WBEZ | Chicago neighborhoods http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-neighborhoods Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In Chicago, neighborhoods that are too black don't gentrify http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-neighborhoods-are-too-black-dont-gentrify-110622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/4078294934_2075aa0ed5_o-1-_vert-818749762e22fbc8b4877fdbe97cc7058dbdddf8-s51.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>So here&#39;s one way folks tend to think about gentrification in big cities: poorer (therefore: browner) neighborhood becomes more attractive to folks of more means (therefore: whiter) who are in search of lower housing costs. As more and more better-off folks move in, new amenities and fresh investment follow. And that, in turn, brings more demand for the neighborhood among potential gentrifiers, which pushes up housing costs and drives out the people of color who lived there before.</p><p>A <a href="http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/08/a-new-view-of-gentrification/" target="_blank">new study by Harvard researchers</a> suggests that there&#39;s also a racial ceiling to how neighborhoods gentrify, at least in Chicago, the city they examined. Robert Sampson and Jackelyn Hwang found that neighborhoods that are too black tend to stay that way.</p><p>&quot;It used to be referred to as &#39;white flight,&#39;&quot; Sampson said, referring to the postwar years in which whites left big cities as more blacks moved into them. &quot;But we refer to it in the paper as &#39;white avoidance&#39; &mdash; [gentrifiers are] not moving into neighborhoods where there are lots of black people. In Chicago, the [neighborhoods] that are gentrifying are the ones where there was a white working class, or Latinos, but not many blacks.&quot;</p><p>The researchers started with earlier data showing neighborhoods that appeared to be undergoing gentrification. But when they looked at those same areas more recently, they found that in areas where the population was 40 percent black, that gentrification seemed to grind to a halt.</p><p>Indeed, Sampson said that many of the neighborhoods that have become synonymous with gentrification &mdash; like the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn &mdash; actually underscore their study&#39;s findings. That neighborhood <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/05/02/fashion/20130502-WBURG.html" target="_blank">has a reputation of being a hive of hipsters</a> who moved in and displaced all the black people who lived there before. But before it gentrified, the neighborhood actually boasted a sizable Polish-American working class and a large Latino population, while its black population had always been very small. (It was about 7 percent in 1990.) Sampson said the <a href="http://nymag.com/nymetro/realestate/neighborhoods/features/11775/index2.html" target="_blank">Bed-Stuys</a> and <a href="http://nymag.com/realestate/features/48328/index4.html" target="_blank">Harlems</a> of the world &mdash; heavily black urban neighborhoods that have seen lots of whites move in &mdash; are outliers, not the rule.</p><p>The researchers used a novel method of qualitative research to determine how much change a neighborhood had experienced &mdash; a mix of Census data, surveys of thousands of Chicago residents, and Google Street View:</p><blockquote><div><p>The new research builds on a 1995 study that examined gentrification trends in nearly two dozen cities across the country, including nearly half of the census tracts in Chicago. The earlier study categorized census tracts according to how gentrified they were based on how much visible reinvestment they were seeing.</p><p>To examine whether those trends had continued, Hwang and Sampson targeted areas that had earlier been identified as gentrified and adjacent census tracts, and began using Google Street View to examine them in painstaking detail.</p></div></blockquote><p>From Google Street View, the researchers gathered visual evidence of hundreds of blocks around Chicago. They tagged evidence of new construction, renovations of existing homes, public improvements, and signs of &quot;disorder&quot; like graffiti or litter.</p><p>&quot;While gentrifiers prefer a certain level of diversity &mdash; there&#39;s a sense that gentrifiers are hip, urban pioneers &mdash; there&#39;s a kind of diversity threshold wherein gentrification goes up, but then you get to a certain level [and it stops],&quot; Sampson told me. &quot;Really segregated, less-diverse neighborhoods tend to have less gentrification over time.&quot;</p><p>Hwang said that they controlled for things like poverty, the amount of public housing, and availability of public transit, which showed that race was a key factor in how much change a neighborhood saw. That&#39;s pretty consistent with other research on race and housing, she said.</p><p>&quot;In a lot of the literature on segregation and residential preferences, studies have found that people have preferred neighborhoods with more whites and least preferred neighborhoods with all blacks &mdash; and Asians and Latinos in the middle,&quot; Hwang said.</p><p><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/" target="_blank">As Ta-Nehisi Coates&#39; blockbuster story on reparations exhaustively outlined</a>, Chicago has a particularly sordid history when it comes to race and housing. The city&#39;s policies and their consequences have contributed to deep levels of residential segregation there, and Sampson said that history continues to shape the way Chicagoans think of different neighborhoods.</p><p>&quot;[There&#39;s a] perception that predominantly black neighborhoods are higher-crime, more disorderly,&quot; he said. &quot;And that&#39;s feeding into which neighborhoods &mdash; among poor neighborhoods &mdash; are being gentrified.&quot;</p><p>Hwang said that also means that the same neighborhoods that saw massive disinvestment when they became mostly black and poor are not benefiting from the waves of new construction and new businesses that gentrification necessarily brings along with it.</p><p>&quot;What&#39;s really happening is that the neighborhoods that could use some reinvestment and renewal aren&#39;t even being touched,&quot; she said.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/08/08/338831318/chicago-neighborhoods-that-are-too-black-resist-gentrification" target="_blank">via NPR&#39;s Code Switch blog</a></em></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-neighborhoods-are-too-black-dont-gentrify-110622 There is 'home' there http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/there-home-there-108810 <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/4110857626_80c28d7bac_z.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/spylaw01)" /></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">I tell people where I live and they say little to nothing. I tell people where I came from, where I started, and they show an understanding that I live where I currently do for a reason.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">For a large part of my childhood, I straddled the line between city girl and suburban girl. My grandparents, currently living in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, like to say that they raised me during the first years of my life. I have vague memories of my immediate family&rsquo;s time in this neighborhood, but I will always remember my grandparents&rsquo; home &ndash; truly, my second home &ndash; in a quiet enclave of the area.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">The blocks were long, very long, seemingly neverending. The houses were never small and usually fit somewhere between just right and too much. Later, while living in Oak Park, my friends would never believe that you could stand in the middle of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city and confuse it for the simplicity of the suburbs.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">&ldquo;The houses are just as big,&rdquo; I used to begin. Thinking about our cramped apartment off Lake street and later, our stucco bungalow, I would add, &ldquo;Even bigger.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">When you are young, it is difficult to understand one&rsquo;s hood as anything other than home. I had no concept of Austin&rsquo;s violence. I remember New Year&rsquo;s Eve and the wave of gunshots that would go off in celebration. It was a frightening, if not expected reminder that other people existed when the streets get quickly quiet and the sky gets quickly dark at night. In winter, we were kept indoors, kept away from any perceived dangers.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">&ldquo;Do you remember how their used to be shops all up and down Madison?&rdquo; my mother asked my aunt. We were all gathered around the dining room table at my parents&rsquo; home in Oak Park for a final, gluttonous, post-birthday meal.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">I looked up. My mother turned toward me.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">&ldquo;It was like we had our own downtown,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But then the riots happened.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3597296136_45320e21c3_z.jpg" style="height: 207px; width: 310px; float: left;" title="(Flickr/Laurie Chipps)" />When talking about the neighborhood her family finally settled in after moving around the city after their migration from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, my mother has a tendency to end her statements with, &ldquo;But then the riots happened.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">Nothing else needs to be said. For her, for many people, there was the &ldquo;before&rdquo; and the &ldquo;after.&rdquo; The West Side of Chicago, like many black-dominated neighborhoods across the country, never truly recovered from the riots after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.&rsquo;s assassination. An older generation is in mourning of what they once knew. A younger generation is in mourning of what could have been. An even younger generation knows no difference at all.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">Why do some neighborhoods thrive while others find constant suffering? It is not for lack of effort. The blocks around my grandparents&rsquo; home are largely calm and friendly. Just like in my childhood, I still see women setting up snow cone stands in front of their homes. Kids still play with each other, running up and down the block until the weight of the sun and the weight of the day has worn them out. Neighbors still know and speak to each other.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">This is more than I can say about where I currently live. I am friends with the women in my three-flat apartment building, but I know no one else on my block. A couple that lives in a condo building next door only pause in my presence to stop their dog from mauling my arm as it has tried to do since I first moved into my building two years ago.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">There is community where I grew up, where my family is from, where my grandparents still live. But sometimes community is not enough. A cul-de-sac was built at the end of my grandparents&rsquo; block to deter loitering on the corner after a shooting.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">&ldquo;I was on the couch and had to jump to the floor,&rdquo; my grandmother once said to me about the incident. This was a comical image in my head at the time, but she gave me this look. This was not the first time it happened, she seemed to be saying. It was the first time she was telling me about it.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">The <em>New York Times</em> recently <a href="http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/can-you-tell-an-up-and-coming-neighborhood-by-its-emergent-energy/?src=recg" target="_blank">asked</a> if we can tell which neighborhoods are &ldquo;next&rdquo; based on their &ldquo;emergent energy.&rdquo; I would say yes, this is possible, but also coupled with more practical factors. How close is it to public transportation? What is its proximity to other &ldquo;good neighborhoods?&rdquo; Is it safe, or rather, can it be safe? Is its identity too strong to be overtaken by the forces of gentrification? (Because in the end, isn&rsquo;t a &ldquo;next&rdquo; neighborhood almost always about stripping bare its essence?)</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-160ccd6f-73ed-0905-468a-9ad6231bdab4">Even living in it, one can never know a place truly. There are more pockets of my neighborhood I do not know than ones I do. To write off any one neighborhood is to discredit and discount the people living in it, trying to make it something other than what most see. I can feel that energy in parts of Austin, that spark needed to turn a place around, but sometimes a spark is not enough. If a weak and battered foundation exists, one spark can destroy everything in its path. It is easier to destroy than to build.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious is the co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbezs-changing-channels" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. She also writes about race and culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 01 Oct 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/there-home-there-108810 Untangling TIFs http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/untangling-tifs-108611 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="500" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Kmx4ryRc2Gc" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Many Chicagoans have heard the word <em>TIF</em>, but few people understand how they work, and they may even have trouble untangling all the threads related to this complicated economic development tool.</p><p>TIF stands for <a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/tsd/tifs/Pages/TIFs101.aspx">tax increment financing</a>, a definition that &mdash; on its own &mdash; misses the nuance in TIF programs. It also skips right over what the point is in the first place. So, Emily Hanneman of Logan Square probably wasn&rsquo;t alone when she asked us:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>What are TIFs? Where does the money come from and who decides where it goes?</em></p><p>To her credit, Emily may be a bit more informed than most when it comes to TIFs, since she&rsquo;d been to one of Tom Tresser&rsquo;s TIF presentations (more on him below). There, she learned who receives TIF money collected in the Logan Square neighborhood. But, obviously, there was a lot more explaining to do.</p><p>To help her out, we recruited three experts who&rsquo;ve spent time answering questions similar to Emily&rsquo;s. They are:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li>Tom Tresser, who&rsquo;s the lead organizer of The <a href="http://civiclab">CivicLab</a>&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.tifreports.com/">TIF Illumination Project</a>.</li><li>Cook County Clerk David Orr, who&rsquo;s responsible for <a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/tsd/tifs/pages/tifreports.aspx">Chicago&rsquo;s TIF reports</a>. His office offers basic resources on how TIFs work.</li><li>Rachel Weber, UIC Urban Planning and Policy Professor, who&rsquo;s studied TIFs for almost a decade. She constantly reminds Chicagoans that a TIF is a tough concept to tackle.</li></ul><p>Armed with our experts and some Sharpies (and inspired by <a href="http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate">RSA Animates videos</a>), we made a whiteboard explainer ... sans the whiteboard.</p><p>Think of our video as &ldquo;TIFs 101&rdquo; a way to wet your beak before diving head first into TIF world. (But be warned, we know from experience it&rsquo;s tough to resurface quickly.) The purported benefits of TIFs are baked into their very existence (TIF districts are meant to spur local economic growth), so we also lay out critiques that have been made against the programs and how they&rsquo;ve been run in Chicago:</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/tif.html" target="_blank">TIF info from the City of Chicago</a></li><li><a href="http://tifreports.com/" target="_blank">TIF Illumination Project</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/tsd/tifs/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">TIF-related videos from the Cook County Clerk&rsquo;s Office</a></li><li><a href="http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/voorheesctr/tif/public_html/" target="_blank">TIF Information Forum (UIC)</a></li></ul><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1176383_451129338328381_1253004708_n.jpg" style="height: 383px; width: 500px;" title="(WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:11px;">WBEZ&#39;s data intern Simran Khosla illustrates how TIFs work, and it takes way more Sharpies than you&#39;d expect (above). For more behind-the-scenes photos, stories and general stream of consciousness, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject" target="_blank">&#39;Like&#39; Curious City on Facebook</a>.&nbsp;</span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p><em>Simran Khosla is WBEZ&rsquo;s data intern. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/simkhosla" target="_blank">@simkhosla</a>.</em></p><p><em><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;">Corrections: A portion of the video above wasn&#39;t clear on the meaning of taxes that &quot;stay frozen.&quot; The correct wording: Property taxes (and property tax bills) can rise. But under Illinois TIF law, the amount of tax revenue going to taxing bodies is frozen for at least 23 years. The difference goes to the TIF.&nbsp;</span></em></p><p><em><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;">We also misspelled the name of a source&#39;s name. The correct spelling is Tom Tresser.&nbsp;</span></em></p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="font-family: Cambria, serif;"><o:p></o:p></span></p></p> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 17:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/untangling-tifs-108611 Two views of Pilsen, decades apart http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/two-views-pilsen-decades-apart-107755 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/02--1947--West.jpg" title="1947--18th Street near Wood Street, view east (author's collection)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/02--2013.JPG" title="2013--the same location" /></div></div></div></div><p>Chicago&#39;s Pilsen is named for a city of ancient Bohemia, what is now the Czech Republic. In the course of 66 years this neighborhood has changed from Czech to Mexican. Meanwhile, the streetcar has been replaced by a bus, the cars look different, and the &#39;L&#39; station has been renovated.</p><p>And yet all of the buildings are still in place. Film-makers searching for a 1940s streetscape would do well to consider this stretch of 18th Street.</p></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/two-views-pilsen-decades-apart-107755 Changing Roseland http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/changing-roseland-107691 <p><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/26--1955--South_0.jpg" title="1955--Michigan Avenue at 112th Place--view north (CTA photo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/26--2013--Michigan%20%40%20112th%20Place.JPG" title="2013--the same location" /></div></div><p>This section of Michigan Avenue runs along the top of a ridge, and was originally a trail used by the native peoples. In the early 20th Century, the State Street streetcar line was extended via Michigan to 119th Street, and a shopping strip developed. That&#39;s a postwar PCC streetcar in the 1955 photo.</p><p>Gately&#39;s Peoples Store, long a fixture on the Michigan Avenue, closed&nbsp;during the&nbsp;1980s. The streetcars have been replaced by buses, too.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/changing-roseland-107691 West Garfield Park, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/west-garfield-park-past-and-present-107658 <p><p>In 1869 the West Side Park Board created three major parks.&nbsp;One of them, Central Park, was later renamed Garfield Park.&nbsp;The neighborhood immediately west of this park is Community Area 26&ndash;West Garfield Park (WGP).</p><p>Settlement here began in the 1840s, when a plank road was laid along the line of Lake Street.&nbsp;Chicago&rsquo;s first railroad came through the area in 1848.&nbsp;The railroad became the Chicago &amp; North Western, and later built&nbsp;train shops&nbsp;near today&rsquo;s Keeler Avenue.</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/06-17--01--Madison%20%40%20Pulaski-b%20%282013%29.JPG" title="The heart of West Garfield Park--Madison and Pulaski" /></div><p>But it was the park that really got the community going.&nbsp;New construction sprang up in the area around it.&nbsp;There were single family homes and some large apartments, though two-flats were predominant.&nbsp;Graystone was popular.</p><p>A gentlemen&rsquo;s&nbsp;trotting club&nbsp;operated along the east side of Crawford (Pulaski) south of Madison.&nbsp;Gambling kingpin Mike McDonald took over the track in 1888.&nbsp;The Garfield Park Race Track became the center of controversy, as neighbors feared for their property values. There were shootings and one near riot.&nbsp;The track closed for good in 1906.</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/06-17--02-WGP%20Map.jpg" title="" /></div><p>In 1893 the West Side&rsquo;s first elevated railroad&ndash;another Mike McDonald project&ndash;went up&nbsp;over Lake Street.&nbsp;This line was soon joined by the Garfield Park &lsquo;L&rsquo;&nbsp;at Harrison Street.&nbsp;Now downtown Chicago was only minutes away.&nbsp;More people flocked to WGP.</p><p>The community reached residential maturity in 1919.&nbsp;The largest ethnic group was the Irish, and the St. Mel&rsquo;s complex on Washington Boulevard took on impressive proportions.&nbsp;There was also a significant Russian Jewish settlement.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>WGP&rsquo;s boom continued into the 1920s.&nbsp;The shopping district along Madison Street was one of the busiest outside the Loop.&nbsp;The 4,000-seat Marbro Theater was among the city&rsquo;s largest.&nbsp;The nearby Paradise was slightly smaller, but was often called &ldquo;the world&rsquo;s most beautiful movie house.&rdquo;</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/06-17--04--Pulaski%20Rd%20%40%20Madison%20St%20%281934%29-view%20north.jpg" title="Pulaski at Madison, looking north toward the Guyon Hotel, 1934 (CTA photo)" /></div><p>Cultural institutions included an active West Side Historical Society and the Legler Regional Branch of the Chicago Public Library.&nbsp;Paradise owner J. Louis Guyon opened a new hotel down the block from his theater.&nbsp;The Midwest Athletic Club was completed in 1928, the tallest building between the Loop and Des Moines, Iowa.</p><p>Then came the Great Depression, followed by World War II.&nbsp;WGP stagnated, but remained stable.</p><p>During the 1950s, African-Americans began moving into the community.&nbsp;They were usually met with hostility.&nbsp;Panic-peddling by real estate companies scared long-time residents into selling. Others were forced out by construction of the Congress (Eisenhower) Expressway. WGP changed from all-White to all-Black within 10 years.</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/06-17--03--Mike%20McDonald%27s%20Lake%20Street%20%27L%27.jpg" title="Mike McDonald's Lake Street 'L'" /></div><p>Many homes and businesses were destroyed in a 1965 riot.&nbsp;The trouble developed after a fire truck leaving the Wilcox Street firehouse knocked over a light pole, killing a woman.&nbsp;More of WGP burned down following the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. &nbsp;in 1968.&nbsp;The big movie theaters closed, major retailers&nbsp;left.&nbsp;Crime rose.</p><p>Now people began moving out.&nbsp;Vacant lots became common.&nbsp;In 1961 CTA had added a new Kostner station to its Congress (Blue Line) &lsquo;L&rsquo; route, to take care of heavy patronage. Less than 20 years later, the station was shuttered.</p><p>Jimmy Carter came to WGP in 1986.&nbsp;The ex-president was working with&nbsp;Habitat for Humanity, and personally helped construct new homes at the corner of Maypole and Kildare. Despite their pedigree, the buildings became derelict. They were torn down a few years ago.</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/06-17--05--Jimmy%20Carter%20Habitat%20for%20Humanity%20homes%20%282010%29--SE%20corner%20Maypole%20and%20Kildare%20Ave.jpg" title="Jimmy Carter's Habitat for Humanity homes, 2010" /></div><p>No one can deny that WGP has problems. Yet there are positives.&nbsp;There are still stores at Madison-Pulaski, and they still draw customers.&nbsp;Compare this to the fate of another old-line shopping district, 63rd-Halsted.</p><p>Some blocks have been rehabbed.&nbsp;The Tilton School is an architectural gem designed by Dwight Perkins.&nbsp;The nearby Garfield Park Conservatory draws people to the area.</p><p>A century ago West Garfield Park promoted itself as being &ldquo;only five miles from the Loop.&rdquo; That location is still a selling point.&nbsp;Perhaps the next economic boom will bring better times to the community.</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/06-17--06--renovated%20two-flats%20%284200-block%20W%20Washington%20Blvd%29.jpg" title="Renovated apartments on Washington Boulevard" /></div></p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/west-garfield-park-past-and-present-107658 Changing Edgewater http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/changing-edgewater-107650 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/25--1948z-image_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe frameborder="0" height="450" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/June/BeforeAfterSchmidt/EdgeWaterBeforeAfter.html" width="620"></iframe><br /><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Today&#39;s pictures are from the North Side Edgewater community. The 1948 photo is dominated by the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Before Lake Shore Drive was extended north in the 1950s, the hotel had direct access to the lake, and really did have its own beach.</p><p>The hotel closed in 1967 and was torn down a few years later. The double-deck buses are long gone, too.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/changing-edgewater-107650 Changing South Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/changing-south-chicago-107641 <p><p>We&#39;ve had some fun here with &quot;Then and Now&quot; photos of Chicago. Sometimes the changes in a site have been striking. For today, let&#39;s look at a South Chicago location that looks dramatically different from its appearance a half-century ago.</p><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/27--1956--89th-Avenue%20O_0.jpg" title="1956--89th Street, looking east toward Avenue O (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/27--2013--89th-Avenue%20O.jpg" title="2013--the same location" /></div></div></div><p>The older photo shows 89th Street and Avenue O when the U.S. Steel South Works was still going strong. In 1956 this was the east terminal of the 95th Street bus line. By the way, the destination sign on the bus says it&#39;s headed for Evergreen Plaza--new then, but closed now.</p><p>In 2013 the only visible remnant of the plant is that one metal utility pole. But redevelopment is on the way, and I plan to come back in a few years to take another picture.</p></p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/changing-south-chicago-107641 Mount Greenwood, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/mount-greenwood-past-and-present-107407 <p><p>Mount Greenwood is the far Southwest corner of Chicago.&nbsp;Compared to the rest of the city, it looks fairly new. Yet the community has a long history.</p><p>During the last half of the 19th Century, Chicago was the fastest growing city in the world.&nbsp;That meant a future boom for at least one type of real estate: cemeteries.&nbsp;In 1879, George Waite plotted a burial ground in a farming area near&nbsp;111th Street and Sacramento Avenue.</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/MG--Central%20Park%20Ave..JPG" title="Welcome to Mount Greenwood!" /></div><p>Waite named his cemetery Mount Greenwood.&nbsp;Within a short time, other cemeteries followed.</p><p>Funerals were an all-day affair then.&nbsp;To serve the mourners, a strip of restaurants and saloons developed along 111th Street.&nbsp;They also attracted patrons of the nearby Worth Race Track.</p><p>Despite all the dead residents, the neighborhood was getting a rowdy reputation.&nbsp;The Village of Morgan Park wanted to annex the area and shut down the saloons.&nbsp;But in 1907, local property owners beat them to the punch and chartered their own village.</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/MG--Map.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Mount Greenwood was independent for 20 years.The big event of that time was the Battle of the Ditch. Mount Greenwood Cemetery had a drainage ditch.&nbsp;The village passed an ordinance against the ditch, saying it polluted their drinking water.&nbsp;When the cemetery ignored the law, the villagers took up picks and shovels, and filled in the ditch themselves.</p><p>(All-day funerals? Drainage ditch Wars? Aren&rsquo;t you glad you live in the 21<sup>st</sup> Century?)</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/MG--111th%20Street.JPG" title="111th Street near Kedzie" /></div><p>In 1927 Mount Greenwood had about 3,000 residents. There were no street lights, no sewers, few paved streets and&nbsp;drinking water came from wells.&nbsp;The citizens voted to become part of Chicago.&nbsp;Just in time for the Great Depression . . .&nbsp;</p><p>Years passed.&nbsp;More people moved in, but the improvements lagged behind.&nbsp;During the late 1930s, the federal government began playing catch-up with those overdue projects.&nbsp;Just in time for World War II . . .</p><p>The war ended in 1945.&nbsp;Then Mount Greenwood really grew.&nbsp;The population hit 12,000 in 1950, and 10 years later passed 21,000.&nbsp;The 1970 count peaked at 23,000.</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/MG--Improvised%20park%20along%20railroad%20tracks-Sacramento%20Ave%20near%20107th%20St.jpg" title="Improvised park along freight tracks" /></div><p>Most of the postwar settlers were Irish Catholic.&nbsp;Today, when many religious high schools have been closed, Mount Greenwood still supports three of them.&nbsp;St. Xavier University is also located in the community. The main cluster of these institutions, along Central Park Avenue, forms a regular Catholic Campus.</p><p>John R. Powers, who grew up in the area, wrote a whimsical account of his youth in <em>The Last Catholic in America</em>. The book became a best-seller, and others followed. As a salute to the cemeteries, Powers calls the neighborhood &ldquo;The Seven Holy Tombs.&rdquo;</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/MG--Mother%20McAuley%20High%20School%20on%20the%20Catholic%20Campus.jpg" title="The Catholic Campus--Mother McAuley High School" /></div><p>By 1984 nearly all the old truck farms had been subdivided.&nbsp;The last Mount Greenwood farm, on land southeast of 111th and Pulaski, was also the last remaining farm within the Chicago city limits.&nbsp; The Board of Education purchased the property.&nbsp;Today it is the site of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Science.</p><p>Mount Greenwood has become a mature, fully-built community. But it feels uncrowded, almost suburban. Most of the homes are single family, the business establishments are small, there are parks, and open space within the Catholic Campus and along the railroad.&nbsp;Having the farm and all those cemeteries helps, too.</p><p>After four decades of small declines, Mount Greenwood&rsquo;s population rose slightly in the 2010 Census, to 19,093. The residents are identified as 86 percent White, 5 percent Black, and 7 percent Hispanic.</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/MG--Stay%20off%20the%20farm%21.jpg" title="Stay off the farm!" /></div></p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/mount-greenwood-past-and-present-107407 Uptown, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/uptown-past-and-present-107115 <p><p>Uptown. The name seems more generic than natural.&nbsp;And the district the city calls Community Area #3 did start out as a series of separate communities.</p><p>During the 1850s, two rival railroads&ndash;the Milwaukee Road and the Chicago &amp; North Western&ndash;built parallel lines north from Chicago.&nbsp;Where the railroads opened stations, settlement sprang up.&nbsp;Buena Park was about five miles north of Madison Street.&nbsp;Moving further north, there was Sheridan Park, then Edgewater.&nbsp;All three were annexed by Chicago in 1889.</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/Uptown1--Broadway-Wilson.JPG" title="Welcome to Uptown!" /></div><div><p>In 1900 the first North Side &lsquo;L&rsquo; line pushed through&nbsp;the&nbsp;area to a terminal at Wilson Avenue. Rapid growth followed.&nbsp;The three distinct communities lost their separate identities and blended together.&nbsp;By the 1920s the whole area was referred to as Uptown.&nbsp;</p></div><p>Why &ldquo;Uptown?&rdquo;&nbsp;If you think about it, that was pretty savvy marketing.&nbsp;The name tried to put the community on the same level as Downtown, aka the Loop.&nbsp;The main local business street also adopted a more cosmopolitan identity: Evanston Avenue became Broadway.</p><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/Map.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>In New York, Midtown was outpacing the city&rsquo;s older business areas. The same thing could happen in Chicago.&nbsp;Uptown boosters predicted that one day the Broadway Limited would locate its Chicago terminal at Wilson Avenue.</p><p>It seemed possible in the 1920s.&nbsp;Department stores, banks, hotels, and every manner of business were moving in.&nbsp;You could find or do almost anything&nbsp;in Uptown.&nbsp;Even Al Capone was investing in local real estate.</p><p>People from all over Chicago came to Uptown for entertainment.&nbsp;The action centered around the intersection of Broadway and Lawrence. Major movie palaces included the Riviera and the 4,000-seat Uptown, the city&rsquo;s largest.&nbsp;For dancing, there was the Aragon ballroom. The Green Mill was the place to go for hot jazz, and over on Clark Street, the Rainbo Gardens complex offered assorted cabaret shows.</p><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/Uptown3--Dover%20Street_0.JPG" title="Victorian homes in Sheridan Park" /></div></div><p>After a&nbsp;busy Saturday night, there were churches available.&nbsp;All Saints Episcopal and St. Mary of the Lake Catholic were architectural treasures.&nbsp;The biggest congregation gathered at the People&rsquo;s Church, where flamboyant Unitarian pastor Preston Bradley held forth.&nbsp;Summer Sundays might also include a visit to Lake Michigan for fishing off the Horseshoe or swimming at Montrose Beach.</p><p>And when you died, you could still find what you needed in Uptown.&nbsp;Graceland Cemetery, the city&rsquo;s most fashionable burying ground, was located in the community.</p><p>The Crash of 1929 and the Depression hit Uptown particularly hard.&nbsp;Businesses died and money left.&nbsp;Large apartments were carved into rooming houses.&nbsp;Poorer people moved in.&nbsp;The newcomers included African-Americans, American Indians and Appalachian whites.</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/Uptown4--The%20Horseshoe.jpg" title="Montrose Beach Horseshoe" /></div><p>By 1970 portions of Wilson Avenue had become a skid row.&nbsp;The crime rate soared and &lsquo;L&rsquo; commuters were warned not to change trains at Uptown stations.&nbsp;About this time residents north of Foster seceded from Uptown, gaining official recognition as Community Area #77, Edgewater.</p><p>Some sections of Uptown remained intact.&nbsp;These were mostly on the outer edges, near the Chicago &amp; North Western tracks or along Marine Drive. Two blocks of Hutchinson Street were designated an architectural landmark district.&nbsp;The construction of Truman College helped stabilize the central area.</p><p>During the 1980s nearby Wrigleyville and Boys&rsquo; Town began attracting yuppies, and it seemed likely Uptown would follow this path. That brought protests from various community groups. They claimed that Urban Renewal simply meant Poor Removal. Three decades later, gentrification continues to be a hot-button local issue.</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/Uptown5--Argyle%20Street.jpg" title="Argyle Street, aka Chinatown North" /></div><p>Today Uptown is home to 56,000 people. One of Chicago&rsquo;s more diverse communities, the population is identified as 52 percent white, 20 percent black, 14 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian.</p><p>Uptown endures. The Green Mill and the Aragon remain in business.&nbsp;Along Argyle Street, Asian restaurants are thriving. The boarded-up Uptown Theatre still stands, awaiting a financial angel with deep pockets.&nbsp;New apartments and commercial development have replaced the old &lsquo;L&rsquo; yards&nbsp;on Broadway.</p><p>Uptown endures.</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/Uptown6--New%20Construction.JPG" title="New development at Broadway and Montrose" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/uptown-past-and-present-107115