WBEZ | North Side http://www.wbez.org/tags/north-side Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Uptown's moment as a 'Hillbilly Heaven' http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/uptowns-moment-hillbilly-heaven-111964 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203187587&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Hillbilly Heaven. That was a common nickname for Chicago&rsquo;s Uptown neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s. For about twenty years, the neighborhood, which sits between Lakeview and Rogers Park, was locally famous for being home to thousands of white Southern migrants, many of whom came from the Appalachian region. And while many migrants lived in other neighborhoods on the North Side, Uptown had the greatest concentration of Southerners and, not coincidentally, it was where the poorest members of that community lived.</p><p>The Southern influence stuck around through the &lsquo;70s, but by the &lsquo;90s, it was difficult to find many Southerners in Uptown. The history fascinated questioner Matthew Byrd, a college student originally from Chicago. Byrd is descended from Southern migrants (both of his mother&rsquo;s parents were born in West Virginia), and he grew up visiting his extended family in the South and asking his grandparents about Uptown in the &ldquo;Hillbilly Heaven&rdquo; days.</p><p>&ldquo;I always asked them why they came to Uptown &hellip; and they never gave me a definitive answer. I wanted to know why they all came to that neighborhood. &hellip; Like, why didn&rsquo;t they come to like Bridgeport or Humboldt Park. Why was it Uptown?&rdquo;</p><p>His question for Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why did so many migrants from Appalachia end up in Chicago&#39;s Uptown neighborhood during the &#39;50s and &#39;60s? Why did so many leave?</em></p><p>With help from Byrd&rsquo;s own family, historians and others, we&rsquo;re able to provide a quick account of how the neighborhood transformed from a swank, Midwestern urban neighborhood to one where, according to sociologist Todd Gitlin: &ldquo;You&rsquo;d walk down the street [and] you&rsquo;d hear some country western song coming down the window, and as you proceeded down the street, you&rsquo;d hear the same song coming out of other windows. You heard a lot of Southern accents. You saw a lot of Southern license plates.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The Great (White) Migration</span></p><p>It doesn&rsquo;t take a great mental leap to grasp why so many white Southerners came to Chicago when they did. Like most migrant groups, they came because there were abundant jobs. While we might be more familiar with <a href="http://www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/020/">&ldquo;The Second Great Migration&rdquo;</a> (1940 - 1970) &nbsp;of African Americans from the South, to the North, Midwest, and West, more white migrants than black made the trek to the North after World War II.</p><p>Chad Berry, a historian at Berea College, takes up the phenomenon in <em>Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles</em>: &ldquo;Anyone familiar with the history of especially the Upland South will immediately ask not so much why southerners left their region in droves in the twentieth century, but why it took them so long to pack their bags. ...&rdquo; The Upland South, a region that includes most of Appalachia as well as places farther west such as Western Kentucky and Arkansas, had been in an economic slump since before the Civil War, and it offered few economies apart from subsistence farming and coal mining.</p><p>But before 1920, Southerners hoping to leave had few choices. Large Northern industries could largely satisfy their hunger for cheap labor by recruiting immigrants from other countries. Chicago&rsquo;s Polish, Irish, Italian, and many other European populations all have their roots in the late 19th century. But in the 1920s, the U.S., still reeling from World War I, clamped down on immigration with a series of federal laws that drastically restricted the immigrant labor pool. This meant big industry had to turn inward for cheap labor. Berry says &ldquo;They look in three places: whites, blacks, and domestic-born Latino people.&rdquo;</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_27083" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/263449521/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><span style="font-size:10px;">Above: A 1967 pamphlet for The Chicago Southern Center, an organization that helped Southern migrants adjust to urban living. (Courtesy Chicago History Museum)</span></p><p>Southern whites and blacks began to come north, but just as the migration started, the Great Depression slowed down industry so much that jobs became scarce. The migration was put on hold until 1941. &ldquo;And then during and after World War II, there&rsquo;s an amazing demand for manufacturing,&rdquo; says Berry. &ldquo;Chicago was a real magnet for workers, just as Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland and other countless places were in the Midwest.&rdquo;</p><p>In the late 1940s (a bit earlier than Matthew Byrd had ventured), white Southerners began travelling north again, lured by stories of abundant jobs. Roger Guy, a sociologist who interviewed Southerners in Uptown during the 1990s says &ldquo;Migrants spoke about being able to leave a job, and being able to walk across the street and get another one.&rdquo;</p><p>Southerners worked in light industrial factories such as Polaroid and Zenith. Some performed more brutal and less lucrative day labor in the steel mills. Others found work in carpentry, or in the city&rsquo;s prominent candy industry, or even as handymen or shade tree mechanics.</p><p>The jobs brought changes to the traditional order of Southern life. First off, women often performed the same work that men did. And, the Southerners now worked in the same workplaces as African Americans, Latinos, and recent European immigrants. Southern migrants who hailed from the more isolated Appalachian region had never even met Catholics or Jews before coming North.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Uptown: A neighborhood ready for migrants</span></p><p>The new arrivals needed a place to arrive within the city &mdash; a neighborhood that was near industrial work but also offered affordable rents. They found Uptown. While we don&rsquo;t know which Southern migrant first settled there, or precisely when that happened, a series of events primed Uptown as a suitable port of entry.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uptown%20in%20the%201920s.jpg" style="float: right; height: 296px; width: 320px;" title="Uptown's Chelsea Hotel, on the left, opened in 1923 and required its first residents to rent rooms on a monthly basis to ensure no 'transients' stayed in the building. (Photo courtesy jontrott.com) " /></p><p>According to Roger Guy, Uptown in the 1920s rivaled The Loop as the premier shopping and entertainment destination in Chicago. It was the heart of Chicago&rsquo;s silent film industry, and there were several monolithic brick residential hotels where professionals could stay for weeks, months or longer, depending on their busy and shifting schedules.Young single people could live in fancy Art-Deco apartments and enjoy an active nightlife. The Uptown Theater &mdash; &nbsp;at the time, Chicago&rsquo;s second-largest entertainment venue &mdash; showed movies and stage shows, and contained a nightclub and several shops. The &ldquo;Moorish&rdquo;-looking Aragon theater featured highbrow jazz music, while the Green Mill Gardens and the Arcadia Ballroom catered to younger, wilder patrons.</p><p>The depressed economy of the 1930s saw the neighborhood change significantly. The film industry went to Hollywood, the nightlife became seedier and many of the wealthier tenants left. To save money, landlords deferred maintenance, and to keep their units profitable, they began subdividing large luxury apartments into single- and double-room units to rent to a less wealthy clientele. Many residential hotel rooms were similarly converted to small studios. By the 1950s, Uptown was full of cheap, formerly fancy apartments.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&lsquo;Hillbilly Heaven&rsquo;</span></p><p>As a port of entry, many Southerners came to Uptown because they knew somebody there, and knew they could find cheap rent. Those who could find good jobs often moved to other, quieter neighborhoods, but those who couldn&rsquo;t tended to stay in Uptown. That meant it became the locus of Southern white poverty in Chicago.</p><p>Many Southerners who lived there remember the neighborhood fondly. They enjoyed the opportunity to hear country music, or even familiar accents. But our questioner&rsquo;s grandmother, Linda Lambert, says her family was in for a shock when they arrived from West Virginia in 1965.</p><p>&ldquo;There were many Southern people,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;but they weren&#39;t the Southern people we were used to being around. They were a little rough around the edges. If I was getting ready to go to the store, my dad would watch me walk down the block. Somebody would be whistling at me, and it was kind of upsetting.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="420" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//slides.com/loganjaffe-1/deck-2/embed?token=y7n404tH" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="576"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:10px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Above: Photos of Appalachian migrants in Uptown taken by Bob Rehak, who documented the neighborhood throughout the 1970s. See his photo book: <a href="http://bobrehak.com/wordpress/uptown-portrait-of-a-chicago-neighborhood-in-the-mid-1970s-by-robert-rehak/" target="_blank"><em>Chicago&#39;s Uptown: 1973-77</em></a> for more.&nbsp;</span></span></p><p>Southerners developed a bad reputation among some Chicagoans. In the 1950s, The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> ran a series of articles about Southerners in Uptown, featuring reporter Norma Lee Browning. Although she developed a reputation as a tough investigative reporter, Browning&rsquo;s articles were loaded with stereotypes about rural Southerners. Here&rsquo;s an excerpt from the series&rsquo; first article, entitled &ldquo;<a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1957/03/03/page/1/article/girl-reporter-visits-jungles-of-hillbillies" target="_blank">Girl Reporter Visits Jungles of Hillbillies</a>&rdquo;:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Authorities are reluctant to point a finger at any one segment of the population or nationality group, but they agree that the southern hillbilly migrants, who have descended on Chicago like a plague of locusts in the last few years, have the lowest standard of living and moral code [if any] of all, the biggest capacity for liquor, and the most savage and vicious tactics when drunk, which is most of the time.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Another article purported to document the newcomers&rsquo; family life: &ldquo;They get married one day, unmarried the next, and in the confusion of common law marriages many children never know who their parents are &mdash; and nobody cares.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite the apparent gross exaggerations and fabrications from the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>&rsquo;s reporting, it appears there <em>were</em> some unsavory characters in Uptown. Roger Guy explains Uptown had some of the characteristics of an oil boomtown, where young single men would work for a few weeks, and then use their wages to party.</p><p>Migrant Linda Lambert says, &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s like any other culture, you got your good and you got your bad. There was a lot of poverty. That is true. But a lot of people who lived there lived there until they could do better. It was just a stop in the road.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Displacement</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uptown%20demolition%20area.jpg" style="height: 328px; width: 620px;" title="An evaluation of the condition of a block of housing in Uptown by the city's Department of Urban Renewal, 1967. (Flickr/Devin Hunter)" /></p><p>If some Uptown Southerners represented a rougher element, others just struggled to survive in a city that was not always hospitable. Virginia Bowers, a former resident who originally came from West Virginia, says that tenants in Uptown often had to deal with unscrupulous landlords. She had worked managing property. During interviews with Roger Guy she&rsquo;d said: &ldquo;I lost my first job as a manager in a building because I stuck up for a couple that had been bitten by a rat. The owner wanted me to lie about it. I told [the housing inspector] that I couldn&rsquo;t lie to him. I was a mother myself and I couldn&rsquo;t lie.&rdquo;</p><p>There were numerous reports of landlords cutting corners to save money. According to tenants and local activists, owners turned off the heat, electricity, or water in buildings. They deferred maintenance to save money, and harassed or evicted tenants who complained. Activists including scholar Todd Gitlin and Helen Shiller (who became the area&rsquo;s alderman in 1987) organized tenants to resist unsanitary conditions through rent strikes, public protest and other tactics. In some cases, they were able to bring about better housing conditions.</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/uptown%20apartment%20interior.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 620px;" title="An Uptown apartment kitchen in 1967. (Flickr/Devin Hunter)" /></div><p>But even as Southerners in Uptown sought to improve housing conditions for the poor in Uptown, the city and developers had other plans. By the late 1960s, abundant jobs were scarce, and Uptown&rsquo;s reputation as a rough place with substandard housing grew worse. The city instituted a series of public works projects, including razing several square blocks to relocate Harry S. Truman City College. A group called the &ldquo;Uptown Area People&rsquo;s Planning Organization&rdquo; organized under the leadership of Chuck Geary. Geary was a migrant himself &mdash; a Korean War veteran, erstwhile hitchhiker, father of eight and a preacher. He worked with architect Rodney Wright to develop an alternative to the Truman College plan called <a href="http://www.thecyberhood.net/documents/papers/guy.pdf" target="_blank">Hank Williams Village</a>, named after the famous country singer. According to Roger Guy, the village would be a &ldquo;planned community with subsidized apartments, a pharmacy, and an employment agency.&rdquo; It was never built.</p><p>After the Truman College relocation effort won out, the area saw a series of developments. The city and developers argued urban renewal was necessary to replace substandard housing and rid Uptown of blight. Helen Shiller argues the poor in Uptown, who also included Native Americans, Japanese-American migrants, Latinos, and a handful of other groups, were seen as undesirable by the city and business community. &ldquo;The city&rsquo;s policy, in the North Side at least, was to create public works projects in specific communities where they wanted to remove people,&rdquo; she says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/williams site from guy paper.PNG" style="float: right; height: 304px; width: 300px;" title="(Source: 'Hank Williams Village and the Legacy of Advocacy Planning' by Roger Guy)" />City officials and developers responded that they were not trying to remove anybody, but the neighborhood needed improvement, and if that meant some people were displaced, it was an unfortunate necessity.</p><p>Shiller argues that planning for Uptown could have been more inclusive, preserving housing for the poor, including white Southerners. But, she says, that didn&rsquo;t happen.</p><p>&ldquo;A handful of developers were redefining the community in real estate terms and claiming parts of it,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They had deep pockets and built up large tracts of family housing, kicked people out wholesale, rehabbed the buildings, and tripled and even quadrupled the rent.&rdquo;</p><p>Whether or not the city and developers actively targeted poor white Southerners for removal, the evictions and rising rents seem to have driven thousands, if not tens of thousands out of Uptown, and likely out of Chicago. The way demographic data was collected makes it difficult to say, but Roger Guy feels that by the 1990s there were few signs left that Uptown had ever housed tens of thousands of Southerners. He says in 1994 and 1995, he volunteered to register voters.</p><p>&ldquo;I walked along those streets in the heart of Uptown and went in buildings knocking on doors,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t remember encountering a Southerner.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Into the fabric of Chicago</span></p><p>According to historian Chad Berry, many Southerners left Uptown on their own terms before urban renewal and gentrification ever took place. He says academics and journalists found they could document the once-high concentration of Southerners in Uptown, but it proved more difficult to document the lives of those who were successful and left the neighborhood.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Byrd%2011.jpeg" style="height: 356px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Linda Hensley Lambert and Glen Lambert, our question-asker's grandparents, who moved to Ravenswood in 1978. (Photo courtesy the Lambert family)" />&ldquo;People who did find the economic dream they were looking for, might have moved on and, when they moved on, they might have bought a little brick tiny house in the suburbs,&rdquo; Berry says. &ldquo;And on one side was a Polish-American family, on the other side was a Lithuanian-American family, and right in the middle there was a Southern or Appalachian family.&rdquo;</p><p>Matthew Byrd&rsquo;s grandparents, Glen and Linda Lambert, are among the Southerners who did well for themselves. Glen landed a job at S&amp;C Electric on his first full day in Chicago in 1969 and the couple lived north of Uptown, in Rogers Park. He worked at the company forty-three years and that stable, well-paying job (along with supplemental work from Linda) allowed them to move to a shady street in nearby Ravenswood in 1978, raise kids, and eventually retire to Kentucky.</p><p>Byrd is proud his home city provided opportunity and a better life to his grandparents and other Southerners, as it has for migrants and immigrants from countless places. But he thinks it&rsquo;s important to remember the <em>full</em> history, and believes the Chicago let down the thousands of white Southerners who were pushed out of Uptown by eviction and rising rents.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s success and there&rsquo;s failure,&rdquo; Byrd says. &ldquo;I think the failure means the next time a large group of people from another part of the country or world that&rsquo;s kind of maligned comes here, just do better by them than we did people from Appalachia or people Poland, Africa, Vietnam. Do better by them.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_2.jpg" style="height: 291px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="Question-asker Matthew Byrd outside of the S&amp;C Electric Company, where his grandfather worked. (WBEZ/Jesse Dukes)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">About our questioner</span></p><p>Matthew Byrd has always been close to his grandparents, Glen and Linda Lambert. He grew up visiting extended family in West Virginia whenever possible, and pumping both of his grandparents for stories of what it was like coming to Chicago. He&rsquo;s a student at the University of Iowa, and already<a href="http://littlevillagemag.com/a-community-divided-racial-segregation-on-the-rise-in-iowa-city/"> working as a journalist</a> in Iowa City.</p><p>Byrd is well aware that he&rsquo;s probably in the last generation of his family to hear his grandparents&rsquo; stories of childhoods in West Virginia, or Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Hillbilly Heaven&rdquo; of the 1960s.</p><p>&ldquo;My kids aren&rsquo;t going to have the same access to memories I had,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no physical remnants. &hellip; There&rsquo;s very few. The story is going to die soon, and I just wish more people could know about it.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a name="reading"></a>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s audio producer. He doesn&rsquo;t tweet, but follow <a href="https://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">@loganjaffe</a> (Curious City&rsquo;s multimedia producer) for occasional #IfJesseTweeted tweets.</em></p><hr /><p dir="ltr">Further reading on the topic of Appalachian migrants to Uptown:</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33518.Uptown_Poor_Whites_In_Chicago" target="_blank">Gitlin, Todd, and Nanci Hollander. <em>Uptown; Poor Whites in Chicago</em>. New York: Harper &amp; Row, 1970.</a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11036817-hillbilly-nationalists-urban-race-rebels-and-black-power?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service" target="_blank">Sonnie, Amy, and James Donald Tracy. <em>Hillbilly Nationalists Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: The Rise of Community Organizing in America</em>. New York: Melville House, 2011..</a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6036088-from-diversity-to-unity?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service" target="_blank">Guy, Roger. <em>From Diversity to Unity: Southern and Appalachian Migrants in Uptown Chicago, 1950-1970</em>. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2007.</a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3522944-southern-migrants-northern-exiles" target="_blank">Berry, Chad.&nbsp;<em>Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles</em>. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2000.</a></p></p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/uptowns-moment-hillbilly-heaven-111964 FLATS Chicago developer weighs in on housing affordability debate http://www.wbez.org/news/flats-chicago-developer-weighs-housing-affordability-debate-110475 <p><p>The City of Chicago continues to work on an ordinance to address the phenomenon of fast-disappearing single-room and residential hotels. In recent years, many of these traditionally affordable housing options, particularly along the lakefront on the city&rsquo;s North Side, have been bought and converted into high-end rentals. Hundreds of low-income tenants have been displaced, and with the help of community organizers, have turned the attention of city policy makers to the issue.</p><p>Developers, some of whom have been accused of accelerating the loss of residential hotels, have been quieter. But Jay Michael, co-founder of Cedar Street Properties and FLATS Chicago, recently shared his take on the efforts, and responded to criticism that he&rsquo;s one of the reasons that low-income residents can no longer afford to live on the North Side.</p><p>&ldquo;This is our favorite space. This may have been what really sold us,&rdquo; he said, standing in the basement of his most significant acquisition to date: the Lawrence House. He&rsquo;s looking at a 60-foot swimming pool, covered with wooden slats, but extending 8-feet deep on one end. The floors and walls are lined with beautiful aquamarine blue tiles.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s totally destroyed, but in the back there are these hamams -- these men and women steam facilities,&rdquo; he continued. &ldquo;We were like, &lsquo;Oh my God,&rsquo; my business partner and I, this is just like out of a movie -- &nbsp;it is out of a movie - this could be a movie, right?&rdquo;</p><p>Michael&rsquo;s company, FLATS Chicago, closed on the Lawrence House last year. It&rsquo;s a 13-story residential hotel in the heart of Uptown. When it opened in the late 1920s, it was the pinnacle of glitz and glam: it had an all-glass atrium entrance, porters at the doors, and hosted fashionable visitors who came in town to catch shows at the Aragon Theater and other mainstays of the then-bustling entertainment district.</p><p>When FLATS acquired it, however, the building was under two receiverships, home to about 100 residents who endured slum-like conditions. Delinquent owners allowed the structure to fall badly into disrepair. It was ridden with bed bugs, mice and crime and the utilities would sometimes even shut off. Despite the problems, some residents still paid as much as $700 per month to live there.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FLATS 2.JPG" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Michael’s gut rehab of the Lawrence House Hotel will include a restoration of a 60-foot swimming pool. Ultimately, some rentals in the building could cost more than $2000. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" />Michael&rsquo;s total gut rehab and historic restoration is expected to cost around $18 million. In the end, rentals will start above $800 and go beyond $2000. While nobody believed the building&rsquo;s previous living conditions were acceptable, these prices have made him the new target of criticism.</p><p>&ldquo;The track record has shown that the units that he (Michael) has converted really has affected residents in a negative way,&rdquo; said D&rsquo;Angelo Boyland, an organizer with ONE Northside. The group holds FLATS Chicago responsible for the loss of more than 800 affordable units on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side within the last three years, contained in six FLATS-branded buildings.</p><p>Last year, ONE Northside made the fight against Michael a personal one. They rallied outside his Gold Coast home to protest the displacement of hundreds of North Side residents. Michael has refused to speak with them ever since.</p><p>Others agree that there&rsquo;s a growing housing crisis for low-income residents on the North Side. Many say single-room and residential hotels traditionally offered crucial transitional housing for people who otherwise would face homelessness. Social service agencies typically keep a list of these buildings on hand for when clients need them.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I&rsquo;d have to update my list and say this one&rsquo;s not here anymore, and this one&rsquo;s closing, and so if anybody has any clients who live there, we&rsquo;re going to need to work with them and help them relocate,&rdquo; said Jennifer Cushman, who was a housing coordinator for Trilogy Health Services in Rogers Park.</p><p>But Cushman said she doesn&rsquo;t blame Michael -- or any other particular developer -- for the problem. She said the city needs to support more affordable housing. Michael agreed, and pointed out that he has preserved -- and improved -- some affordable housing. To prove it, he points out The Windale, an 81-unit building in Edgewater. It&rsquo;s one of two single-room occupancy hotels that Cedar St. Properties has acquired.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FLATS%203.JPG" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Michael’s holding company, Cedar St. Properties, has bought two single-room occupancy hotels on the North Side. It is refurbishing the units in one of those, and keeping the rents below $700. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" />&ldquo;This one, we&rsquo;re planning on restoring and keeping as an SRO,&rdquo; said Michael. &ldquo;One of the things that I thought would be great, and this came from feedback from social service agencies, there&rsquo;ll be two case worker rooms at the end.&rdquo;</p><p>Michael has kept rents at the property under $700, all while renovating it to look cleaner and more pleasant. His company has pulled out the carpet, laid down wood flooring, and repainted the hallways. He said he plans to build a common kitchen on the ground floor.</p><p>Still, about half the previous tenants of the building opted to leave the building once Michael acquired it. He said they weren&rsquo;t interested in abiding by the new rules his company has set down: visitors only between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., no overnight guests, and monthly room inspections.</p><p>Michael said he, himself, would not agree to live in a building that had rules like that.</p><p>&ldquo;But I think that if I had to live in 6019 (The Windale), I would probably prefer to live in (a building) with rules that looked clean and was safe like that, than the ones that didn&rsquo;t have rules and were nasty,&rdquo; he said. He added that he&rsquo;s awaiting federal approval for his first Section 8 housing voucher tenants to live in one of the pricier, FLATS-branded properties. He said once that goes through, he looks forward to having more government-subsidized tenants living in his upscale buildings.</p><p>Michael is working with the city and other housing advocates now on the SRO preservation ordinance, which would apply both to single-room occupancy buildings, and to residential hotels. They&rsquo;re thinking about how to preserve these buildings as affordable. But he worries about restrictions on owners.</p><p>&ldquo;My opinion is, if you&rsquo;re going to take someone&rsquo;s rights away from them, that&rsquo;s in exchange for an incentive,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So if you choose to renovate your building, and if you choose to renovate it with affordability, there should be some sort of incentive offered.&rdquo;</p><p>Ultimately, Michael said the city will have to come up with a big pot of money as incentive for developers to keep affordable housing in their plans.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef"><em>@oyousef</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud"><em>@WBEZoutloud</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/flats-chicago-developer-weighs-housing-affordability-debate-110475 Chicago's Nigerians watch World Cup with optimism and resolve http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-nigerians-watch-world-cup-optimism-and-resolve-110311 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/NIGERIA2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Immigrant communities throughout Chicago are excited about seeing the World Cup. Thirty-two nations will compete to win the ultimate soccer championship. Nigeria is one of three African countries that qualified for the World Cup.</p><p>Nigerians in Chicago are looking forward to seeing their team, but some are concerned over an unresolved conflict in their homeland. WBEZ&rsquo;s Yolanda Perdomo talked with several Nigerians in Chicago about soccer and the crisis affecting a group of schoolgirls kidnapped in April.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ Host/Producer Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/106564114685277342468/posts/p/pub">Google+</a></em></p></p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 09:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-nigerians-watch-world-cup-optimism-and-resolve-110311 Inside Room 317: counting down the last days of the Chateau Hotel http://www.wbez.org/news/inside-room-317-counting-down-last-days-chateau-hotel-107793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chateau Hotel 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tonight at midnight the last tenants of the Chateau Hotel will have to vacate their building, per court order.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chateau is one of several North Side single-room occupancy buildings that developers have bought recently, to turn into upmarket rental housing.</p><p>This has displaced hundreds of low-income residents of the North Side. Robert Rohdenburg will soon be among them.</p><p dir="ltr">Rohdenburg fought his eviction from the Chateau Hotel until the very end. In recent weeks, the new owners started gutting the building, even as he and a few others lived there. In the video below, crews decked out in hazardous materials suits are seen tossing carpets from the building&rsquo;s back windows.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ&rsquo;s Odette Yousef asked Rohdenburg to record his last week at the Chateau amidst this chaos. This is what he gave us.</p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4M0UcouVdBg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 07:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/inside-room-317-counting-down-last-days-chateau-hotel-107793 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 The magic motor bus http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-03/magic-motor-bus-106165 <p><p>A strange new vehicle appeared on the streets of Chicago for the first time on March 25, 1917. It was called a &ldquo;bus.&rdquo;</p><p>Since 1859 public transit in Chicago had been&ndash;literally&ndash;street railways. The first railcars had been pulled by teams of horses. Then came cable cars, and finally electric streetcars. For moving large numbers of people, streetcars seemed to be the ultimate form of surface transportation.</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/03-25--bus.jpg" title="Chicago's first bus, 1917 (CTA photo)" /></div><p>Meanwhile, the automobile had been invented, and was evolving. Though early gasoline engines were small, they soon became bigger and more powerful. By 1910 full-size gasoline buses were a reality. Since buses weren&rsquo;t tied to rails, they had more flexibility than streetcars.</p><p>The City of Chicago had granted a transit franchise to the Chicago Surface Lines company. But the boulevards and parks were controlled by three separate park district boards. In 1916 the new Chicago Motor Bus Company was awarded a franchise by the Lincolon Park District. Now, on March 25, 1917, their new vehicles were ready to roll.</p><p>Mayor William Hale Thompson and a collection of dignitaries boarded the first bus at Sheridan and Devon. The ceremonial trip moved off over the regular route, down Sheridan to Lincoln Park, through the park and over various streets, until reaching its south terminal at Adams and State. Then, while the invited guests were brought back to the Edgewater Beach Hotel for a luncheon, revenue service began.</p><p>The buses operated from 6 in the morning until 1:30 a.m. Each double-deck vehicle had a two-man crew, with a conductor to collect fares and a &ldquo;chauffeur&rdquo; to drive. Passengers could board at any intersection. Though only 11 buses ran the first day, another 39 were on order.</p><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/3-25--1948.jpg" title="Buses on Michigan Avenue, 1948 (CTA photo)" /></div></div></div></div><p>The buses were popular from the start. True, the 10-cent fare was higher than the 7 cents paid on the streetcars. But the ride was usually faster&ndash;and prettier, too.</p><p>During the next few years, the&nbsp;three park&nbsp;districts gave franchises to other companies. As the advantages of buses became more apparent, even Chicago Surface Lines began replacing their streetcars with the rubber-tire vehicles.</p><p>All the different park district bus operators were later combined into the Chicago Motor Coach. That company continued in business until 1952, when it was bought out by the CTA.</p></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-03/magic-motor-bus-106165 1981 Brown Line Ride http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/1981-brown-line-ride-105401 <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/2-13--Halsted curve.jpg" title="Clybourn curve near Halsted, Ravenswood 'L'" /></div></div><p>A few weeks ago Lee Bey posted a great video of a 1970s ride on the Dan Ryan Red Line. That inspired me to digitalize some of my old Chicago &lsquo;L&rsquo; home movies.</p><p>Right up front, I&rsquo;m offering a warning&mdash;my films are strictly amateur. I&rsquo;m not a film-maker, and my equipment was a tiny, hand-held&nbsp;Super-Eight silent movie camera. Since I had to change cassettes every four minutes, there are many gaps in the action. I&rsquo;m sharing the video because it provides a look at how some parts of Chicago have changed in the course of three decades.</p><p>Today&rsquo;s film shows the second half of a 1981 ride on the Ravenswood &lsquo;L&rsquo; (Brown Line), from Roscoe junction to the Loop.&nbsp;It runs&nbsp;about 8 minutes, and includes audio commentary.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/d_x0uFd1i7w?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/1981-brown-line-ride-105401 Rogers Park, past and present http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/rogers-park-past-and-present-104722 <p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re Number One!&nbsp; We&rsquo;re Number One!&rdquo;</p><p>Any Chicago neighborhood can shout that.&nbsp;But Chicago&rsquo;s&nbsp;official Community Area #1 is Rogers Park, in the city&rsquo;s northeast corner.&nbsp;That&rsquo;s where some anonymous U of C social scientist started the numbering system in the 1920s.</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/1-15--Chicago%20NE%20corner.jpg" title="Chicago's northeast corner" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The earliest residents here were the Potawatomi.&nbsp;Sometime before 1800 they established villages along the glacial ridge that&rsquo;s now Ridge Boulevard.&nbsp;The land eastward toward the lake was too low and swampy for much of anything.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When white Americans moved in, they stuck to the high ground.&nbsp;In 1839 Philip Rogers built a cabin near (present-day) Ridge and Lunt, and began truck farming.&nbsp;Over the next several years, other farmers settled in Mr. Rogers&rsquo; neighborhood.</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/1-15--map.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 260px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Patrick Touhy, Rogers&rsquo; son-in-law, really spurred development.&nbsp;During the 1860s he organized many of the locals into a building and land association.&nbsp;The Chicago &amp; North Western Railroad arrived on the scene in 1873.&nbsp;Five years later, the Village of Rogers Park was incorporated.</p><p>Growth was slow but steady.&nbsp;Large Victorian homes were erected in the blocks between the C&amp;NW line and the ridge.&nbsp;A small commercial district sprang up just east of the train station, around Clark and Lunt.&nbsp;In 1885 a second&nbsp;commuter line was completed&nbsp;through the eastern lowlands by the Chicago, Milwaukee &amp; St. Paul Railroad.</p><p>Rogers Park was a sleepy little community of 3500 people when Chicago annexed it in 1893. But as the century turned, &lsquo;L&rsquo; service came to Rogers Park over the CM&amp;SP right-of-way. And then Rogers Park really took off.</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/1-15----Jackson-Thomas%20House-7053%20N%20Ridge%20Blvd.jpg" title="Early Rogers Park: The 1873 Jackson-Thomas House" /></div><p>Loyola University relocated from the West Side. Two-flats and large apartment blocks went up near the &lsquo;L&rsquo;, and the Howard line became the city&rsquo;s busiest.&nbsp;The population jumped from 6,700 in 1910 to over 57,000 twenty&nbsp;years later.&nbsp;</p><p>Rogers&nbsp;Park didn&rsquo;t have a single dominant shopping district.&nbsp;Most stores were small and locally-owned, and could be found in clusters near the &lsquo;L&rsquo; stations.&nbsp;Clark Street, the main streetcar line, developed its own commercial ribbon.&nbsp;</p><p>Howard Street was a special case.&nbsp;The street bordered Evanston&ndash;which was dry&ndash;so a whole range of bars and liquor stores set up on the Chicago-side of Howard.&nbsp;&rdquo;Going to Howard&rdquo; was a favorite field-trip for generations of Northwestern students.</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/1-15--The%20Jungle.jpg" title="Juneway Terrace in The Jungle" /></div><p>East of the &lsquo;L&rsquo; the border jumped north of Howard to include&nbsp;the few blocks up to Calvary Cemetery.&nbsp;Here the narrow streets were crammed with&nbsp;three-story apartments that&nbsp;shaded the sidewalks the whole day.&nbsp;Someone called the area The Jungle, and the name stuck.&nbsp;</p><p>In&nbsp;Patrick Touhy&rsquo;s day, most people in Rogers Park were English in ancestry.&nbsp;They were later joined by Germans and some Irish.&nbsp;Beginning about 1910, a significant number of Russian Jews began moving into the community.&nbsp;By 1950, when the population reached 63,000, they were the largest identifiable ethnic/religious group.</p><p>Rogers Park was a good place to live.&nbsp;Public transit was fast, stores were plentiful, crime was low, rents were affordable, and Lake Michigan was at your doorstep.&nbsp;That last one was important in the era before air conditioning.</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/1-15--Morse%201978.jpg" title="Morse Avenue at the 'L', 1978" /></div><p>My wife and I lived in Rogers Park during the 1970s.&nbsp;Our apartment was across from Loyola Beach, and if you sat in the right chair, you could actually see the lake from our living room.&nbsp;Nearly every summer weekend, relatives and long-lost friends descended on us.&nbsp;Could the reason have been that it was often 20 degrees cooler at our place than a few miles inland?&nbsp;</p><p>In the years since, like many Chicago communities, Rogers Park has had problems.&nbsp;Some of the older housing deteriorated.&nbsp;Businesses left.&nbsp;Crime increased.&nbsp;Parts of The Jungle became blighted.&nbsp;</p><p>Yet&nbsp;the positive factors remain.&nbsp;Meanwhile, new construction has replaced many run-down buildings.&nbsp;The Gateway Centre Plaza has helped stabilize the area around the &lsquo;L&rsquo; terminal.&nbsp;</p><p>The 2010 Census counted 55,000 people in Rogers Park. The community&nbsp;has a diverse population&ndash;39% White, 26% African-American, 24% Hispanic, 7% Asian.&nbsp;Rogers Park&nbsp;also boasts an active historical society and numerous other community organizations.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re Number&nbsp;One!&rdquo; In many ways, it&rsquo;s true.</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/1-15--Rogers%20Park%20Lakefront.JPG" title="Rogers Park lakefront" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/rogers-park-past-and-present-104722 There in Chicago (#17) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/there-chicago-17-104132 <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/04--2012-Belmont-Wilton.JPG" title="Belmont Avenue at Wilton--view west" /><br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/12-06--image.jpg" title="1955--the same location (CTA photo)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">How well did you find your way around 1955 Chicago?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">We are at Belmont and Wilton, a short-block east of Sheffield. The &#39;L&#39; station is one clue to the location. The platform canopies indicate that there are four tracks running through the station, which tells us we&#39;re somewhere on the North Side main line. Notice the building behind the turning bus. In the contemporary photo, that building has been torn down because of renovations at the station.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The double overhead wires reveal that we are on a street with trolley buses, and one of them can be seen in the distance. The gasoline bus turning onto Belmont is on a short extension route that ran between the &#39;L&#39; station and Lake Shore Drive. Like the streetcars that preceded them, the Belmont trolley buses went only as far east as Halsted.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 1955 this neighborhood was simply known as East Lakeview. Today&#39;s it&#39;s called Wrigleyville. The name change hasn&#39;t seemed to have helped the Cubs.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/there-chicago-17-104132 Ghost Street: North Ogden Avenue http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/ghost-street-north-ogden-avenue-103468 <p><p>Driving north on Ogden Avenue, just&nbsp;past Fry Street, you come upon a concrete railroad overpass, emblazoned with the name of your street and the year &ldquo;1925.&rdquo;&nbsp;You emerge on the other side, and Ogden abruptly ends.&nbsp;You have just discovered a classic example of urban planning gone wrong.</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/11-05--Ogden%20%40%20Fry.JPG" title="Ogden Avenue at Fry Street, 2012" /></div><p>Ogden Avenue is named after Chicago&rsquo;s first mayor, William B. Ogden.&nbsp;Like many of Chicago&rsquo;s major diagonal streets, it follows the path of an old trail. The original starting point of the street was Union Park.&nbsp;From there it ran southwest to the city limits and beyond.</p><p>As early as the 1880s, plans were hatched to extend Ogden to the northeast.&nbsp;In 1903, Alderman William E. Dever unveiled an ambitious project to push Ogden through to Lincoln Park, while building another diagonal boulevard from Union Park southeast to the lakefront at 22<sup>nd</sup> Street (Cermak). The idea was to provide two speedy bypasses around the Loop.&nbsp;There would also be two new streets opened for commercial development.</p><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/11-05--Cram's map.jpg" style="float: left; height: 307px; width: 325px;" title="North Ogden Avenue (Cram's Chicago Street Map, 1935)" /></div></div></div><p>The southeast route was never built.&nbsp;But in 1921, the city began constructing the northeast Ogden extension.&nbsp;The roadway was designed to accommodate six lanes of vehicular traffic, with a separate&nbsp;parkway in the middle for streetcar tracks.&nbsp;The first stage was completed in 1925 and dedicated by ex-alderman Dever, by now the mayor of Chicago.</p><p>Construction continued for several years.&nbsp;The most notable feature was a half-mile long viaduct, which carried Ogden over Goose Island and the Halsted-Division intersection.&nbsp;The street was finally cut through to its Lincoln Park terminus, at Clark and Armitage, in 1934.</p><p>There it remained. Buses were becoming the favored form of mass transit, so the new section of Ogden never did get streetcar tracks.&nbsp;Then, the city completed its expressway system in the 1960s. The Ogden extension was no longer needed as downtown bypass, and traffic on the street steadily declined.</p><p>In the area between North and Armitage, neighborhood residents now demanded that Ogden be removed&ndash;the 100-foot-wide swath through their community was a blight, and served no useful purpose.&nbsp;The city agreed.&nbsp;In 1969, the section of Ogden north of North Avenue was closed and built over.</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/11-05--Ogden%20Ave%20%28The%20Plan%20of%20Chicago%201933%29.jpg" title="Ogden Avenue, looking southwest from Lincoln Park (The Plan of Chicago 1933)" /></div><p>A few years later, the street was cut back to Clybourn.&nbsp;Then, in 1992, chunks of concrete started falling off the Ogden viaduct on Goose Island.&nbsp;Rather than spend money to fix the structure, the city tore it down.</p><p>Today, except for a couple of isolated sections, Ogden Avenue halts at the Fry Street railroad overpass.&nbsp;That means that roughly two-thirds of the northeast extension has been abandoned&ndash;after taking thirteen years to complete, and costing millions of dollars, and requiring the removal of hundreds of homes and businesses.</p><p>Easy come, easy go.</p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/ghost-street-north-ogden-avenue-103468