Explore Como area’s ‘back when’ days at free event in March

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The Como neighborhood’s fascinating history includes the state’s earliest airport, a fabulous mansion frequented by opera stars and successful plant nurseries and creameries.

Early homes were built “way out in the country,” with so many empty lots that some houses offered unobstructed views all the way to the State Fairgrounds. For a time, a small bison herd grazed on what is now Midway Parkway and a grand hotel sat on the shores of Lake Como.

“Tales of Old Como,” a presentation by Rog Bergerson, neighborhood historian, explores these and other historical gems on Sunday, March 18, at the Lyngblomsten Care Center Chapel, 1415 Almond Ave. The 2 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

Bergerson, the author of Winging It at a Country Crossroads and a frequent contributor to the Park Bugle, promises some surprises as he presents facts and photos about the neighborhood. For example, flying ace Speed Holman touched down at Curtiss Field, on a site now occupied by senior housing. Lorenzo Hoyt’s large nursery was famous for its plants and seeds and the area has even had its share of gangsters and murderers.

“The history of the Como neighborhood is so rich and varied and it’s all around us,” Bergerson said. “I think the more we know about the area’s fascinating past, the more we value what we have here.”

Bergerson’s presentation is the second in a series of free Sunday Seminars offered by the Como Community Council’s Environment Committee. The third and last event in the series, at 2 p.m. on April 15, will feature Erik Olsen, landscape designer for Out Back Nursery.