering if the DNR might have some historical record of the pier itself that would lead us to who is responsible. My experience in WI is that the DNR has to authorize construction, alterations, etc. for structures that affect the shoreline. I'll try to do some research as well.

    Thanks to everyone for your input and thoughts! Keep 'em coming.

  • Inactive user

    BUT if the flag is taken down and replaced if becomes besmirched or tattered AND we have a working light going off every three seconds at night I think that would fulfill the criteria and make it worthwhile to have a flag up there.

    ALSO we do need to repaint the Pier Red (Or something)
    and KEEP it graffiti free. Even up near the top. I think it goes without saying that yes we should take care of our Pier.

  • Inactive user

    This story is hilariously complex and amusing. I wanted to find out when the pier was built and finally spoke with (sit down for this) the Chicago Park District "Historian" who invited me to search the archives for the information. She is a very knowledgeable, friendly and interesting person. Next I tried finding out who is responsible for "changing the light bulb". That pulled me into the complexities of jurisdictional prickliness involving the U.S. Coast Guard, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. I called City Hall, the Park District and Coast Guard stations at Wilmette, Kenosha and Milwaukee. The city knows nuthin. The Park District is trying to find out. The Coast Guard knows but can't release the information because it is "confidential". They took my name and telephone number and promised to "have someone get back to me". Are we dealing with matters of national security? Do I need to call Barack? All this for a silly red light bulb at the end of our pier. It will get done and the story behind all this is amazingly Byzantine.

  • Inactive user

    Sounds about right to me AppleJack because right now its a forgotten neglected Pier. It will be interesting to find out who is responsible for Farwell Pier.

  • Inactive user

    @Jof Felons aka Effjlnoos.....no not forgotten just a little neglected but some of us are taking care of that with a little TLC the same way some others take care of viaducts and other spots in RP. It all makes a difference. One step at a time.

  • Inactive user

    Q-How many does it take to change a lightbulb (at the end of a pier)?

    A-No fewer than six Coast Guard officers to pass the buck and point fingers but only one super-helpful Park District Secretary in the General Superintendent's office who really knows how to get things done. It will be back flashing very soon.

  • Inactive user

    Thats awesome AppleJack!!!
    If we all just tackle different issues our neighborhood and City will really Improve and so will the quality of life. I like that Jof felons.

    That will be cool to see Farwell Pier's light flashing again.
    Maybe we can get it painted red this summer too!!! Who knows?
    But its about time our icon of Rogers Park got some TLC.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Dee, can you find that Fish & Wildlife guy and send him North of Howard? Walking home this evening, we spotted a woman walking something that was very low to the ground on a leash. When we got closer, it turned out to be a ferret. Cute little thing. And no odor, AppleJack.

  • Inactive user

    Walking something that was very low to the ground on a leash? It may have been the reincarnation of Zorita, a famous Chicago Burlesque dancer who lived in the Rogers Park and Uptown areas from the late 30s to the 50s and frequently walked one of her performance snakes on a leash during the day. Zorita was one of our many local "cast of RP characters". Google her; it's a hoot.

  • Dee On Newgard '92

    Sorry I missed your post Helen, was up in the North woods with little to no reception. Will keep my eyes peeled for the USDW guy and send him up your way, he'd probably come quickly if it was Zorita...

    AppleJack, do we have light or am I running to Clark-Devon to fetch a lightbulb? I'll pick up Jeff O on the way for the use of his bolt cutters.

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