EDISON PARK — Northwest Highway and Oliphant Avenue in downtown Edison Park has long been known by locals as Kaage's Corner because of the newsstand that has called it home since 1943.
City leaders made it official Friday, renaming the bustling intersection in honor of the Kaage family's longevity and service to the community.
"It's overwhelming," said Irv Kaage Jr., 85, whose father, Irv Sr., started the newsstand and whose son, Mike, now runs it. "It is just wonderful."
The honor — unveiled by Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) — makes all the days in the unrelenting heat, the soaking rain and the punishing wind and snow worth it, Irv Kaage Jr. said, recalling the time he had to walk through hip-deep snow to make sure the kiosk was open for business at 4 a.m..
Mike Kaage, who mans the kiosk with his father seven days a week, 365 days a year, said the honor made him feel like "the richest man in town."
"I plan to be here as long as they keep publishing things to be sold," Mike Kaage said, choking back tears. "Our customers are the nicest, most generous people I've ever met."
The newsstand sells about 300 newspapers a day, many to city employees on their way to the Metra station two blocks away to commute downtown. The kiosk, which is 8-feet tall and 5-feet wide, is one of Chicago's last full-service newsstands, selling Chicago's daily papers and a host of magazines, ranging from Glamour to Field & Stream.
O'Connor, who spearheaded the push for the honorary street name, called the Kaages "icons and local legends."
"I admire them," O'Connor said. "They help you start your day, and they watch out for this community."
More than 100 people — most of them longtime customers — turned out to celebrate the renaming of the corner.
Debbie Chiczewski, who brought her 2-year-old granddaughter Nora, said she came to honor the Kaages because they always had a kind word for her when she stopped to buy a paper.
"They help make Edison Park feel like a small town, even though we are in the city," said Chiczewski, who has lived in the neighborhood for 37 years. "They are an institution."