HYDE PARK — Timothy Murphy is an asphalt scientist by trade, not a professional photographer.
But using the photo skills he’s gained during idle time in the pandemic — and with the design help of his daughter, Theresa — Murphy has taken what could be his first steps along that path.
Murphy has released a 2021 calendar of Hyde Park landmarks and landscapes, with a portion of the funds going to the Hyde Park Historical Society.
Promontory Point is featured often as the “focal point” of the neighborhood, Murphy said, and noted Hyde Park buildings like the Museum of Science and Industry are included.
Some photos were taken using Murphy’s camera, while he used a DJI Mavic 2 drone for others. Members of neighborhood Facebook groups helped him narrow down hundreds of photos he’s taken around the area to comprise the calendar.
The “incredible response” of Hyde Parkers past and present led to his first batch of 100 calendars selling out in one weekend. People from Florida to Iowa to the United Kingdom reached out looking to buy, he said.
Murphy’s taking orders for one more batch before the end of the year, though he stressed the calendar is a not-for-profit effort. He’s balancing two full-time jobs and the completion of a master’s program.
Calendars are $10 each for Chicago pickup. With the help of Murphy’s wife, Eileen, calendars will be shipped around the country at cost.
From each sale, $1 will be donated to the Hyde Park Historical Society. The donations will support the all-volunteer historical society’s programs through the pandemic, president Michal Safar said.
That includes an archive of coronavirus experiences in Hyde Park, a book club featuring neighborhood authors and topics in collaboration with Chicago Hyde Park Village, and an oral histories project that has interviewed 30 subjects to date.
Safar was “flabbergasted” when she found out Murphy would donate some proceeds to the historical society. Though they knew each other casually from living in the same East Hyde Park building, she didn’t expect the show of solidarity for her organization.
“Certainly we appreciate it; it’s always wonderful to see neighborhood people pulling together,” she said.
Timothy and Eileen Murphy “are certainly fans of history” who like to explore buildings throughout the neighborhood, and therefore wanted to support the society’s work, he said. For 2022, he plans to release a calendar focused more on the neighborhood’s architecture.
The husband and wife are Chicago natives who moved to East Hyde Park three years ago. It’s a blessing to live on the south lakefront, where stunning sunrise views are a daily occurrence — if you’re willing to wake up early enough for it, Timothy Murphy said.
“That is something that needs to be done by everybody,” he said. “Get to the eastern tip of Promontory Point, sit there and have your coffee, hold your loved one’s hand and watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan.”
The calendar is “all about serving Hyde Parkers” and providing joy through the pandemic, Murphy said.
“I’m new to the community, my wife is new to the community, and it’s absolutely a beautiful community. We’re glad to be welcomed,” he said.
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