WBEZ | West Town http://www.wbez.org/tags/west-town Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Why the Kennedy curves at Division Street http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/why-kennedy-curves-division-street-101066 <p><p>The year was 1946. Chicago had been talking about building expressways for decades. Now that World War II was over, the vision could become a reality. &nbsp;</p><p>In 1946 there was no federal interstate highway program. The city, county and state were funding the $177 million Northwest (Kennedy) Expressway. As the original name suggests, the new road was going to run northwest from downtown, mostly alongside the Chicago &amp; North Western Railroad.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/00--Map%20of%201946%20NW%20Expressway%20revision.jpg" title="Northwest Expressway, 1946 route revision (Chicago Tribune: December 14, 1946)" /></div><p>Just north of Division Street, the expressway was routed through a heavily-populated Polish area. Hundreds of homes would have to be torn down. And though the road was to be depressed, the historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Church would be cut off from much of the neighborhood.</p><p>The Poles were Chicago&rsquo;s largest ethnic group. No politician wanted to alienate that many voters. Therefore, on December 13, Governor Dwight Green announced a revised route. The section of the expressway near the church would be moved east of the C&amp;NW tracks and run on a viaduct over Elston Avenue.</p><p>&ldquo;We feel that the protection of community interests justifies the increased expense,&rdquo; the governor said. That appeared to end the controversy.</p><p>Years passed. By 1955 work was ready to begin. The state now decided the Elston viaduct was too expensive. The expressway would follow the cheapest route, along the C&amp;NW line. And under this plan, St. Stan&rsquo;s itself would have to be bulldozed.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/00--Ald%20Joe%20Rostenkowski.jpg" title="Alderman Joe Rostenkowski (author's collection)" /></div><p>That spring, a civil engineer named Bernard Prusinski ran for 32nd Ward alderman on a &ldquo;Save St. Stan&rsquo;s&rdquo; platform. He upset longtime incumbent Joe Rostenkowski to win the election. Once in office, Prusinski went to work getting the expressway moved &mdash; again.</p><p>The Prusinski plan was to curve the C&amp;NW tracks a few hundred yards east, onto land that was mostly vacant. Then the expressway would follow this route. The additional cost would be minor, and the Mother Church of Chicago Poles would be preserved.</p><p>The state agreed to the change. So today, when you travel the Kennedy, you can see where the road curves around the church, just as Prusinski proposed. But there&rsquo;s a final bit of irony here.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/00--Expressway%20curve%20near%20Division%20%281961-City%20of%20Chicago%29%20-%20Copy.jpg" title="Northwest Expressway at Division, 1961 (City of Chicago)" /></div><p>In 1958 Joe Rostenkowski&rsquo;s son Dan was elected to Congress. Dan Rostenkowski stayed at that job for 36 years and became a power on Capitol Hill. All that time he kept a residence a block from St. Stan&rsquo;s.</p><p>Somewhere along the line, the legend developed that the congressman had been the person who&rsquo;d saved St. Stan&#39;s. And now that stretch of expressway near the church &mdash; which helped drive Dan Rostenkowski&#39;s father from office &mdash; is nicknamed Rosty&rsquo;s Curve.</p></p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/why-kennedy-curves-division-street-101066 106 years at Milwaukee and Ashland http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/106-years-milwaukee-and-ashland-100991 <p><p><em>Life</em> magazine had a photographer with a distinctive family album. Each year he&#39;d take a picture of himself with his daughter, starting on her first birthday. This went on for something like 40 years. It&#39;s a remarkable document of the process of human aging.</p><p>Today I&#39;m posting a small album on the aging of a city &mdash; five photos, covering 106 years. The location is Milwaukee Avenue at Ashland, looking northwest. There was no grand plan involved in taking these pictures. And except for the last picture, there was no attempt to match any of the earlier views.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milwaukee%20Ave%20%40%20Ashland%20%281906%29.jpg" title="1906 (CTA photo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milwaukee%20Ave%20%40%20Ashland%20%281935%29.jpg" title="1935 (CTA photo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milwaukee%20Ave%20%40%20Ashland%20%281972%29.jpg" title="1971 (photo by the author)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milwaukee%20Ave%20%40%20Ashland%20%281975%29.JPG" title="1976 (photo by the author)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milwaukee%20Ave%20%40%20Ashland%20%282012%29.JPG" title="2012 (photo by the author)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">You can see some continuity in the buildings. The Wieboldt store from the 1935 photo is the building with the flag on the roof in the the 1971 photo &mdash; and it&#39;s still there in 1976 and 2012. On the other side of Milwaukee Avenue, check out the building with the &quot; . . .HLER&quot; painted near the top in the 1906 photo. That building is also visible in the three more recent photos.</div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/106-years-milwaukee-and-ashland-100991 There in Chicago (#9) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-06/there-chicago-9-100225 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/68--2012--Milwaukee-Augusta.JPG" title="Milwaukee Avenue at Augusta Boulevard -- view northwest" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/68--1940_0.jpg" title="The same view of Milwaukee and Augusta in 1940 (CTA photo)" /></div></div><p><br />How well did you find your way around 1940 Chicago?</p><p>The older photo provides a number of location clues. The construction materials laying around indicate that Milwaukee Avenue is being prepared for subway excavation &mdash; when the street is dug up, the streetcars will run on temporary tracks along the side. The cross-street has the distinctive street lights that were used only on Park District thoroughfares (Augusta Boulevard, in this instance).</p><p>All the visible buildings on the east side of Milwaukee are gone. The building on the northwest corner of Augusta remains, as does the headquarters of the Polish Roman Catholic Union on the southwest corner. The other buildings closer to the camera were razed during expressway construction in the 1950s.</p></p> Fri, 29 Jun 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-06/there-chicago-9-100225 There in Chicago (#6) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-04/there-chicago-6-98080 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/54--2012--Chicago-Ashland.JPG" title="Chicago Avenue at Ashland, view west"></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/54--1922--CTA_0.jpg" title="1922 (CTA photo)"></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">How well did you find your way around 1922 Chicago?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The clue here is the original Goldblatt's department store. Though Goldblatt's has gone out of business, the expanded version of its historic building still stands at 1625 West Chicago Avenue. However, the small frame structures at the southwest corner of Chicago and Ashland were torn down when Ashland Avenue was widened a few years later.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 Apr 2012 08:31:27 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-04/there-chicago-6-98080 Video: Chicago inspectors trash food at new kitchen http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2010/02/chicago-health-inspectors-trash-food-at-new-kitchen/14438 <p>Maybe it's because I hadn't eaten lunch yet. But I could hardly believe my eyes this afternoon as I videotaped Chicago health inspectors throwing out about 200 servings of fine-looking beef ravioli at a state-of-the-art kitchen in West Town. About a minute and a half in to the tape, check out how fast they dumped the fresh salad that was supposed to go with the ravioli. <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="400" height="300" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9305945&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9305945&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> Since Thursday, the inspectors have trashed hundreds of pounds of food at <a href="http://www.kitchenchicago.com/">Kitchen Chicago</a>, a facility shared by 11 small businesses, including caterers, candymakers and artisan bakers. Frances Guichard, food protection director at the Chicago Department of Public Health, says the city found no unsanitary conditions. Guichard says many of the businesses, rather, hadn't labeled their storage areas and lacked receipts for some of the ingredients. None of the tenants, she adds, had received a city license to prepare food for the public. <!--break--> The kitchen's owner, Alexis Leverenz, does have a license and says the city told her the tenants could operate under it. Some of her renters, for their part, insist the city told them it couldn't issue multiple licenses to a single address. Now the tenants have lost food worth thousands of dollars. They're worried about losing clients too. And the city has slapped Leverenz with three citations that could lead to fines and tougher enforcement. "It's ridiculous," Leverenz told me as the inspectors filled her garbage bins with food. "What purpose does this serve?" Plenty, responds Guichard, who calls the paperwork vital for keeping tabs on the food's transport, preparation and storage. "If someone gets sick, you can track it back to the source," she says. At least one of Chicago's neighbors cuts through some of the red tape. Carl Caneva, who manages environmental health for Evanston, says that city allows its sole shared kitchen, Now We're Cookin', to operate under a single license. <em>Find an extended </em><em>audio version of this story at <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=39904">chicagopublicradio.org</a>.</em></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2010 19:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2010/02/chicago-health-inspectors-trash-food-at-new-kitchen/14438