WBEZ | Lincoln Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/lincoln-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In Chicago, eternal rest ain't so eternal http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-eternal-rest-aint-so-eternal-112210 <p><p>This year, for the first time ever, Americans&rsquo; preference for cremation will surpass their preference for burial, <a href="http://nfda.org/about-funeral-service-/trends-and-statistics.html#CF" target="_blank">according to industry surveys conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association</a>. That means that up until this point, most Americans expected to be buried. And they expected to stay that way. Forever. And they had the graves to prove it. The sheer number of cemeteries and their solid, long-lasting headstones, monuments and mausoleums testify to the strength of a cultural norm: most of us are destined for a final resting place.</p><p>But archaeologist David Keene says Chicago-area cemeteries &mdash; and the human remains within them &mdash; are less permanent than most of us think.</p><p>&ldquo;We put expensive, well-crafted monuments on top of graves that last longer than any of us will,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;So, cemeteries look like they&rsquo;re there forever. But &hellip; they&rsquo;re not.&rdquo;</p><p>It didn&rsquo;t take long for Chicago to move its dead around. Take early settler John Kinzie, for example. He was first buried in the cemetery behind Fort Dearborn, and had been dug up and reburied in <em>two </em>other cemeteries before landing in his <em>final </em>&ldquo;final resting place&rdquo; in Graceland Cemetery in the 1860s. Cemeteries are still prone to relocation, for much of the same reason they always were: Dead people are simply in the way of the living.</p><p>The idea of relocating the dead for the sake of modern demands and development doesn&rsquo;t phase Oak Park native Samantha Kearney, who has a masters degree in urban planning. She&rsquo;s well aware of Chicago&rsquo;s history of cemetery relocation, but wanted to hear about the most notable examples. So, she sent Curious City this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>There are thousands of bodies buried in Lincoln Park. How many people realize this and what other neighborhoods have similar histories?</em></p><p>Below, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-eternal-rest-aint-so-eternal-112210#list">we list repurposed cemeteries and cemetery relocation projects</a> that span from the city&rsquo;s early days &mdash; when bodies were obstacles to more park space and a clean water supply &mdash; up until just a few years ago, when bodies were in the way of a new runway at O&rsquo;Hare.</p><p>If you track these funerary shuffles, it&rsquo;s easy to conclude that Keene&rsquo;s right: Final resting places may not be so final. But you also conclude there&rsquo;s a case to be made for better planning when it comes to moving the dead around. So, before we jump into our list, here&rsquo;s something to think about from Melody Carvajal, who manages cemetery relocations for a living.</p><p>&ldquo;This is not a textbook,&rdquo; Carvajal says. &ldquo;There has to be a way of doing it right. You have to sit and talk with the families for hours. &hellip; That&rsquo;s okay. It&rsquo;s okay to hear the emotion.&rdquo;</p><p>Carvajal says she&rsquo;s seen a number of cemetery relocation projects go awry, so she&rsquo;s advocating for some industry standards. Among other recommendations: Relocation project planners should conduct genealogy, research the cemetery&rsquo;s history, and, above all, reach out to surviving family members.</p><p>Carvajal says adopting such standards would allow everyone to evaluate the cemetery relocation process, for which there are currently no set standards. And if Carvajal is right about the increasing inevitability of relocating cemeteries that clash with the plans of modern developers, it&rsquo;s necessary to ask: How do we plan for that?</p><p><a name="list"></a>With that, here&rsquo;s a glimpse of some of Chicago&rsquo;s repurposed or relocated cemeteries &mdash; the famous, the forgotten, and the tucked away.</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/lincoln%20park%20small.png" style="height: 370px; width: 620px;" title="(Source: Google Earth with overlay map of Lincoln Park in 1863, from IJ Bryan's History of Lincoln Park, 1899 " /></div><div><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Lincoln Park</span></strong></div><div><strong>Formerly:</strong> Chicago City Cemetery</div><div><strong>When:</strong> 1840s-1860s</div><div><strong>Burials:</strong> 35,000</div><div><strong>Remaining:</strong> 10,000 - 12,000</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><p>Lincoln Park is Chicago&rsquo;s poster child of cemetery relocations. Burials in the City Cemetery, which spanned along the lakefront from North Avenue to Wisconsin Street., began in 1843, after the city relocated two smaller cemeteries on the northern and southern ends of town. The city owned the cemetery and it was run by the City Sexton, a public official who maintained the land and managed sales of burial plots.</p><p>By the mid-1850s, things were not going well. Chicago&rsquo;s population (of both the living and the dead) had exploded, and there were accusations that the City Sexton had kind of let the City Cemetery go. Newspapers noted caskets emerging from the sandy ground, and the area reeked of death. Dr. John H. Rauch theorized that the &ldquo;rising miasma&rdquo; exuded by the deceased could become a city-wide health threat. Many people believed him.</p><p>Also, residents started to value green space more than burial space. Prominent Chicagoans routinely petitioned that the cemetery be either improved or removed; one consistent suggestion was to convert the cemetery into a park. The city finally agreed to close the cemetery in the early 1860s and planned to relocate graves to the newly-opened &ldquo;rural&rdquo; cemeteries of Rosehill, Graceland and Oak Woods.</p><p>That work was never fully completed. At its height, about 35,000 people were buried in the City Cemetery.&nbsp;Pamela Bannos, an artist and professor at Northwestern University who&#39;s conducted extensive research on the cemetery in her project, <a href="http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank">Hidden Truths</a>,&nbsp;estimates that between 10,000 and 12,000 bodies remained in the park by the time the last cemetery lot exchange costs were recorded in 1886.</p><p>The remaining dead included many of those buried in the city&rsquo;s potter&rsquo;s field, land reserved for the burial of the unknown and indigent. That area also contains thousands of other unidentified victims of cholera and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.</p><p>In 1869, the Lincoln Park Commissioners took on the job of creating the park and parade grounds the citizenry petitioned for. They ran into corpses as the work progressed and continued to do so for decades to come.&nbsp;To this day, construction in the park (say, for new parking lots)&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/a-conservatory-a-zoo-and-12000-corpses/Content?oid=1109775">raises the prospect of unearthing the dead.</a></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/dunning%20google%20map%20SMALL.png" style="height: 370px; width: 620px;" title="(Source: Google Earth with overlay of map of human remains findings, courtesy David Keene)" /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Dunning Square Shopping Center, housing development</span></strong></p><p><strong>Formerly:</strong> Cook County Infirmary, Cook County Insane Asylum</p><p><strong>When: </strong>1854-1911</p><p><strong>Burials:</strong> 38,000</p><p>Another neighborhood that has a similar history to Lincoln Park is Dunning, on Chicago&rsquo;s northwest side. In fact, some of the bodies disinterred from the potter&rsquo;s field in Lincoln Park ended up here.</p><p>In the 1850s, the 320 acres of land between Irving Park Road and Montrose Avenue, and west to Oak Park Avenue was known as Dunning. It included the Cook County Infirmary, a &ldquo;poor farm&rdquo; and almshouse, and the Cook County Insane Asylum, both horrific places by all accounts. Many of the people who ended up at Dunning were poor and mentally ill, and often abused by the hospital staff.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/story-dunning-tomb-living-106892" target="_blank"><strong><em>See:&nbsp;</em></strong></a><strong><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/story-dunning-tomb-living-106892">The story of Dunning, a &lsquo;tomb for the living&rsquo;</a></em></strong></p><p>There were at least three burial grounds at Dunning intended for poorhouse residents and asylum inmates, but also accessible by anyone in Cook Cook County whose family couldn&rsquo;t afford to pay for traditional cemetery burial. It&rsquo;s estimated that between 1854 and 1911, 38,000 people were buried there. Records of the dead&rsquo;s identities and locations were poorly kept, and many were either lost or destroyed by the time the place closed in the 1970s.</p><p>The state sold off the property to developers. Over the years, it&rsquo;s been common for construction projects to run into a corpse or two. In 1989, a backhoe operator accidentally split a corpse in half while doing work on a new housing project. The corpse appeared to be a red-headed Civil War soldier buried in his uniform, according to Chicago archaeologist David Keene, who was called to the scene.</p><p>A year later, when the construction of Wright College began on the grounds, Keene says he found human remains scattered just about everywhere. After a number of excavations, Keene pieced together the location of a 5-acre cemetery on the corner of Belle Plaine and Neenah Aves. Today, that&rsquo;s Read-Dunning Memorial Park, the only vestige of the history of the original complex. The remaining area gave way to Dunning Square shopping center, which contains a Jewel store, the campus of Wright College, the Maryville Center for Children, along with housing and condominium developments.</p><p>In the spring of 2015, city workers were concerned that <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-dunning-cemetery-road-construction-met-20150429-story.html" target="_blank">road construction in the Dunning area would uncover bodies</a>, enough that the <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150518/dunning/city-use-ground-penetrating-radar-search-for-long-forgotten-bodies" target="_blank">city postponed the work until ground-penetrating radar could locate them</a>.</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/oak%20forest%20grounds%20SMALL.png" style="height: 370px; width: 620px;" title="(Source: Google Earth with overlay of Oak Forest Infirmary grounds map from 1916)" /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Oak Forest Health Center, Oak Forest Heritage Preserve</strong></span></p><p><strong>Formerly:</strong> Cook County Cemetery at Oak Forest</p><p><strong>When:</strong> 1911-1971</p><p><strong>Burials: </strong>90,740</p><p>Today&rsquo;s Oak Forest Health Center, located 22 miles southwest of Chicago, opened in 1910 as the Cook County Work Farm/Oak Forest Infirmary, a huge facility that, in addition to a hospital, contained a tuberculosis treatment center, a cottage colony, a fruit orchard, baseball grounds and &hellip; three cemeteries.</p><p>One of them, St. Gabriel Cemetery, was reserved for indigent Catholic patients of the hospital, and, today, contains no visible grave markers, aside from a dirt road that circles a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. The area is currently undeveloped and supervised by nearby St. Casimir Cemetery. &nbsp;</p><p>The other two cemeteries on the premises were owned by Cook County, and they served as burial grounds for the indigent, following the closure of the grounds at Dunning. Between 1911 to 1971, 90,740 people were buried there, estimates Barry Fleig, who runs a <a href="http://cookcountycemetery.com/OakForest.htm?" target="_blank">website dedicated to both Dunning and Oak Forest</a>. &nbsp;</p><p>By 1923, the poor conditions of the County cemetery, located in the Northeast corner of the hospital grounds, were apparent. &ldquo;This unsightly and barren area would be more in harmony with the rest of our Institutional premises if converted into a well kept and attractive park with the adornments of trees, shrubbery, flowers, and intersected with convenient walks and driveways,&rdquo; wrote Anton J. Cermak in Cook County Infirmary&rsquo;s annual report in 1923.</p><p>The county wouldn&rsquo;t take the suggestion until 2012, when the Cook County Forest Preserve District unveiled plans to convert the area into a 176-acre park, complete with bike trails, a visitors center, and interpretive signage that would nod to the area&rsquo;s history. However, those plans were temporarily halted after construction crews <a href="http://abc7chicago.com/news/century-old-oak-forest-graves-dug-up-by-forest-preserve-crews-/382661/" target="_blank">dug up hundreds of human bones while attempting to build the new trail system</a>.</p><p>Today, those plans are still in the works. The bones were simply reburied. According to the <a href="http://fpdcc.com/downloads/OakForestHeritagePreserve-MasterPlan.pdf">Oak Forest Heritage Preserve Master Plan</a>, the area of the &ldquo;historic cemetery&rdquo; will feature native grasses and prairie vegetation in a grid formation that vaguely alludes to the plats of bodies that lie beneath.</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/von%20zirngibl%20topper2.png" style="height: 240px; width: 620px;" title="(Source: Google Earth, Flickr/Zol87)" /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Sims Metal Management, Limited</span></strong></p><p><strong>Contains</strong>: The lone grave of Andreas von Zirngibl</p><p><strong>When: </strong>1850s (approx) - present</p><p><strong>Burials:</strong> Definitely one, maybe more</p><p>The story of why there&rsquo;s a single grave nestled in the middle of a South Side junkyard is a bit of a Chicago legend. Yes, there is a tombstone that marks the one-armed body of Andreas von Zirngibl, a Bavarian native who fought Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. It&#39;s located at 9331 S. Ewing Ave, right in the middle of a metal and electronics recycling site.</p><p>According to testimony from the von Zirngibl descendents in their <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=Mt7-q82AB0YC&amp;pg=PA431&amp;lpg=PA431&amp;dq=Zirngibl+et+al+v.+Calumet+%26+C.+Canal+%26+Dock+Co.+et+al&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=6pl77UzPeV&amp;sig=aQWcYa9GOY2LvRZ4w6EonhzFlW4&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=9LaBVen-CZO5oQTUl4vwBw&amp;ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=Zirngibl%20et%20al%20v.%20Calumet%20%26%20C.%20Canal%20%26%20Dock%20Co.%20et%20al&amp;f=false">1895 Illinois Supreme Court case</a> against the Calumet and Chicago Canal and Dock Co., which formerly owned the property, von Zirngibl bought 40 acres of land near the mouth of the Calumet River in 1854. He lived and fished there until he died of a fever in 1855.</p><p>The family says his last wish was to be buried on his homestead. <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-05-31/features/9905310107_1_von-grave-site-lake-michigan">As the story goes</a>, they buried his body on the site, marked off the small platt with a white picket fence, and visited him from time to time.</p><p>By the late 1890s, the Canal and Dock company had purchased the land independently, seemingly without much fuss or notice from the Zirngibls (they had dropped the &ldquo;von&rdquo; by this time). But somehow or another, the family learned of the purchase, took the company to court, and told the judges that their deed to the land (now worth millions of dollars) was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire.</p><p>Needless to say, the family couldn&rsquo;t prove they owned the land, but they also couldn&rsquo;t prove they <em>didn&rsquo;t </em>own the land. As a compromise, the court ruled the Zirngibls could keep the area within the white picket fence surrounding the resting place of their family member, but the rest of the land rightfully belonged to the Canal and Dock company.</p><p>Today, the area is owned by Sims Metal Management Limited, and is a visible reminder of the human capacity to resist moving the dead at all costs, even in the face of development &hellip; and even if it doesn&rsquo;t work out so well.</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/OHARE%20embed.png" style="height: 370px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">O&rsquo;Hare Airport&rsquo;s western runway</span></strong></p><p><strong>Formerly:</strong> St. Johannes Cemetery</p><p><strong>When</strong>: 1837-2013</p><p><strong>Burials:</strong> 1,200 (approx)</p><p><strong>Remaining:</strong> 0</p><p>A high-profile cemetery relocation happened just a few years ago at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport. The O&rsquo;Hare modernization project included several new runways, one of which was platted right over a St. Johannes Cemetery.</p><p>Established in 1837, the small cemetery was located on the western edge of the airport. It spanned five acres and contained about 1,200 graves. It primarily served the congregation of a church that once stood on the grounds.</p><p>The relocation project took about five years to complete, and raised the ire of nearby residents and church congregations, who argued the cemetery shouldn&rsquo;t be moved in the name of progress.</p><p>The runway was built anyway, and when it opened, the descendants of the relocated dead were invited to march down the runway to commemorate St. Johannes. No official memorial marks the landscape today.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Samantha%20K-22.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="Questioner Samantha Kearney at a Curious City live event at DePaul University, where we discussed her question. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" /><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">About our questioner</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr">An Oak Park native, Samantha Kearney says she&rsquo;s committed to historic preservation, and that carries over as in interest in place through time. The idea of cemeteries as seemingly indestructible institutions fits the bill.</p><p dir="ltr">With a masters degree in urban planning and policy, Kearney rightly suspected that the Lincoln Park cemetery relocation wasn&rsquo;t a one-time phenomena, and that there must&rsquo;ve been other Chicago neighborhoods with similar histories.</p><p dir="ltr">Now that she&rsquo;s taken in our findings and all this talk about cemetery relocation and moving bodies around, Kearney brings up a good reminder: A final resting place doesn&rsquo;t have to be physical.</p><p dir="ltr"><a name="map"></a>&ldquo;Our final resting place is in the hearts and minds of the people we inspire,&rdquo; she says.</p><p><em>Logan Jaffe is Curious City&#39;s multimedia producer. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">@loganjaffe</a>.</em></p><p><em><iframe height="460" src="https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=zD1cveoHRWh8.k3Jk8KXmKHDk" width="620"></iframe></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 19:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicago-eternal-rest-aint-so-eternal-112210 Lincoln Park High School students walk out in support of teachers http://www.wbez.org/news/lincoln-park-high-school-students-walk-out-support-teachers-107019 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/protest2.jpg" title="Junior Oswaldi Gomez led Lincoln Park High School in chants of support for their teachers. Eight teachers recently learned they will not returning when the school is converted to a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureat. (WBEZ/Katie O’Brien)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90656830" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">On Friday morning, hundreds of teenagers poured out of Lincoln Park High School and onto Armitage Avenue.</p><p>To be fair, they warned their teachers beforehand.</p><p>The participating students wrote a letter explaining that they were going to walk out for a number of reasons--but mostly, they walked out for their teachers.<br />Before doing so, they presented a letter explaining why they planned to walk out.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to show that we do care about our education and we wish to have a say in it,&rdquo; it read. &ldquo;We have been informed that many teachers are being fired so that newer teachers can be hired and we don&rsquo;t want to sit back and let CPS make a business of our education.&rdquo;</p><p>Senior Abina Redmond was among those gathered.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re protesting the firing of our teachers...eight so far,&rdquo; she explained.</p><p>In December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Lincoln Park would be converted into a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate school the following school year.</p><p>IB programs were originally crafted for children of diplomats--the rigorous curriculum was designed to get students college-ready.</p><p>Currently, 20 percent of Lincoln Park&rsquo;s students participate in the school&rsquo;s IB program.</p><p>When the school goes wall-to-wall next year, all of its 2100-plus students will have some level of IB coursework.</p><p>But it seems not all of their teachers will be joining them.</p><p>Any time a Chicago Public School&rsquo;s academic focus is changed, teachers re-apply for positions. Traditionally, principals have had complete authority over who stays and who goes.</p><p>But the Chicago Teachers Union asked CPS to make a deal: CPS agreed to let teachers with exceptional rating stay--those with a satisfactory ranking or lower had to reapply.</p><p>Earlier this spring, 128 teachers received offers--eight were recently rescinded.<br />The letters went out prematurely, before anyone ran the deal by the Board of Education. According to a CPS spokesperson, the board ultimately did not support requiring principals to accept candidates that they found unsuitable.</p><p>The same spokesperson added that the district is working to place the eight teachers whose offers were rescinded.</p><p>Junior Oswaldl Gomez spoke into a megaphone as he led his fellow students in chants. He then explained that the protest was about much more than their school, their teachers. Because, he said, it&rsquo;s not just their school that&rsquo;s changing.</p><p>&ldquo;Our brothers, our sisters, they&rsquo;re losing their teachers--whether they are five or they are 18,&rdquo; Gomez said.</p><p>Principal Michael Boraz sent an email in response to the walkout. He wrote, &ldquo;It is imperative for me to make decisions that are in the best interests of all our students and their academic success.&rdquo;</p><p>In another part of the city on Friday morning, students at Williams Middle School staged a sit-in at the school Friday morning to protest the closure of their school. Next year, Williams will close and students will go to Drake, which will relocate in the Williams building.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 19:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lincoln-park-high-school-students-walk-out-support-teachers-107019 I am [enter neighborhood here]: A city of mistaken identities http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-03/i-am-enter-neighborhood-here-city-mistaken-identities-106389 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/28263300_7952a34522_z.jpg" title="(Flickr/G. Chris Clark)" /></p><p dir="ltr">We embrace stereotypes of neighborhoods because they sometimes prove to be true. I live near Wicker Park, a neighborhood known for its nightlife and youth culture. Although this identity is not as strong as it once was (gentrification has a way of changing the identity of a neighborhood multiple times), it is still prevalent in the clothing stores, boutiques, high-end coffee shops, and club-like bars that line Milwaukee Avenue. Once we&rsquo;ve seen our stereotypes to be true, we hold on to them. It is easier to rely on what we know than what we don&rsquo;t. Seeing once is believing.</p><p dir="ltr">But we often stereotype these neighborhoods because our identities are tied into these environments. I had a friend and coworker who moved to Logan Square not because he wanted to, but because he felt it was the thing he was supposed to do.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I mean, all of my friends are moving there. Everyone my age, <em>like me</em>, has moved or is moving there,&rdquo; he said while we chatted at a party.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago as a city of neighborhoods can mean a number of different things. This cultural identity can be comforting. People of similar races, ethnicities and classes move to neighborhoods where they can be among their own. We find comfort in the familiar, in what we know and what we&rsquo;ve always known. But our city of neighborhoods often isolates, creating a series of &ldquo;Chicagos,&rdquo; but not one that can represent the city as a whole.</p><p dir="ltr">In a recent blog post, my friend and interfaith scholar and activist Hafsa Arain <a href="http://salaamworld.tumblr.com/post/45591381949/when-people-talk-about-safe-neighborhoods-they" target="_blank">wrote</a> about this same situation. Although she wrote about a town outside of the city, her concerns and observations ring true for inside Chicago as well. She wrote:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">If you don&rsquo;t know how violence works in places you are unfamiliar with, then you have no basis for saying that those places should be kept away from entirely. I worked in Chicago Heights last summer - gang violence and gun violence are on the rise there - but there are also families with children who go to school. There are people getting their groceries, people walking their dogs on the street. When you tell me their lives are nothing but violence, you limit the neighborhood and the people who live there.</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">I recognize this, both the limitations and the realities. People describe the South Side as if it is one monolithic place with one singular identity: dangerous, foreign, a Chicago &ldquo;not our own.&rdquo; Nevermind how far it stretches, the variety of classes, the numerous (and often ignored) racial populations, the beautiful beaches and massive parks. No, people don&rsquo;t know or don&rsquo;t want to know these things. To them, it is just violence, thus limiting the neighborhoods (because there are many and not just one) and the people living in them.</p><p dir="ltr">My experiences living and playing on the West Side of Chicago in the Austin neighborhood as a child feel different than living in Lincoln Park as a college student or in Ukrainian Village as an adult. This is not just about age. These neighborhoods have completely different identities. I have friends who have told me they could never go to the Austin neighborhood because it is filled with crime, but my experiences growing up and my experiences visiting now tell me different things. It is a neighborhood that is not wealthy, but filled with lots of families. There are large homes that take up wide plots of land. There is a lot of crime, but there are also block organizations. There are block parties. If anything, Austin feels like the part of Chicago I don&rsquo;t tend to think about as a 25-year-old woman: the working, settled down, normal, &ldquo;everywhere else&rdquo; Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">Stereotypes, whether negative or benign, are a way of showing how a neighborhood is not &ldquo;me.&rdquo; There is a way of showing who I am and how I live and what I want to be, and living in one neighborhood versus another can signal those things. Likewise, dismissing one neighborhood over another is a way of confirming our &ldquo;nots.&rdquo; I am <em>not</em> drunken. I am <em>not</em>&nbsp;fratty. I am <em>not</em> mainstream. Our very essence is not part of this neighborhood or the people within it. It is not therefore I <em>am</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">Stereotyping neighborhoods limits what we know about the city. It allows us to miss out on musical venues, restaurants, architecture, and many of the other things that make Chicago such a culturally-rich city.</p><p dir="ltr">I was (and still am in many ways) an insecure woman worried about what others think of me. Talking to new friends now about where I lived in college, I was often hesitant to say Lincoln Park or Lakeview and rationalized my time there as just a student going to DePaul. &nbsp;<em>Well, those places are not who I am right now</em>, I used to rationalize. I was not identifying myself as someone from those neighborhoods. My time there was only transient. My identity was and is not Lincoln Park. My own personal weaknesses and immaturity acted as a barrier for others to better know other parts of the city and for myself to understand and appreciate where I was and what I had. I loved the abundance and access to a variety of different food options. Uptown was only minutes away. I still crave the convenience, the numerous methods of public transportation, the facade of safety.</p><p dir="ltr">As a college student, I spent long nights dancing and drinking in the back room of <a href="http://www.aliveone.com/" target="_blank">aliveOne</a> where my friend <a href="https://twitter.com/djcastle" target="_blank">Nick</a> spun hip-hop and r&amp;b. The space felt different than everywhere else in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. And when I had friends ask why I didn&rsquo;t want to go to other parts of the city, I simply explained how perfect a night spent listening to Mary J. Blige and sipping cheap drinks can feel. The experience reminds me of similar venues I find throughout my current Ukrainian Village neighborhood. The music might not be as wonderfully selected by a pro, but it is the simplicity of the experience, the familiar faces, and the settling in one spot that feels just as pleasant. Why malign Lincoln Park when I know, like anywhere else in the city, there is good and bad?</p><p dir="ltr">When we stereotype, we limit our scope and participation in what a city actually is. By confining ourselves to the identities of our neighborhoods, we are confining ourselves to these actual physical spaces. The stereotypes and identities then become true. <em>This is what it means to live here</em>. But we are multi-faceted people and likewise, this is a multi-faceted city. To suggest otherwise gives Chicago little credit for its history, its diversity, and what it can become in the future.</p><div><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for <a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a> or on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></div></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 07:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-03/i-am-enter-neighborhood-here-city-mistaken-identities-106389 Emma Goldman's Hideout http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/emma-goldmans-hideout-104625 <p><p>Chicago has many unmarked historic sites. The building at 2126 North Sheffield Avenue is another of these. In September &rsquo;01 the hunt for America&rsquo;s most wanted terrorist ended here.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Goldman%20Hideout%20%282011%29.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 367px; float: right;" title="Chicago History Happened Here: 2126 N. Sheffield Ave." />No, that wasn&rsquo;t 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. We&rsquo;re talking about 1901. The alleged terrorist was Emma Goldman. She was accused of conspiring to murder the President of the United States.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">On September 6, in Buffalo, President William McKinley had been shot and seriously wounded. The gunman was an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz. He told police that he&rsquo;d been inspired to his deed by Emma Goldman.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">At 32, the Russian-born Goldman was already famous&ndash;or infamous&ndash;as an organizer and promoter of radical-left causes. Czolgosz had heard her speak in Chicago the previous July. The two had talked briefly, then gone their separate ways.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicago&nbsp;officials believed that the plot to kill the president had been hatched right here. Six of Goldman&rsquo;s associates were arrested. Goldman was thought to be in St. Louis. Before police could act on this information, they received a new tip&ndash;Red Emma was on her way to Chicago!&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Goldman arrived by train, but the cops missed her. Meanwhile, they&rsquo;d staked out some of her known haunts. On the evening of September 9, a woman fitting Goldman&rsquo;s description was seen entering the flat on Sheffield Avenue. She remained inside.&nbsp;</div><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/Goldman, Emma.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 365px; float: left;" title="Emma Goldman (Chicago Daily News)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Shortly before noon the next day, the police moved in. The suspect was in an apartment on the third floor. While one officer knocked at the door, another climbed in through the window. They found a tiny, mild-looking woman sitting peacefully in a rocking chair, smiling at them.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">At first the woman denied she was Emma Goldman. That didn&rsquo;t last long. Admitting her identity, Goldman went quietly along to the Harrison Street lockup. In less than an hour, newspaper extras were on the street, announcing the capture of the most dangerous woman in America.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Goldman was questioned about the McKinley shooting. She wasn&rsquo;t troubled by it, and she wouldn&rsquo;t condemn Czolgosz. But she had only met Czolgosz that one time. She wasn&rsquo;t part of any conspiracy.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">McKinley died on September 14. Six weeks later, Czolgosz was executed. No evidence was found linking Goldman&nbsp;or her associates to the crime, and they were all released.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Emma Goldman was deported from the United States in 1919. She died in Canada in 1940. Her remains were returned to Chicago, and her grave is in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/emma-goldmans-hideout-104625 The secret history of Lincoln Park’s cemetery http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/secret-history-lincoln-park%E2%80%99s-cemetery-103777 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F66801330&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s toniest green space, Lincoln Park, was once the final resting place for more than 35,000 Chicagoans. And it may still serve as the graveyard for as many as 12,000 people buried during the mid-1800s.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Pamela%20Bannos%20map.jpg" style="float: left; height: 287px; width: 300px;" title="A map of the cemetery overlaid on top of Lincoln Park. (Courtesy of Pamela Bannos)" />The City Cemetery predates the city itself,&nbsp;according to Chicago artist Pamela Bannos, whose&nbsp;<a href="http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/home.html">Hidden Truth project</a>&nbsp;tries to uncover the real story behind that first cemetery, how it became Lincoln Park and why so many bodies were left behind in the process.</p><p>She&#39;s&nbsp;done extensive research that she&#39;s&nbsp;catalogued and made available on&nbsp;<a href="http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/home.html">her website</a>.</p><p>In 1842, when Chicago was a mere town of 7,000 people, the cemetery was carved from 100 acres of undeveloped land beyond North Avenue (then Chicago&rsquo;s northernmost point), and set aside.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just land at this point,&rdquo; Bannos said. &ldquo;Section Two [of the article of sale] says [that the land]: &lsquo;Shall forever remain a public burial ground and shall never be used for any other purpose.&rsquo; But if you think about what I&rsquo;m saying, it still is &ndash; it still is a burial ground if you believe that there are still bodies buried there.&rdquo;</p><p>Almost immediately there were problems with the cemetery: Burying bodies in loose, sandy soil so close to the lake meant that some corpses didn&rsquo;t stay buried for long. And getting permission to bury a loved one was an arduous, complicated process.</p><p>&ldquo;If you wanted a grave, you had to buy the lot, and it&rsquo;s a real estate transaction. You owned the deed to that ground,&rdquo; Bannos explained. &ldquo;So you had to go through the proper protocol to acquire that deed and it was kind of a baroque system. People circumvented the system and, like, went with their own shovel.&rdquo;</p><p>Dozens if not hundreds of people were buried there illegally every year in unmarked graves. When official grave diggers went to bury people with the proper documents, often times they&rsquo;d find a body already there.</p><p>And, shockingly (or not) corruption was rampant: The city had to pass a regulation stipulating that you could only buy plots from the city sexton. Bannos said that implied &ldquo;someone [else] was selling lots!&rdquo; All of this resulted in a wildly disorganized system in which thousands of bodies went unaccounted for or were buried in unmarked graves.</p><p>Many factors contributed to the demise of the land as a proper cemetery, according to Bannos, starting with those sanitary concerns, which led to an ordinance banning the burial of bodies close to water.&nbsp;Then Chicago&rsquo;s major private cemeteries &ndash; Rosehill, Graceland and Oakhill &ndash; came online in the early 1860s, providing a more attractive and better-run option for the city&rsquo;s elite.&nbsp;</p><p>Ultimately, the unused portion of land originally designated for the cemetery was rolled into what&rsquo;s now the park. (Bannos also tells a very complicated story that involves the city being sued by four orphans. That case led to the removal of 1,600 bodies from a 12-acre tract of land and hastened the cemetery&rsquo;s demise.) Damage caused to grave markers by the Great Chicago Fire sealed the deal. Wooden markers burned, marble ones crumbled and the cemetery grounds were trampled by people fleeing the Loop.</p><p>The city tried passing a regulation saying individual families, not the city, were responsible for moving the bodies of their loved ones.</p><p>&quot;The city didn&rsquo;t have the money,&quot; Bannos said. &quot;[The land] was owned by the Lincoln Park Commissioners at this point &ndash; it was not yet the Chicago Park District &ndash; they didn&rsquo;t have the funds.&rdquo;</p><p>That helps explain why so many graves, even the marked ones, didn&rsquo;t get moved: Families didn&rsquo;t have the money either, or they&#39;d already left town or had buried loved ones illegally in the first place.</p><p>Even now, Bannos estimates that as many as 12,000 bodies may still be buried underneath Lincoln Park. Many have already been unearthed.</p><p>&ldquo;Every time they dig in the park, they find bones,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Every time I found an article saying where they found bones,&nbsp;<a href="http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/evidence/findings_map/unexpected_findings.htm">I put a dot on my map</a>. The next thing I knew, my map had polka dots all over it. They left bodies everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>In the audio above, Bannos shares her favorite of these discovery stories. It&#39;s set right at the foot of the Chicago History Museum, where she delivered a recent lecture. The story involves an archeologist, a parking lot and a very creepy iron coffin. (See the video she refers to in her audio <a href="http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/evidence/excavation.html">here</a>.)</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Pamela Bannos spoke at an event presented by the Chicago History Museum earlier this month. Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/garden-dead-history-lincoln-park%E2%80%99s-elusive-graves-103620">here</a></em>&nbsp;<em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 10 Nov 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/secret-history-lincoln-park%E2%80%99s-cemetery-103777 The Oglesby statue http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/oglesby-statue-103496 <p><p>Lincoln Park is Chicago&rsquo;s outdoor Statuary Hall. There are monuments all over the grounds. It&rsquo;s a good place to relearn your history, because some of the statues are dedicated to forgotten notables.</p><p>For instance, take a look at the man in the rumpled suit on a hill near 2700 North Cannon Drive: That&rsquo;s Richard Oglesby.</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/11-08--Oglesby%20Statue_0.JPG" style="float: left; height: 345px; width: 275px;" title="Oglesby statue in Lincoln Park" /></div><p><em>Say, wasn&rsquo;t he governor back in the 1960s?</em></p><p>No, you&#39;re thinking of Richard <em>Ogilvie</em>. The metal man gazing out at Diversey Harbor was one of our governors, but many years earlier.</p><p>Richard James Oglesby was born in Kentucky in 1824. Orphaned as a young boy, he came to Illinois to live with an uncle in Decatur.</p><p>Oglesby worked at a variety of jobs, studied law, and moved into Republican politics. In 1860 he was elected to the Illinois Senate. When the Civil War broke out, he was appointed a colonel of infantry volunteers.</p><p>Oglesby rose in the ranks to larger commands, eventually becoming a major general. He was wounded in battle, and was a genuine war hero. In 1864 he resigned his commission to run for Governor of Illinois. He was easily elected.</p><p>As governor, Oglesby prodded the legislature to ratify the 13<sup>th</sup> Amendment &mdash; abolishing slavery &mdash; and supported the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. He returned to Decatur to practice law when his term ended. &nbsp;After a four year break, he was elected governor again in 1872.</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/11-08--Oglesby%20as%20General%20%28LofC%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 345px; width: 275px;" title="Oglesby as a Civil War general (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>This time he served only ten days. Having won the governorship for his party, Oglesby resigned so that the legislature could elect him United States Senator. He served a single six-year term, then retired.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Oglesby returned to politics in 1884. He was elected governor for a third time, the first three-peat in that office. During this final term he commuted the death sentences of two Haymarket defendants, but allowed the other executions to proceed.</p><p>Richard Oglesby died in 1899.</p><p>The Oglesby statue in Lincoln Park is the work of sculptor Leonard Crunelle. A gift to the city from five admirers, it was dedicated in 1919. Oglesby&rsquo;s Decatur home is a museum open to the public, and the town of Oglesby in La Salle County is name after him. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/oglesby-statue-103496 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 There in Chicago (#3) http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-17/there-chicago-3-96261 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="330" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/20--2012--North-Wells .JPG" title="North Ave @ Wells St (view east)" width="495"></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="330" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/20--1949%20%28Frank%29.jpg" title="1949 (Frank photo/author's collection)" width="495"></p><p>How well did you find your way around 1949 Chicago?</p><p>The one obvious clue is the streetcar signed for Route 72, which is the number still used by the CTA for North Avenue. The double-wires overhead is another clue. Trolley busses were soon to replace streetcars here, and North Avenue was one of the few streets near downtown that had trolley busses.</p><p>The red herring clue is the narrow street. This stretch of North Avenue wasn't widened until 1972, when all the buildings along the north side of the street were knocked down. But purely by coincidence, there's still a drugstore on the northeast corner of North and Wells.</p><p>Thanks for your answers. Next time we'll move further away from downtown, into one of the neighborhoods.</p></p> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-17/there-chicago-3-96261 Building collapses in extra-alarm fire in Lincoln Park http://www.wbez.org/content/building-collapses-extra-alarm-fire-lincoln-park <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/ycrkr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left; "><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-16/ycrkr.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-16/ycrkr.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 402px; " title="(Photo courtesy of Rosalee Inendino)"></a><em>Updated at 6:21 p.m.</em></p><p>Chicago firefighters have controlled an extra alarm fire on the city's North Side. Large plumes of black smoke could be seen from downtown Friday afternoon as Chicago firefighters battled the blaze at 525 W. Armitage, a residential building in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The three-story building was consumed by the flames, causing it to collapse.</p><p>Fire officials said the call came in just before 1:00 on Friday, and&nbsp;firefighters were able to knock it down a little over an hour later. As of late Friday afternoon, firefighters were still on scene.</p><p>A spokesman for the fire department said the building was vacant, and that nobody was injured in the blaze.</p><p>Earlier, sources had said there were two structures involved in the fire, but a spokesman later confirmed the flames were confined to just a single structure. He said approximately 100 firemen were on scene to battle the blaze and they used around 40 pieces of equiptment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/building-collapses-extra-alarm-fire-lincoln-park The story of the statue atop La Salle Street http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-09-05/story-statue-atop-la-salle-street-91154 <p><p>If you're in Lincoln Park this Labor Day, you might pass him on your way to the zoo or North Avenue Beach. Look for him a few hundred feet north of the Chicago History Museum.</p><p>There he stands, gazing down the street that carries his name. He is one of Chicago's most visible statues. He is - to give him his full name -Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-28/09-05--La Salle statue.jpg" style="margin-left: 8px; margin-right: 8px; margin-top: 8px; margin-bottom: 8px; float: left; width: 254px; height: 425px; " title="NE corner, Clark and La Salle"></p><p>Much of the material about La Salle is incomplete or contradictory. He seems to have been born of minor French nobility in 1643. As a youth he studied with the Jesuits, and may have thought about becoming a priest. But in 1666 he moved to France's North American outpost at Montreal.</p><p>La Salle was ambitious and well-connected. He received a series of royal patents to explore the interior of the continent. The idea was to set up forts and trading posts, and eventually attract settlers from the mother country.</p><p>Beginning in 1669, La Salle mounted a series of expeditions. He explored the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, then moved onto the Illinois River and the Mississippi Valley. He probably portaged through the area that became Chicago. But if he did, he didn't think it important enough to mention.</p><p>Every so often he returned to France to get his patents renewed, or otherwise engage in court intrigue. He was always on the go, and never found time to get married.</p><p>And though La Salle was intelligent and brave, he wasn't always popular. During a 1687 expedition into Texas, his men mutinied and killed him.</p><p>La Salle's name has been immortalized in streets and parks and hotels and towns and counties. And as anyone who ever watched <em>All in the Family </em>knows, there was once a La Salle car. ("Gee, our old La Salle ran great . . .")</p><p>The La Salle statue is among the city's older monuments. Designed by Jacques de La Laing, it was cast in Belgium, shipped to Chicago and formally dedicated in 1889. The money for the project was provided by art patron Lambert Tree.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-09-05/story-statue-atop-la-salle-street-91154