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Mayor Cermak’s Old House Named To Historic Register

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At Chicago City Hall, The Entrance To The Mayor's Office. (AP Photo)

At Chicago City Hall, The Entrance To The Mayor’s Office. (AP Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – The former home of one of Chicago’s most popular mayors has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the U.S. National Park Service has put the house where Mayor Anton Joseph Cermak lived on the National Register of Historic Places.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says the house at 2348 S. Millard Ave. was the home of Chicago’s only foreign-born mayor, from 1923 until his death in 1933.

Cermak’s house in the Little Village area is believed to be the only remaining building in the city with ties to him.

Cermak was born in the city of Klando in Austria-Hungary, in what is now the Czech Republic, in 1873. His family moved to the United States a year later.

He worked as a miner until he was fired in 1891, then went into business selling wood and trucking, according to the Chicago Public Library.

Cermak entered the political world when he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1902. He won three more terms, and was then elected as an alderman, as bailiff of the city’s old Municipal Court, and to three terms as Cook County Board president.

In 1931, he was elected mayor. When Republican Mayor Big Bill Thompson tried to make a big deal of Cermak being an immigrant during their race in 1931, Cermak responded that it was true he did not come over on the Mayflower but that he came over as soon as he could. Cermak went on to defeat Thompson.

Cermak was shot in Miami on Feb. 15, 1933, while shaking hands with then-President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

He died about three weeks later.

Four others were wounded in the shooting, including a woman who died of her injuries.

When Cermak was shot, he is reputed to have told President-elect Roosevelt, “I’m glad it was me instead of you,” although some say this quote was fabricated by Chicago politicians.

The city renamed 22nd Street Cermak Road in the assassinated mayor’s honor. The assassin, Giuseppe Zangara, was executed in the electric chair in Miami later in 1933.

Cermak is buried at Bohemian National Cemetery on the city’s Northwest Side.

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