ROGERS PARK — Without activist Tobey Prinz, Rogers Park's street-end beaches could have been paved over and replaced with high-rise developments, said her son Fred Schein.
So on Wednesday night, the Chicago Park District adopted Schein's request and gave 45 days notice of its plan to rename Pratt Boulevard Beach in his late mother's honor.
Prinz was the champion of the neighborhood's "Save the Beaches" campaign during the '50s and '60s, which aimed to thwart developers from staking claim to Rogers Park's lakefront.
"I used to paddle along with my mother in the sand as she solicited for signatures," said 65-year-old Schein, who now lives in Avondale.
For the past two years Schein has reviewed newspaper articles, books and old photographs to build his case that Prinz deserved a beach named after her.
All the hard work paid off Wednesday when the park district board moved forward with Schein's proposal.
"To me, it’s fabulous," he said. "It’s not just [about] my mother — She represents Rogers Park's long history of community activism."
Sister Patricia Crowley — the prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago, who lives at the St. Scholastica Monastery on Ridge Avenue — said she first met Prinz in 1975 when she was a retired teacher organizing on behalf of tenants' rights.
"She was always very discerning about what was going on," Crowley said. "She was a very thoughtful person. She would look at the issues in terms of who they would benefit and who they would harm."
Crowley said she and Prinz were good friends up until her death in 1984 at age 72.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said he wrote a letter to the park district expressing his support for Tobey Prinz Beach. The Loyola Park advisory council also expressed their support for the honor, Moore said.
"She knew how to recognize the issues that were important to all of the people of Rogers Park," Crowley said. "She was just a wonderful woman in that way. ... I’m thrilled that something is being named after her."