The Freedom Flights For Cuban Political Refugees Were Sponsored By Catholic Charities USA
By Gardenia C. Hung
On July 19, 1971, Mr. Roberto Hung Juris Doctor, his wife Gardenia Fong Ramos, his daughter and son, arrived at Miami International Airport on Cubana Airlines where his eldest brother Miguel Hung, his wife Silvia Simons and family were expecting this Cuban family arriving with the Freedom Flights from La Habana, Cuba. Miguel Hung, his wife Silvia, and his four children Olivia, Miguel, Santiago, and Raimundo Hung-Simons were all Miami residents living in Florida. After Roberto Hung and his family visited his Florida relatives, he decided to be relocated by Catholic Charities to the City of Chicago by Lake Michigan in the State of Illinois, by the Great Lakes area in the Midwest of the United States of America.
The third week in July 1971, on July 22, 1971, Mr. Roberto Hung Juris Doctor, his wife, his daughter and son arrived at O’Hare Airport in Chicago from Miami, Florida sponsored by Catholic Charities USA which relocated this Cuban family to The Montfield Hotel for lodging upon referral by Catholic Charities of Chicago. Once in the Windy City, they were welcomed as Cuban political refugees from the Freedom Flights designed to bring Cuban exiles to the United States of America. The Montfield Hotel was the first place of residence in July 1971 for Mr. Roberto Hung, his wife, his daughter and son in the Lakeview neighborhood of the City of Chicago, in the State of Illinois USA.
The Freedom Flights represent the largest and longest resettlement program of political refugees ever sponsored by the U.S. government, offering an escape from Fidel Castro's Cuba to 265,000 people. This is an effort for people who were on the Freedom Flights to find their names, as well as their families, complete their records, and reconnect over the memory. This is the only public record of the Freedom Flights at this time.
Read more here: Miami Herald
Roberto Hung’s Cousin “Hortensia” Niebocki who was married to Gary Niebocki from New Jersey, had filed U.S. Immigration forms as a relative to bring his family to the United States America. The name “Hortensia” in Spanish is the eponym for the flower Hydrangea in English. Hortensia was the eldest daughter of Antonia Mustelier Baró, who was a registered nurse married to Dr. Gary Niebocki, M.D. Hortensia’s mother was the eldest sister of Gertrudis Salustiana Mustelier Baró, Roberto Hung’s mother. Dr. Gary Niebocki, M.D. was a medical officer in the U.S. Navy who married Hortensia as a registered nurse practitioner while she worked at the Guantánamo Naval Base near Santiago de Cuba in the Caribbean country of Cuba.
Figure 1 The Flower Hydrangea is translated in Spanish as Hortensia.
The Montfield Hotel was included as a National Historic Landmark in the building located at the corner of Belmont and Sheffield Avenues for the Lakeview neighborhood, Chicago, Illinois USA.
This former multi-use commercial block was constructed by the Belmont-Sheffield Trust and Savings Bank, founded in 1927 by a group of prominent Swedish businessmen to serve the needs of Lakeview's numerous Swedish residents. An outstanding feature is the monumental arched entrance on Belmont Avenue, designed in the Classical Revival-style, while simpler Art Deco-style ornamentation is visible at the upper floors. Walls are clad with limestone on the first four stories. Buff colored brick and light-gray ornamental terra-cotta are used on the remaining two stories. In addition to the bank, the building was originally designed to house multiple uses, including rental offices, a hotel, and street-level storefronts. The Belmont-Sheffield Trust and Savings Bank thrived from 1929 to 1932, but was forced to close on July 6, 1933, during the Depression.
Figure 2 Belmont-Sheffield Trust and Savings Bank (Former) located at 1001 West Belmont Avenue and Sheffield, in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois USA
Figure 3 Detail of Medusa Medallion at the Belmont-Sheffield Trust and Savings Bank in Lakeview, Chicago Illinois USA
The National Register of Historic Places has recorded and registered the Belmont-Sheffield Bank Building as a national landmark in the City of Chicago, Illinois USA.
The Belmont-Sheffield Bank Building, which once contained a bank, a residential hotel, offices and stores, stands six stories at the southwest corner of the Belmont and Sheffield Avenues. The freestanding building is “U” shaped in the upper stories around a two-story central atrium with a light court of approximately 1500 square feet in the center rear beginning above the second floor of the building—which allowed the light to reach the bank lobby—the glass atrium has since been roofed over.
The fourth floor, where the hotel section of the building begins, has terracotta medallions of Medusa on the piers separating the five window bays on Sheffield and end bays on Belmont and is topped by geometric moldings and a second slightly deeper cornice. The top two floors have simply-ornamented limestone spandrels: A parapet of brick is capped by a projecting acanthus ornament.
The Sheffield House Hotel is a historic hotel in the heart of Wrigleyville, built in the 1920s. The Cubs baseball team used the Sheffield House Hotel for their players in the 1930s.
Stylistically, this building combines Classical influences typically found in both downtown and neighborhood banking institutions, with elements of the Art Deco style popular in the late twenties.
The Bank’s monumental arched entry located on Belmont is its most conspicuous Classical feature. Reminiscent of the Renaissance work of Alberti (especially the Church of St. Andrea at Mantua). The three-story arch springs from strong Ionic columns. Once inside this impressive archway, the scale changes to one more human. A recessed post and lintel doorway painted blue green is embellished with more intricate Classical details deluding rosettes, lintils, quivers and acanthus patterns. Hanging from the center of the shallow vaulted entrance is a wrought iron bronze lantern. The hotel-office entrance on Sheffield is also ornamented with Classical detailing.
This building combines the Art Deco style with Classicism, thus making it more the legacy of its own time conventions.
The office spaces can be accessed from the bank vestibule, but the main office and hotel entrance is on Sheffield, the elevator lobby to the upper staircase has a strapwork ceiling with marble flooring in the same pattern as the banking room.
The entire building combines Classicism and Art Deco, monumentality and intimate scale in a manner that suits the bank’s need to impress with the more personal needs of the customer.
The Belmont-Sheffield Trust and Savings Bank is primarily significant as the only remaining bank building built in Lakeview before the Depression which retains its architectural integrity; all others have been demolished or extensively altered. Its stylistic characteristics, reflecting a combination of Neo-Classicism typical of bank design and Art Deco refinements typical of the period, have not been lost. In addition, this building is important as an early multi-use structure. The prominently-located six story corner building was unusual if not unique under a single-roof. It was always a hotel. Reference to The Montfield Hotel is found in the 1930 telephone directory. The Bank which occupied the bulding between November 1, 1929 and July 6. 1933 is a typical Chicago community bank, but it is historically important to Lakeview as the Swedish institution in a neighborhood that was strongly Swedish. The bank’s financial support, its Board of Directors and its architects were all Swedish…
The Montfield Hotel which used to be located at 3146 North Sheffield on floors four through six struggled with vacancy until 1984, when a developer received a federal loan to convert the Montfield Hotel into 54 apartments, maintaining stores on the ground floor. The building was sold again to another developer and the upper floors were converted into loft condos in 2005, which are now listed at the address 3150 North Sheffield. In 2008, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks designated this building as a landmark along with 15 other neighborhood bank buildings.
This is a reference to the article about the Belmont-Sheffield Trust and Savings Bank Building from Wikipedia.