WBEZ | South Side http://www.wbez.org/tags/south-side Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, integration is no accident http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="375" scrolling="no" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wDl-MDSpfrk?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Erin McDuffie is from Ohio. Her husband grew up in Champaign, Ill. A mixed-race household with a toddler, they wanted to buy a house in a stable integrated South Side community. Their search led them to Beverly about three years ago. Beverly still has strong ties to its white ethnic roots, but also has a sizable number of African-Americans. Erin wondered what happened to make this South Side neighborhood different than Roseland or Englewood, which long ago became predominantly black.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/erin snow FOR WEB.jpg" style="height: 137px; width: 220px; float: right;" title="Erin McDuffie, left, asked how Chicago's Beverly neighborhood maintained racial integration. (Photo courtesy Erin McDuffie)" /></p><p>Erin asked Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How has Beverly managed to maintain racial integration while the majority of other South Side neighborhoods experienced white flight?</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>A little background</strong></p><p>In hyper-segregated Chicago, Beverly is often regarded as a South Side oasis of integration. Unlike integrated Hyde Park or Rogers Park on the North Side, there&rsquo;s<a href="http://www.uchicago.edu/"> no</a> university<a href="http://www.luc.edu/"> to anchor</a> Beverly or play a significant role in real estate.</p><p>The neighborhood is home to arguably the<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/top-notch-beefburgers/Location?oid=1024342"> best cheap burger</a> and fries in the city. Beverly&rsquo;s beauty is visible in its hilly streets and oversized lots, with homes designed by this <a href="http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM73DF_Raymond_W_Evans_Residence_Chicago_IL">legendary architect</a> among others. Mansions snake along Longwood Drive and the neighborhood&rsquo;s interior boasts an array of architectural styles, from Tudor to Italianate to Queen Anne to Spanish Colonial. Buoyed by its commitment to supporting local businesses, there&rsquo;s<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-09/classified/chi-beverly-profile_chomes_0109jan09_1_houses-landmark-districts-neighborhoods"> a quaintness</a> to Beverly.</p><p>According to the Woodstock Institute, today the neighborhood is 62 percent white and 34 percent black. But it wasn&rsquo;t always that way.</p><p>For the first half of the 20th century, Chicago&rsquo;s black families were confined to a chain of neighborhoods on the South Side known as the Black Belt &ndash; often in<a href="http://museum.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/bronzeville/bronzeville1.htm"> cramped kitchenettes</a>. But after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case<a href="http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/334/1/case.html"> Shelley v. Kraemer</a> struck down <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1067.html">racially restrictive real estate covenants</a> in 1948, Chicago&rsquo;s neighborhood racial composition changed dramatically.</p><p>With new housing options, blacks moved farther south to neighborhoods with attractive single-family homes such as Chatham, Englewood, Avalon Park and Calumet Heights. White families couldn&rsquo;t pack their bags fast enough, at times even moving during the middle of the night. From 1950 to 1960, Englewood&rsquo;s white population dropped from 89 percent to 31 percent. The story of<a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/11/mapping-60-years-white-flight-brain-drain-and-american-migration/7449/"> White Flight</a> played out similarly in other neighborhoods. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922#censusdata2">(see Census chart.)</a></p><p>Beverly, however, was an exception.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/for%20web%20houses.jpg" style="float: right; height: 214px; width: 320px;" title="Single-family houses on a residential Beverly street, 1974. (Photo courtesy UIC Digital Collections)" /></p><p>Black families didn&rsquo;t immediately move to Beverly, which was almost as far south as one could get before leaving the city and included more expensive housing stock. Some of the white Beverly families had already fled places like South Shore and Roseland once blacks starting buying homes there in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970, Beverly was 99 percent white. Some community leaders and real estate agents warned the neighborhood would devolve into a &ldquo;black ghetto&rdquo; if blacks started moving in. But a band of determined neighborhood planners helped Beverly push past the early opposition.</p><p>My search for an answer to Erin&rsquo;s Curious City question led me to <a href="http://chicagohistory.org/research">Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s Research Center</a> and the<a href="http://www.ridgehistoricalsociety.org/commun_hist02.html"> Ridge Historical Society</a> in Beverly. Combing through documents and original source material, I discovered that the<a href="http://www.bapa.org/content.asp?contentid=25"> Beverly Area Planning Association</a> (BAPA) stepped in to quell white fears, welcome its new black neighbors, battle the real estate industry and craft a new mission statement that celebrated diversity. The nonprofit community organization changed its direction in 1971 from a group concerned with zoning and parking to one working toward stabilized integration. BAPA&rsquo;s service area includes the sister community Morgan Park.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;Integration is inevitable&rdquo;</strong></p><p>That line comes from a flip chart called<a href="http://www.bapa.org/article.asp?articleid=1544"> &ldquo;Beverly Now&rdquo;</a> by future BAPA member L. Patrick Stanton. In 1971, Stanton toured the neighborhood to give presentations about integration. I found the original sheets penned in magic marker when Erin and I visited the Ridge Historical Society. (Stanton still lives in Beverly, as do six of his nine children and three grandchildren.)</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bapa%20pat%20stanton.jpg" style="float: left; width: 190px; height: 400px;" title="Patrick Stanton gave presentations about positive racial integration in Beverly throughout the 1970s. " />During this 1970s period, Beverly was a mostly Irish-Catholic neighborhood. BAPA hired Phillip Dolan, a former city administrator from Columbus, Ohio, as its new executive director. He set up a hotline for rumor control to relay accurate information in the wake of buzz about blacks buying in the neighborhood. BAPA staff members visited certain blocks to encourage people to stay in Beverly.</p><p>Residents also chafed against<a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/147.html"> &ldquo;blockbusting,&rdquo;</a> efforts by real estate agents to trigger the turnover of white-owned homes to blacks. Also known as &ldquo;panic peddling,&rdquo; this practice urged whites to sell before it was &ldquo;too late&rdquo; and &ldquo;the blacks&rdquo; lowered their property values. Agents might hire black subagents to walk or drive through a changing neighborhood to solicit business or behave in such a way to exaggerate white fears. In these scenarios, worried whites would sell their home cheaply and a panic peddler would inflate the price to, in turn, sell the home to a black family.</p><p>At the Chicago History Museum, I unearthed original BAPA newsletters from the 1970s. BAPA implored homeowners to sign &ldquo;letters of agency&rdquo; to prevent unauthorized solicitation from real estate agents. These letters asserted homeowners had no intention to sell. BAPA kept the letters on file and served &ldquo;uncooperative&rdquo; real estate firms with a notice to cease solicitation. Homeowners also refrained from putting for-sale signs in their yard.</p><p>Dolan told the Tribune in 1976: &ldquo;White families in urban areas must realize they can&rsquo;t run away from blacks. And they must realize that middle-class blacks and whites both want the same things &ndash; good schools, good services, low crime rate. At the same time, blacks are realizing that a neighborhood that is all one race increases the process of deterioration.&rdquo;</p><p>Between 1970 and 1980, the black population in Beverly grew from .1 percent to almost 14 percent. My aunt Joyce Bristow, a retired Chicago Public Schools administrator, was among the wave of those first black families.</p><p>She and her husband had been living in Little Italy and wanted to put down roots on the South Side near family. They felt Hyde Park was too congested and the houses in Chatham too old. In 1977, the couple fell in love with a tri-level house in Beverly.</p><p>&ldquo;It was a neighborhood that was always fascinating,&rdquo; Aunt Joyce said. &ldquo;I wanted diversity but that wasn&rsquo;t the main selling point. The house was the main selling point.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m always proud to say I&rsquo;ve lived in Beverly for 35 years. People are always taken aback by that.&rdquo;</p><p>Financially, it has been a good decision; her property value is up 300 percent. But that first year someone threw rocks in the big picture window off of the living room. My aunt said she assumed it was racially motivated.</p><p>&ldquo;We knew people weren&rsquo;t happy about blacks in Beverly. It made me nervous. A lot of times I closed the drapes. It made my parents very nervous.&rdquo;</p><p>Only one other black family resided on the well-manicured block when my aunt moved in. (Today there are at least 10.) Back then, apparently, that made the lone black owner nervous. Aunt Joyce said he filed a complaint against her black real estate agent for selling to another black on the block.<a name="censusdata2"></a></p><hr /><p><i>Chart: Racial makeup of South Side neighborhoods (1950-2013)</i><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0Am-AbC8HDbXMdGhITU9jTkt1YTNxd1NhN2hPaUV5U2c&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AC56&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"fontSize":16},"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Left vertical axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"sortColumn":null,"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Chart title","showRowNumber":false,"annotations":{"domain":{"style":"line"}},"alternatingRowStyle":true,"hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Horizontal axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},"width":600,"height":371},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[0,{"label":"WHITE","properties":{"role":"annotation"},"sourceColumn":1},{"label":"BLACK","properties":{"role":"annotationText"},"sourceColumn":2}]},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></p><p><i>Sources: Local Community Fact Book of Chicago, Woodstock Institute</i></p><p><strong>Racial steering</strong></p><p>Presumably, my aunt&rsquo;s neighbor feared so-called &ldquo;racial steering&rdquo; on his block. BAPA publicly worried about re-segregation in Beverly, too. They didn&rsquo;t want real estate agents selling homes consecutively, say three or more, to blacks on any given block.</p><p>Charles Shanabruch, who&rsquo;s white, led BAPA in the 1980s. I met up with him at a downtown Chicago coffee shop. He moved to Beverly in the late 1970s with his wife and two sons.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/historic%20society%20embed%20photo%20FOR%20WEB.png" style="float: right; height: 192px; width: 300px;" title="WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore, right, flips through original documents from the Beverly Area Planning Association with question-asker Erin McDuffie, left, at the Ridge Historical Society. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></p><p>&ldquo;It was a diverse community; that was important to us,&rdquo; Shanabruch said. Blacks continued to move to the neighborhood but another real estate force threatened that progress.</p><p>In the mid-1980s, Beverly, and a dozen integrated south and western suburbs conducted a testing program in which black and white couples of comparable incomes posed as potential home buyers to see how real estate agents treated them. BAPA said white testers were discouraged from racially integrated areas and black testers usually were steered away from homes in predominantly white suburbs. My aunt and late uncle &ndash; then a BAPA board member &ndash; were testers.</p><p>BAPA sued four Southwest suburban real estate firms for steering blacks to Beverly only. White clients were told they wouldn&rsquo;t want to live in Beverly because they wouldn&rsquo;t be comfortable in an integrated neighborhood. BAPA lost the first case and settled the other four. Real estate agents went through training, but more importantly, Shanabruch said it put the industry on notice.</p><p>&ldquo;I still have a visceral reaction,&rdquo; Shanabruch said of the first case. &ldquo;The problem was the jury was an all-white jury. Every time a black came up to be considered, the defense did a preempt [to keep blacks off.]&rdquo;</p><p>Realtors struck back. They sued BAPA, accusing the organization of trying to keep suburban brokers from doing business in Beverly and Morgan Park. BAPA prevailed against the lawsuit.</p><p>But some proponents of open housing took umbrage with BAPA. Frank Williams, a realtor, Beverly resident and president of the South Side NAACP branch told <em>The Chicago Tribune</em> in 1985: &ldquo;What is the difference between Cicero, which says we don&rsquo;t want any of you, and a community like Beverly, which says we are going to practice integration maintenance and we will do everything possible not to allow any more than three of you on a block? I don&rsquo;t see a difference.&rdquo;</p><p>Shanabruch, then and now, insisted Beverly did not have a quota system to keep a racial balance. In a <em>Tribune</em> letter to the editor, he wrote: &ldquo;If only blacks are being shown houses in certain areas of our neighborhood or on certain blocks, we watch more carefully, encouraging blacks to look at other parts of the neighborhood and other areas in order to offset any effect that dealers&rsquo; steering might have. Likewise, we encourage whites not to limit their options, but encourage them to consider the aforementioned block.&rdquo;</p><p>During our recent coffee, Shanabruch told me he worried resegregation on a block-by-block level would&rsquo;ve made whites nervous and disrupted the neighborhood. BAPA saw the neighborhood in competition with suburbs like Oak Park and Evanston, communities that put a premium on integration. BAPA placed ads in <em>Chicago</em> magazine and set up booths and home fairs. The pitch? If you like architecture, great schools and leafy canopies, come to Beverly.</p><p><strong>Integrated Schools</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sutherland%20photo%201.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Sutherland Elementary School was part of a desegregation plan in the early 1980s. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" />I grew up in Chatham, but my siblings and I rode a yellow school bus to attend Sutherland Elementary in Beverly. In the early 1980s, Chicago Public Schools unveiled a<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/04/us/chicago-announces-plans-to-desegregate-schools.html"> desegregation plan</a> for students that included busing. My parents loved our black middle-class neighborhood but felt strongly that their three children should receive an integrated education. I didn&rsquo;t realize I was part of a social experiment until much later in college. I just knew that only black kids rode the bus and I couldn&rsquo;t walk home for lunch. Not just because it was too far, but because unlike many of my white classmates&rsquo; mothers, mine worked during the day.</p><p>Overall, I loved Sutherland, loved my teachers and had black and white friends over for sleepovers, and vice versa. But I did experience odd moments of racial consciousness at a young age in Beverly. For a long time I thought only white kids ate white bread and black kids ate wheat bread, based on what I saw at the lunch tables. Imagine my surprise when one day I saw a white classmate unwrap his sandwich with wheat bread. Then there was gym class, which I hated because the teacher was mean to me. A few years ago, I ran into our beloved former principal, who&rsquo;s white, and told him the story. He explained the gym teacher eventually left because she didn&rsquo;t adapt too well to new black kids in the school.</p><p>During this time Beverly leaders like Shanabruch pushed for magnet schools and enhanced programs &ndash; like the one at Sutherland called Options for Knowledge - to keep and attract families. Sometimes white families stayed, but the neighborhood schools remained strong irrespective of racial composition.</p><p>Jennifer Smith, who is white, grew up in Beverly along with her six siblings. They all attended Vanderpoel Magnet for elementary school in the 1980s. One year she was the only white girl in her classroom.</p><p>&ldquo;When I was a kid, I didn&rsquo;t really think about the fact that all of my friends were African American. It was just normal,&rdquo; Smith said. Her parents believed in public education. Smith and her younger sister were best friends with two black sisters on their block.</p><p>The racial tension came from elsewhere.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel in the 1980s, there was a sharp divide between the (white) Catholic school kids and the (white) public school kids. Most of the white people in Beverly sent their kids to Catholic schools,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;We got called a lot of racial epithets like &lsquo;n-word lover.&rsquo; But it didn&rsquo;t shake our world up too much. We would throw stuff back and fight with them.&rdquo;<a name="cpsdata"></a></p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0Am-AbC8HDbXMdEd1QWFEbVhlZW1xVDRxOW1ibl9jRGc&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AC7&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"series":{"0":{"errorBars":{"errorType":"none"},"color":"#c9daf8"}},"animation":{"duration":500},"theme":"maximized","width":600,"hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":null,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Racial makeup of public schools in Beverly","height":371,"domainAxis":{"direction":1},"legend":"in","focusTarget":"category","isStacked":true,"tooltip":{}},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":false,"chartType":"ColumnChart","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script><p><span id="cke_bm_366S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_367S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_368S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_371S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><i>Source: Chicago Public Schools</i><span id="cke_bm_371E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_368E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_367E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_366E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><p>Back in the early 1990s, then 16-year-old Morgan Park High School student Todd Clayton and a group of black friends would play basketball at Beverly Park on West 102nd Street. One day, he recalled, a group of white boys with bats and chains chased them away screaming &ldquo;Nigger, this is our park.&rdquo; Clayton and his friends ran to a nearby gas station payphone to call the police.</p><p>&ldquo;When the police arrived on the scene, they didn&rsquo;t do anything to the boys that were still in the park. They told us it would be best for us to stay away from the park to avoid trouble,&rdquo; Clayton said.</p><p>Clayton said they ignored the police officers&rsquo; warning and kept coming back to the park &ndash; but with more guys as &ldquo;reinforcement.&rdquo; The white guys didn&rsquo;t bother them again.</p><p>&ldquo;Our main point was we weren&rsquo;t going to be pushed away,&rdquo; Clayton said. &ldquo;We evened the number for a fair fight if it came to that.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Today&rsquo;s Beverly</strong></p><p>The public schools in Beverly today don&rsquo;t necessarily reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922#cpsdata">(See chart.)</a></p><p>Most chalk it up to the strong Irish-Catholic identity and Catholic schools in the community. <a href="http://morganparkcps.org/special_programs.jsp">Morgan Park High School</a> now has a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme that current BAPA executive director Matt Walsh hopes will be a draw to families.</p><p>Walsh said BAPA&rsquo;s annual home tour, <a href="http://www.bapa.org/RIDGERUN/">Ridge Run</a> and other special events are used to lure people to the area. &ldquo;People here want to live in a racially diverse community. We continue to work on it,&rdquo; Walsh said, acknowledging that people don&rsquo;t always socialize as much as he would like. Recently, the <a href="http://www.beverlyartcenter.org/">Beverly Arts Center</a> hired<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/beverly-arts-center-hires-new-executive-director-109725"> Heather Ireland Robinson</a>, in part, to bring in more diverse programming.</p><p>But challenges remain. In late February, a musician wrote in his&nbsp;<a href="http://icestentatious06.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/too-many-black-people-at-mcnallys-says-chicago-police-officer/">blog</a> about an untoward racial incident at McNally&rsquo;s, a bar on 111th and Western &ndash; technically the Morgan Park neighborhood. Many of the bars on Western Avenue between Beverly and Morgan Park have a reputation &ndash; rightly or wrongly &ndash; of not being open to blacks. The blog post spread via social media. &nbsp;</p><p>I called McNally&rsquo;s and was told the bar did not have a statement.</p><p>BAPA swiftly responded with an e-mail blast: &ldquo;Recently, an incident which allegedly occurred at a local establishment generated a whirlwind of passionate conversations on diversity in Beverly Hills/Morgan Park. While BAPA does not have all the details or specific facts involving this incident, it is clear from the exchanges on blogs, emails, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media that diversity, whether it be racial or ethnic, is an important cornerstone of this community. In fact, Beverly Hills/Morgan Park is one of the most integrated neighborhoods in Chicago, and BAPA has a rich history in working to achieve this&hellip;. With so many neighbors reaching out to BAPA and the greater online community to share their commitment to integration, diversity and inclusion, we truly do believe that we have a new &lsquo;shot at greatness.&rsquo; Bring us your concerns and your ideas, get involved in not just the conversation but the connection.&rdquo;</p><p>So, is that connection something Curious City question-asker Erin McDuffie feels living in Beverly today?</p><p>&ldquo;As far as the South Side is concerned, it means something to people &ndash; and to white people in Beverly in particular &ndash; to have integration,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And I think for black families who live here, my hope is that we feel accepted and know that&rsquo;s coming from a genuine place.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" target="_blank">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/chicagos-beverly-neighborhood-integration-no-accident-109922 Northwestern trauma surgeon finds link between booze and bullets http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-trauma-surgeon-finds-link-between-booze-and-bullets-108728 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Liquor Store.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Dr. Marie Crandall was at UCLA when riots broke out in Los Angeles in the early &lsquo;90s. In the aftermath, activists there zeroed in on liquor stores, identifying them as as hotspots for violence. Many sought to have licenses revoked&mdash;but store owners rebuffed and said there was no data to support the claims. And they were right.</p><p>While the discussion about a potential link between booze and bullets has persisted over the last 20-plus years, the data dam remained dry.</p><p>So Crandall, now an associate professor of surgery at Northwestern&rsquo;s Feinberg School of Medicine, decided to crunch Chicago&rsquo;s numbers. She and her research partners used data from the Illinois State Trauma Registry from 1999 - 2009 to geocode all the gunshot wounds that presented to trauma centers in Chicago during that period. They cross referenced the data with the locations of liquor licenses held in the area.</p><p>&ldquo;I was not surprised that there was an association in our again, already distressed communities. I was surprised at the strength of the association in a few of these areas,&rdquo; Crandall said.</p><p>The study found that in some South and West Side neighborhoods, a person is up to 500 times more likely to get shot hanging out by a place with a liquor license than they are standing three blocks away.</p><p>That was not the case in more affluent areas of the city. And Crandall said she thought the geographic trend reflected other issues facing Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;If you looked at the maps, you would see that the trauma deserts, and these neighborhoods that have the association with liquor licenses and food deserts and places where we&rsquo;re closing elementary schools&mdash;all seem to overlap,&rdquo; she explained.</p><p>Crandall said she hopes that when the study is published in a couple of months, it will inform discussions at the city level about potential to engage the business community and public health officials about this association and potential solutions.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 20:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-trauma-surgeon-finds-link-between-booze-and-bullets-108728 Senior public housing residents protest terrible living conditions http://www.wbez.org/news/senior-public-housing-residents-protest-terrible-living-conditions-108326 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CHA protest 130807 AY.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Residents in senior public housing on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side say they are living with mice, bedbugs, cockroaches and other problems.</p><p>Seniors and activists from the North Kenwood community protested against poor management outside the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) headquarters today.</p><p>Resident Alphonso Jones says they&rsquo;ve<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/senior-citizens-blast-prominent-community-leader-slumlord-105612"> complained before</a>, but managers aren&rsquo;t doing enough to solve the problems.</p><p>&ldquo;They plugged all the holes, and they put down some sticky pads. Alright, everyone knows that mice are too smart for sticky pads,&rdquo; Jones said.</p><p>Jones also described paint peeling off walls, mold, bedbugs and apartments where he can see the outdoors through holes in the wall. He says some senior residents are disabled and cannot clean their own apartments. The protesters brought placards with pictures, some of which were taken by Jones. He says he wrote over 40 letters to CHA and management, but the only response he got was that if he wrote one more letter, he would be evicted.</p><p>Resident Frances Banks says managers only did cosmetic changes without addressing underlying problems.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like if you have cancer on your face: you put on some makeup, it covers the cancer up, but you still have cancer,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>She eventually moved out, but she says she will continue fighting for public housing tenants.</p><p>&ldquo;I could not stand the roaches, the bedbugs, the mice and the intimidation,&rdquo; Banks said.</p><p>Although the protesters described individual apartments, these problems are widespread, says Princella Lee, a member of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization.</p><p>In particular, they named Judge Slater Apartments, the Judge Slater Annex and Vivian Harsh Apartments, making up 570 units of public housing in the North Kenwood community. The units are managed by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation (WCDC), a project of Reverend Leon Finney. At <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/senior-citizens-blast-prominent-community-leader-slumlord-105612">a previous protest this February</a>, residents called Finney a slumlord.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s easy to dismiss this to one tenant but these conditions are prevalent in many of the units on the South Side of Chicago, particularly in WCDC managed buildings,&rdquo; Princella Lee said. &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s not act like we don&rsquo;t know the history that WCDC and Leon Finney has had in the City of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Finney is a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/housing-d%C3%A3%C2%A9j%C3%A3%C2%A0-vu-woodlawn-residents">politically connected pastor</a> who used to serve on the city&rsquo;s planning commission. The protesters said Finney should step down, and that WCDC should not be allowed to manage public housing. They also ask for public housing officials to walk through the buildings with them, and they plan to take the issue to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>In response to the pictures of bed bugs, Chicago Housing Authority spokeswoman Wendy Parks said the agency carries out monthly pest control meetings. She also says Charles Woodyard, the agency&rsquo;s CEO, will meet with residents this month. Parks says the CHA will be requesting proposals from property management firms interested in managing the public housing complexes, but notes this does not mean they are replacing Finney and the WCDC.</p><p>She also points out officials are improving Judge Slater Apartments, where Alphonso Jones lives, in an ongoing construction project. The $13.5-million project would install new plumbing, flooring, lights and paint. The first phase should be complete early next year.</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fefc2b9-5aba-cd02-667f-d737ab9aac4f"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him </span><a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@Alan_Yu039</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></span></p></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/senior-public-housing-residents-protest-terrible-living-conditions-108326 CTA wants local artist Theaster Gates to create work at a Red Line station http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/cta-wants-local-artist-theaster-gates-create-work-red-line-station-108046 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 11.33.22 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Transit Authority wants a well-known local artist to create two pieces for a Red Line station.</p><p>Theaster Gates is an award-winning artist who has a show at the city&rsquo;s Museum of Contemporary Art now. He&rsquo;s known for exploring the intersection of art and urban planning, such as his <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Ftheastergates.com%2Fsection%2F117693_Dorchester_Projects.html&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHJBPUMGolava_MSEMpGT1tjlVzEw">Dorchester Projects</a>.</p><p>Gates doesn&rsquo;t know what the CTA art would look like yet: He says he&rsquo;d base his design on input from residents.</p><p>Local colleges and community groups would help him with the installations, and so would high school students in an apprenticeship program.</p><p>&ldquo;I want them to see that process and understand that architect and builders and developers and planners help shape that work along with artists,&rdquo; Gates said.</p><p>The proposed artwork is part of a larger renovation to the aging CTA Red Line terminal at 95th Street. The CTA board is expected to vote on the project Monday.</p><p>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him @jclee89</p></p> Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/art/cta-wants-local-artist-theaster-gates-create-work-red-line-station-108046 City tackles crime with demolitions http://www.wbez.org/news/city-tackles-crime-demolitions-107840 <p><p>Carl Carpenter has lived most of his 41 years in Englewood, starting at a time when the area was full of houses. But things have changed.</p><p>&ldquo;Every other block, you&rsquo;ve got anywhere between 5 to 6 vacant lots,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Some of those vacancies were part of collaboration between the Chicago Police Department and Department of Buildings to demolish structurally unsound properties that also bred criminal activity. About 300 buildings were knocked down in the last year.<br /><br />Carpenter, who lives with relatives in the South Side neighborhood, doesn&rsquo;t think the plan is a real solution to curb crime.<br /><br />&ldquo;If that&rsquo;s the best you can do, stop playing,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;That ain&rsquo;t fixing to do nothing. What&rsquo;s that going to stop?&rdquo;</p><p>Carpenter said the strategy of tearing down vacant homes makes it harder for low-income residents who may live in the foreclosed or abandoned properties.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s people who live there,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You gonna force them to be homeless and force them into crime?&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department said in the target area of the 3rd, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th police districts, overall crime has dropped.</p><p>In the police district that covers Englewood, murders and overall crime are both down 19 percent from last year. Shootings are down 38 percent.</p><p>More than 100 properties in the area were demolished during this time.<br /><br />Leo Schmitz is the deputy chief of the 7th district. He said gang members use vacant buildings on strategic blocks to store either narcotics or weapons.</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/Screen%20Shot%202013-06-25%20at%203.43.30%20PM.png" style="float: right; height: 414px; width: 280px;" title="A neighbor of this Englewood apartment building who called himself &quot;Big Homie&quot; said he felt safer after the building was recently boarded up. (WBEZ/Tricia Bobeda)" />Schmitz said it&rsquo;s largely the community that brings problems to police attention. He said officials work with property owners first and only use demolition as a last resort.</div><p>&ldquo;Whether it&rsquo;s boarding it up, whether it&rsquo;s fixing it up and getting new tenants in, all of that is brought to the table before demolition is performed,&rdquo; he said.<br />&nbsp;<br />Asiaha Butler is the founder of Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) She said her organization works with the 7th district often.<br /><br />&ldquo;I know the CAPS officers,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re doing a lot of great work. I don&rsquo;t know how strategic the plans are overall [that I] can say is making a huge impact on the community.&rdquo;<br /><br />Butler is a property owner on a block with very few neighbors. She doesn&rsquo;t like to see demolitions.<br /><br />&ldquo;But at the same time you don&rsquo;t want to have havens where people can do criminal activity,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I definitely see a fast track of the demolishing of buildings. I don&rsquo;t necessarily see a fast track in curing the criminal activity that&rsquo;s happening there.&rdquo;</p><p>She said there needs to be more collaboration among residents, police and organizations for a plan to work.<br /><br />&ldquo;The city said they&rsquo;re gonna do this, but we on the block know that something else needs to happen,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />Butler said part of that is getting people to invest in properties in the community. She&rsquo;s hopeful that the market <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/residents-city-tackle-problems-around-vacant-homes-and-lots-107825" target="_blank">is slowly turning around</a>.<br /><br />In another part of Englewood, litter collects against some abandoned chairs in a large empty lot. A family that lives across the street is just arriving home.</p><p>A 19-year-old resident who didn&rsquo;t want to give his real name said to call him Big Homie. He says new streetlights and more secured buildings make his block feel safer.<br /><br />He remembers his uncle living in the house across the street before it was demolished. He points out a large boarded up apartment building on the block.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was a good place at one point, but the gangs took over,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s done now. They boarded everything up.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Susie An is WBEZ&rsquo;s business reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">@soosieon.</a></em></p></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-tackles-crime-demolitions-107840 Will Pullman ever be revitalized? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/will-pullman-ever-be-revitalized-107758 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F97763213&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We have a lot of shorthand ways to talk about Chicago.</p><p>Boosters call it the &ldquo;city that works&rdquo; (a phrase coined by the late Arlington Heights writer <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/01/obituaries/frank-maier-57-dies-ex-newsweek-reporter.html">Frank Maier</a>, or maybe his <a href="http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090903.php">editor</a>). Detractors gave the city perhaps its most famous &mdash; and its most vexing &mdash; identity as the <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/why-they-call-it-the-second-city/Content?oid=882456">&ldquo;second city.&rdquo;</a></p><p>For longtime residents though, I&rsquo;d wager Chicago is most a &ldquo;city of neighborhoods,&rdquo; an <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-how-are-chicago-neighborhoods-formed-103831">identity Curious City has looked into</a>.</p><p>But not every neighborhood gets the same love or foot traffic, and that fact got Hannah Loftus thinking.</p><p>Loftus grew up in Glen Ellyn and is, as of this writing, a newly-minted graduate of the University of Chicago. (Congrats, Hannah!) While earning her anthropology degree, Loftus made field trips to Pullman, a historic neighborhood that hugs the Bishop Ford Expressway south of 95th Street.</p><p>Those visits prompted her to ask Curious City:</p><p><em>Will Pullman ever be revitalized?</em></p><p>Loftus&rsquo; question came from a big discrepancy she observed, one that&rsquo;s dogged Pullman residents for decades: Pullman&rsquo;s history is vast and rich, but today it struggles from a lack of jobs and amenities.</p><p><strong>Visible history</strong></p><p>If you&rsquo;re not familiar with the history Loftus caught on to, here&rsquo;s a brief sketch.</p><p>Starting in 1880, industrialist George Pullman had a whole town built from scratch, to house workers at his Pullman Palace Car Company, which was churning out a new mode of rail travel: luxury sleeping cars. His town of Pullman was an early example of a planned community, one so striking it was voted the most perfect town in the world, at the Prague International Hygienic and Pharmaceutical Exposition of 1896.</p><p>But Pullman&rsquo;s town didn&rsquo;t draw attention just because of its layout and industry &mdash; the workers were notable, too. The nation&rsquo;s first black labor union has its roots here, and a strike started by Pullman workers became one of history&rsquo;s most violent labor contests.</p><p><a name="gallery"></a></p><div align="center" id="PictoBrowser130619183510"><a name="gallery">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</a></div><p><a name="gallery"><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Curious City: Pullman"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157634199298807"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "72"); so.write("PictoBrowser130619183510"); </script></a></p><p>Today, some of this past is still visible.</p><p>Ninety-eight percent of the town&rsquo;s original housing stock, which ranges from practical row houses to stately mansions, still stands. If you combine that with what&rsquo;s left of a factory complex as well as the historic Hotel Florence, a walk through Pullman can feel like wandering into a 19th century town.</p><p>Still, Pullman is not on everybody&rsquo;s radar.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to have this history,&rdquo; says Loftus. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s not quite something you think about when you consider the overall history of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>In addition to its low profile, Loftus notes that Pullman also lacks basic resources, like grocery stores and jobs.</p><p>Now some residents I talked to questioned whether Pullman needs to be revitalized at all (they gave variations of &ldquo;What&rsquo;s wrong with our community the way it is?&rdquo;). But for many years community groups and aldermen have worked hard to develop the neighborhood.</p><p>For them the debate&rsquo;s been more about how &mdash; and not whether &mdash; to revitalize.</p><p><strong>History as resource?</strong></p><p>As ironic as this may sound, some are convinced Pullman&rsquo;s past is the big money maker.</p><p>Take Michael Shymanski. Officially, he&rsquo;s an architect and the President of the <a href="http://www.pullmanil.org/">Historic Pullman Foundation</a>. Unofficially, many call him the mayor of Pullman.</p><p>To get a better idea of Shymanski&rsquo;s vision, I tour the neighborhood with him. Turns out that vision draws from the design elements of the original town.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20%282%29.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 270px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Jesse Jennings Sr. says lack of investment endangers the viability of Pullman and its racial diversity. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee) " />Pullman wanted a worker&rsquo;s utopia that he &mdash; the big boss &mdash; would control. He hired Solon Spencer Beman to design the community and factory complex (other still-existing Chicago structures by Beman include the Blackstone Library and the Fine Arts Building). Nathan F. Barrett developed the town&rsquo;s landscapes.</p><p>Shymanski says everything was oriented toward the railroad and making a grand impression upon train passengers. The main administrative building with its large clock tower was situated directly across from the train station. It was set back and preceded by a curvilinear drive and Lake Vista, a large reflecting pond that happened to fed by condensation collected from the huge Corliss engine that powered the Pullman machinery.</p><p>George Pullman constructed other facilities, too, including a church, a central market, and an arcade that housed a 500-seat theatre, a library, a post office and small shops for tailors and dentists.</p><p>&ldquo;Even today it&rsquo;s a model for pedestrian-scale development,&rdquo; says Shymanski. &ldquo;People could walk to all their normal activities within 10 minutes or so. They could get produce at Market Hall. There were all kinds of recreation activities along the edge of Lake Calumet. They could walk to work and were just a few steps from a train station that would take them downtown.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>The decline</strong></p><p>There&rsquo;s not as much to walk to today.</p><p>Pullman&rsquo;s dream of a model community evaporated, thanks to a crippling recession and the resulting workers strike (Pullman cut the workforce and wages, but kept charging the same rents). In 1898, Pullman was ordered to sell off non-factory property, including all the residential buildings (Chicago had annexed Pullman previously, in 1889). Though the factory <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1028.html">kept manufacturing cars until the late 1970&rsquo;s</a>, the area went through some major changes.</p><p>Through destruction or decay, some of the key infrastructure is gone. The Arcade Building was torn down in 1927, rendered obsolete by newer shopping areas. After multiple fires and a 1930s makeover, Market Hall is mainly a shell of brick and girders, though the original apartment buildings that form the square around the hall remain.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/arcade2.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: right; height: 242px; width: 270px;" title="The Pullman Arcade Building, as photographed in the late 1880s.(Photo courtesy of Historic Pullman Foundation)" /></p><p>The main administration building and clock tower, damaged by arson in 1998, have undergone some restoration and stabilization, but they&rsquo;re cordoned off behind a chain link fence.</p><p>What&rsquo;s left? In addition to the residences, the Greenstone Church remains sturdy, and there&rsquo;s the Hotel Florence, which is currently <a href="http://www.pullman-museum.org/misc/construction.html">being restored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency</a>.</p><p>That any of this remains has much to do with the various historic designations Pullman has earned over the years.</p><p>In the 1960s there was an effort to raze Pullman and turn it into an industrial park. A civic group formed to fight this move, and since then the neighborhood has been granted local, state and federal landmark status.</p><p><strong>The drive for a park</strong></p><p>Despite its historic designations, Pullman hasn&rsquo;t yet figured out how to cash in on its past.</p><p>The Pullman Historic Foundation runs a visitors center, conducts tours and hosts events. The state offers regular tours and some interpretation of the (largely empty) factory building.</p><p>In the northern part of the district you can also visit the <a href="http://www.aphiliprandolphmuseum.com/">A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum</a>, which tells the story of how Pullman porters, who were all African American, became <a href="http://publications.newberry.org/pullman/">the first black union</a> in the United States. &nbsp;</p><p>But most of this history isn&rsquo;t tied together, and when visitors do come, they don&rsquo;t find much in the way of permanent programming, or even a dedicated gift shop to buy historic Pullman souvenirs.</p><p>So to draw more tourists and help revive Pullman&rsquo;s local economy, many Pullman boosters are trying to turn the area into a national historical park.</p><p>The idea was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-01-31/could-citys-pullman-community-become-home-chicagos-first-national-park-95974">proposed in early 2012 </a>by former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. who <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3894">asked the Secretary of the Interior</a> to undertake a &ldquo;reconnaissance study&rdquo; of Pullman.</p><p>The National Park Service agreed. And according to Lynn McClure of the National Parks Conservation Association, the report &mdash; which, they say, should be out any day &mdash; is a &ldquo;high five&rdquo; for making Pullman a national park.</p><p>Now all that&rsquo;s required is congressional approval. Though Congress isn&rsquo;t known for acting swiftly, McClure is confident.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no reason we can&rsquo;t get it done by the end of 2014,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>What would park status bring?</p><p>Pullman currently has some tourism traffic, but not a lot.</p><p>Mike Wagenbach of the State Historic Site says the neighborhood draws between 25,000 and 35,000 visitors each year. That&rsquo;s a drop in the bucket when you consider Chicago saw <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/chi-chicago-draws-near-record-46m-tourists-in-2012-20130610,0,4660651.story">46.2 million visitors last year.</a></p><p>No doubt Pullman&rsquo;s low turnout has something to do with its location; though the neighborhood is just off a major freeway to its east, it&rsquo;s still 10 miles from the Loop. And that means it&rsquo;s far off the tourism industry&rsquo;s beaten path.</p><p>Lynn McClure says &ldquo;nobody is naive enough to think that [a park] would significantly increase tourism,&rdquo; but her office recently undertook an economic study to determine what effect such a designation might have on the area.</p><p>It turns out the idea of using a national park to generate economic activity has precedent.</p><p>In 1978, Lowell Massachusetts, once a significant player in America&rsquo;s historic textile industry, was turned into a park. Thirty years later, a study assessing its impact said the park acted as a catalyst, attracting and even speeding up investment.</p><p>Mike Shymanski says if Pullman were a national park, with lots of interpretation and tourism infrastructure, it <em>would </em>draw more people <em>and </em>give them somewhere to spend their money.</p><p>And that cash &mdash; the theory goes &mdash; could help revitalize Pullman.</p><p>&ldquo;The current purchasing power in the neighborhood can&rsquo;t sustain redevelopment,&rdquo; says Shymanski, &ldquo;But if we had 100,000 or 200,000 visitors coming a year, we could.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Pullman 2.0</strong></p><p>Still, not everyone is banking on Pullman&rsquo;s past.</p><p>&ldquo;Certainly the historic parts are important and we want to be sensitive to that,&rdquo; says David Doig, president of the non-profit Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives. &ldquo;But unless it&rsquo;s a desirable community with all the amenities that people expect, you know people aren&rsquo;t going to want to live there.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20%281%29.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: right; width: 200px; height: 300px;" title="David Doig, left, says development in Pullman should prioritize improvement in people's everyday living conditions. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" />To make a point about Pullman&rsquo;s future, Doig takes me up to the 11th floor of the U.S. Bank Building, his base of operations. There, we have a birds-eye view of a 180-acre construction site and the future home of a development called <a href="http://www.cnigroup.org/economic.html">Pullman Park</a>.</p><p>CNI is doing a lot to revitalize Pullman &mdash; everything from backing <a href="http://community.suntimes.com/swchicago/2012/12/06/pullman-to-become-thriving-art-neighborhood/">an artists space</a> to <a href="http://hpherald.com/2013/03/01/chicago-neighborhood-initiatives-impacting-pullman/">rehabbing historic homes</a> &mdash; but Pullman Park is their biggest and maybe most ambitious effort.</p><p>The mixed-use development underway at 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway will sport a Walmart store (slated to open this fall), as well 1,000 units of housing, a recreation facility and park areas. There are also plans for pedestrian-scale retail.</p><p>Put all this together, and you see Doig&rsquo;s creating a Pullman 2.0.</p><p>It may be a scaled-down version of George Pullman&rsquo;s all-encompassing community, but it&rsquo;s one that would provide what locals say the neighborhood now lacks: retail spaces, jobs, affordable housing and community facilities. Fittingly, this new community would sit atop part of Pullman&rsquo;s former factory complex (Ryerson Steel Processing Inc., <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-02-16/business/8701120766_1_george-pullman-metals-industrial">bought part of the plant </a>in the late 1980s, but shut it down in 2006.)</p><p>Doig says his development and other efforts to revitalize historic Pullman are &ldquo;not competing but complementary.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We really view this as kind of a catalyst for what we hope will be other forms of private investment and revitalization in the broader community,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>So what are the prospects for Pullman?</p><p>Mike Shymanski thinks things bode well for a true revitalization, despite all the years of investment that haven&rsquo;t yet made a difference.</p><p>&ldquo;Eventually, good ideas have their celestial order that makes them happen,&rdquo; says Shymanski. &ldquo;And I think we&rsquo;re very close to that.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport">Instagram.</a>&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>Special thanks to the Historic Pullman Foundation, which gave Alison Cuddy permission to use several images posted here. You can find more at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/historicpullman/photos_albums">the organization&#39;s Facebook page</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.pullmanil.org/">website</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 16:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/will-pullman-ever-be-revitalized-107758 How the Dan Ryan changed the South Side http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-dan-ryan-changed-south-side-107536 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F95603153&amp;color=00a8ff&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>If you&rsquo;re personally familiar with Chicago&rsquo;s Dan Ryan Expressway, your appreciation for this story will greatly improve if you stop reading for a moment, visualize your last trip and consider some stats you probably never compiled.</p><p>Maybe you never counted the number of lanes (there are 14, counting both local and express traffic), or you missed the fact that &mdash; all told &mdash; there are 62 ramps on the expressway. And even if you were driving alone, you had a lot of company; each day, more than 250,000 drivers zip along the 9-mile long stretch, which moves south from Roosevelt Road to 95th Street.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ryne Holmquist for web.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 175px; float: right;" title="Question asker Ryne Holmquist has spent many hours traversing the Dan Ryan Expressway from Chicago to Northwest Indiana. (Courtesy Ryne Holmquist)" /></p><p>Come to think of it, maybe you&rsquo;d be impressed even if your tires never touched the expressway&rsquo;s pavement.</p><p>Well, the Dan Ryan&rsquo;s inspired several Curious City questions, the bulk of them from Ryne Holmquist of Chicago&#39;s Pilsen neighborhood. Ryne&rsquo;s grandparents grew up in Woodlawn, and he&rsquo;d asked them what their lives were like on the South Side. But, he says, he wanted to know more. Curious City editors and producers condensed his questions into this:</p><p><em>What did the Chicago South Side look like before the Dan Ryan Expressway?</em></p><p>It&rsquo;s a broad question to be sure, so it helped to know that Ryne was particularly interested in why the expressway was constructed in the first place, and a little about whether the area&rsquo;s racial makeup changed.</p><p>And here&rsquo;s where we &mdash; four University of Chicago undergraduates &mdash; step in. We addressed Ryne&rsquo;s questions by reading city archives, poring over historical maps and collecting relevant photographs. We also talked to people who recall the days before the Dan Ryan&rsquo;s arrival, and we also hoofed it around several South Side neighborhoods.</p><p>The skinny is that the South Side changed forever after the Dan Ryan&rsquo;s arrival, but maybe not entirely because of the Dan Ryan itself.&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dan Ryan Group shot.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="Our University of Chicago team from right to left: Alice Ye, Begum Cital, Samantha Brown, Sam Brandt. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p><strong>Why the behemoth in the first place?</strong></p><p>The expressway was originally called the South Route. In 1961, it was renamed after Dan Ryan Jr., the former president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and a strong proponent of expressways.</p><p>When it opened in 1962 the Dan Ryan promptly became host to shenanigans.</p><p>We learned some of these accounts from Andy Plummer, a transportation historian who documents the Cook Expressways on his <a href="http://cookexpressways.com/story.html">website</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;The thing I remember about the Dan Ryan was that there was a vendor that came onto the expressway using the ramp,&quot; he says. &quot;He figured with all those people there, he was going to be able to sell some hotdogs. ... He was the first one arrested.&rdquo;</p><p>Plummer&#39;s got a lot of personal history with expressways, too. He&rsquo;s worked on studies concerning the Dan Ryan (both before and after construction), and his father was involved in planning many Chicago expressways.</p><p>Before the Dan Ryan, Chicago had already built the Congress Expressway (1955) and the&nbsp;Kennedy Expressway (1960).</p><p>&quot;The motivation for the South Route was the same as the Northwest and Congress,&quot; Plummer says. &quot;And that was to have a freeway system that served all of the city of Chicago and that focused on the downtown.&quot;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority.jpg" style="height: 257px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Aerial shot of the newly constructed Dan Ryan Expressway, 1960s, from Chicago Transit Authority. Pretty swanky, huh? When the first section opened in 1961, the Dan Ryan was the widest and busiest highway in the world. (Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)" /></p><p>This was the era of post-World War II renewal, a time when city planners, politicians, and government officials believed a superhighway would protect the downtown area&rsquo;s economic vitality. It was part of an urban renewal movement meant to revitalize inner cities, all while accounting for Americans&rsquo; growing infatuation with the automobile. And with superhighways cropping up in Los Angeles and New York City, Chicago felt the pressure to catch up.</p><p><strong>How&rsquo;d they manage the alternatives?</strong></p><p>Planning for the Dan Ryan stems back to the 1920s. Then, Plummer says,</p><p>&ldquo;The city was still enamored with the idea of using Lake Shore Drive as their superhighway system.</p><p>&ldquo;But because of several issues, [Lake Shore Drive] could not be brought up to the correct and high enough standards. So gradually, the alignment moved west. The next alignment, the most prevalent through the 30s and 40s was basically along State Street. Then it migrated west.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Dispelling an urban legend</strong></p><p>But what about Ryne&rsquo;s interest in the racial makeup of the area? (&ldquo;Were there black neighborhoods, white neighborhoods?&rdquo;)</p><p>We should note that the Dan Ryan&rsquo;s final route took more than a decade to sort out, but when all was said and done, the expressway did mark a division between the predominantly white neighborhood of Bridgeport and the expanding &ldquo;Black Belt&rdquo; neighborhoods to the east. Chicago&rsquo;s long-standing racial segregation is infamous, but did the Dan Ryan create racial boundaries or reinforce them?<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/danryanreroutemapio7%20%281%29.png" style="float: left;" title="Map showing initial route and final route of the expressway, with 1950s census data. (Courtesy of Dennis McClendon)" /></p><p>Available maps and data can shed light on this. In 1940 the highest concentration of blacks stretched along the &ldquo;Black Belt,&rdquo; which spanned south from 31st to 60th, and went east from the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad tracks to Cottage Grove Avenue. By 1970, the boundary between blacks and whites had shifted several blocks west, along the Pennsylvania Railroad and encompassing the area now occupied by the Dan Ryan.</p><p>But Dennis McClendon&rsquo;s map, which incorporates data drawn from the 1950 census, suggests that blacks were moving west before the expressway was finished. Note the light purple areas that show blacks&rsquo; presence just north of Garfield Avenue. This means if the Dan Ryan was a barrier, it wasn&rsquo;t a very effective one &mdash; at least south of Bridgeport.</p><p>Dominic Pacyga in <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo7877998.html"><em>Chicago: A Biography</em></a> argues that other barriers &mdash; such as political power, street gangs, railroad viaducts, and railyards &mdash; posed greater obstacles to blacks&#39; expansion into white neighborhoods.</p><p>And <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/95360819@N04/8831658262/in/photolist-esqyj3-cT3z1w-cRvLrq-cRvHsY-cRvJm5-cRvLyY-cRvJYy-cRvHCm-cRvJuf-cT3xWC-cT3ryd-cT3Jo1-cT3iyN-cT3n7u-cT3B71-cSMEiY-cSNi8j-cT3BLJ-cSQyPS-cSX2Km-cT3ugG-cT3rgf-cSMsEW-cT3vt5-cRvGdb-cRvThj-cRvG5w-cRvPDq-cRvQsW-cRvELb-cRvSN1-cRvEf3-cRvEBQ-c9qaAm-c9qhsd-c9qeSy-c9qfWA-cRvLgd-cRvNqE-cRvEss-cRvJaL-c9qtv7-c9qnGE-c9qrv9-c9qbiE-c9qi2W-c9qvfJ-adhFtY-adhCTm-adeLBx-adhvbw/lightbox/">Paul Bruce</a>, a tour guide for the South Side, adds that the Dan Ryan may have &ldquo;reinforced the separation between blacks and white&rdquo; but it only &ldquo;continued the pattern that was there ... it didn&rsquo;t create the pattern. ... The Dan Ryan reinforced boundaries but made it possible to get out to the Southwest Side of Chicago, where the cornfields had been. ... It made it possible to get to the suburbs and still get back into the city quickly.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, Bruce says, the expressway &quot;helped expedite the exodus of the white community from the Southwest Side.&quot;</p><p><strong>Did the Dan Ryan arrive without a fight?</strong></p><p>With so much change in order, it&rsquo;s a fair question to ask where the neighborhood itself landed on the issue of the looming construction.</p><p>&ldquo;People didn&rsquo;t really know what expressways were on the South Side,&quot; says Paul Bruce. &quot;With the Dan Ryan, the properties that they bought were very working-class neighborhoods. No one was going to fight for a little 5-room cottage tucked away by the railroads that still had steam locomotives running through, spilling steam and cinders on you. Those people were sometimes very happy to sell out and go because they weren&rsquo;t living in the ideal neighborhood anyway.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>But the South Side was not (nor is it now) a homogenous place. &ldquo;Now a little farther south in the 70s and 80s where the Dan Ryan cut through the bungalow belt built in the 1920s, there was some opposition,&rdquo; Bruce says. &ldquo;Because, &lsquo;You know, my father built this beautiful two-flat and we&rsquo;ve taken care of it and we don&rsquo;t want to go.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>Compare this to what happened during the 1970s, when Chicago was pushing for the Crosstown Expressway (never built). There was more opposition this time, Bruce says, because people didn&rsquo;t want to give up their homes.</p><p>Plummer sums up the positive atmosphere regarding superhighway building before the Crosstown Expressway proposal.</p><p>&ldquo;There was a different feeling then and that was [what] people wanted ... a good way to get from point A to point B in their car.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>The Dan Ryan, for good or ill</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/11536.html">Archival photos</a> in the Encyclopedia of Chicago and the Chicago History Museum show properties were eaten up to make space for the Dan Ryan. Bruce tells us that some buildings were actually relocated.</p><p>&ldquo;If they bought your bungalow or your two-flat building, if you wanted to you could buy it back for a dollar and have it put on rollers and have it rolled somewhere else,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;So you could go to State Street at midnight sometimes and see a two-flat building going down the street to a new location. Somebody had bought a lot and put it on rollers and just rolled it away.&rdquo;</p><p>But this didn&rsquo;t happen often, as many of these properties were run-down residential buildings and churches.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sanborn%20map.jpg" style="height: 470px; width: 325px; float: right;" title="Sanborn map of 46th &amp; Wentworth circa 1895. This area was demolished for the expressway. (ProQuest Sanborn Maps GeoEdition)" /></p><p>Chris Goes of Goes Lithography Co. had a plant at 61st Street beside the Dan Ryan. He observes that the structures displaced were &ldquo;very old buildings by the time that the racial makeup began to change, with poor sanitation and construction. Mostly black [migrants] came and settled in these poor areas.&rdquo;</p><p>But what effect did such displacement have on the South Side&#39;s peripheral neighborhoods, the ones not directly along the Dan Ryan&rsquo;s path? Our sources suggest that the South Side&rsquo;s economic decline cannot be attributed directly to the expressway.</p><p>&ldquo;There were plenty of other factors mixed in there,&quot; says Plummer. &quot;With basically the closing down of the [Union] Stock Yards and the shutting down of Pullman, those kinds of things ... had more effect on [periphery neighborhoods] than the expressway.&rdquo;</p><p>Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (compiled by student Sam Brandt) suggest Plummer&#39;s got a point. Neighborhoods across the South Side had been home to a diverse mix of industrial giants, including the stockyards. These giants, though, weren&#39;t slain by a behemoth expressway alone. In cases like this, it&rsquo;s not what&rsquo;s cutting through the neighborhoods, but the businesses around them that determine their character.</p><p><strong>Our final thoughts</strong></p><p>Following World War II, the Dan Ryan continued a development trend that major cities were in love with: creating miles and miles of superhighway systems to hustle more people downtown.</p><p>Though an important piece to Chicago&rsquo;s urban renewal plans, the Dan Ryan did not play a critical role in altering the South Side&rsquo;s post-war landscape. For example, the fact that it was built adjacent to the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad shows that planners considered existing neighborhood layouts.</p><p>Ultimately, the Dan Ryan did integrate itself into the daily bustle of South Side residents, but it wasn&rsquo;t always an easy fit.</p><div id="PictoBrowser130604223047">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Curious City: Jay Wolke photos from Along the Divide"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157633937266366"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "on"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "center"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser130604223047"); </script><p>We talked to Jay Wolke, whose photography collection, <a href="http://www.jaywolke.com/index.php?g=4">Along the Divide</a>, showcased life and death along this expressway during the 1980s. Perhaps he sums it up best. He says he never looked at the expressway as just an object. It met a cultural need, he says, and that means it&rsquo;s a human subject.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a piece of engineering that separates and yet combines communities,&rdquo; Wolke says. &ldquo;It has a kind of dynamic where you can either be a part of it or you can be separated from it.&nbsp;It is a very dynamic system that we call this Dan Ryan Expressway.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 19:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-dan-ryan-changed-south-side-107536 As South Side church turned black, one white congregant stayed in pews http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/south-side-church-turned-black-one-white-congregant-stayed-pews-107451 <p><p>On a recent Sunday morning, the choir at Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church belts out &ldquo;Jesus is the Rock.&rdquo; The brick church at the corner of 81st Street and Calumet Avenue is a largely African-American congregation made up mostly of senior citizens.</p><p>One of its members, Marie Moe, has been around longer than most.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m 85 years old. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida in an all-white home, in all-white neighborhood in an all-white church, in all white schools in the segregated South,&rdquo; Moe recalled.</p><p>In her Southern home, the family&rsquo;s black maid entered through the backdoor. Her cast off textbooks ended up in the under-resourced black schools. Today, she&rsquo;s the only white member of Crerar from a bygone era.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/church%20member2_130531_nm.jpg" style="height: 197px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Marie Moe, second on left, with a group of church women. (Photo courtesy of Marie Moe)" />Sixty years ago when she first joined, the community and church were all white. The story of Crerar is a story of changing neighborhoods, and attitudes toward race that changed even more&mdash; and Marie Moe saw it all from the pews at Crerar.</p><p>Lately, though, a bad hip and a recent stroke have kept her from attending church.</p><p>Her silver hair styled in a pixie cut, Moe lives among stacks of books and photo albums in her third-floor Hyde Park apartment. She first moved to Chicago in 1949 to attend Northwestern University. A few years later a friend brought her to Crerar.</p><p>&ldquo;One choir rehearsal night in September 1953, I walked over to the church and said &lsquo;may I sing with you?&rsquo;&rdquo; Moe remembers. &ldquo;And the director said &lsquo;what do you sing?&rsquo; And I said &lsquo;soprano.&rsquo; He said &lsquo;go sit over there.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Moe joined the soprano section, and the church.</p><p>In the late 1940s, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racially restrictive housing covenants. African Americans who had been confined to the Black Belt of Chicago could start moving into white neighborhoods like Chatham. Eventually some black families starting showing up at the all-white Crerar to worship.</p><p>&ldquo;It was very gradual at first,&rdquo; Moe says.</p><p>Back then Rev. Warren Studer, who was white, actively recruited blacks. A committed integrationist, Studer wanted to avoid what happened the last time blacks moved near the church.</p><p>In 1928, Crerar was located on 57th and Prairie, then a white neighborhood. When the &ldquo;population began to change&rdquo; - a nice way of saying Negroes were moving in - the church decided to simply disband.</p><p>Fast forward to the 1950s, and Studer wasn&rsquo;t going to let that happen again.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the members in the church felt that Mr. Studer was spending too much time trying to bring black people into the church and he was ignoring them,&rdquo; Moe said. &ldquo;He really was excellent at making the new people feel welcome in the church. Some white people felt he was neglecting them for them.&rdquo;</p><p>Outside, neighborhood tensions were even higher. Chatham experienced racially-motivated vandalism. Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who lived in the community, had her windows shot out.</p><p>Inside Crerar, Moe remembers asking her new friends questions.</p><p>&ldquo;I wonder what it feels like to be black,&rdquo; Moe said. A friend looked at her and replied &ldquo; &lsquo;Moe, there&rsquo;s hope for you yet.&rsquo; If I said something wrong in Bible class, someone would say, &lsquo;you don&rsquo;t understand.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>And Moe said others would chime in: &ldquo;&lsquo;Of course she doesn&rsquo;t understand, she&rsquo;s never had the experiences we&rsquo;ve had.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/church%20member3_130531_nm.jpg" style="height: 274px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church on 81st and Calumet. (Photo courtesy of Crerar Church)" />But those awkward moments never pushed Moe away.</p><p>&ldquo;People have always been very good with me. Very patient with me and treat me like I&rsquo;m one of their own.&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Just listening to what people were subjected to. I hadn&rsquo;t had to go through any of the experiences black people had to go through. It was all new.&rdquo;</p><p>One of the first blacks to move to Chatham in the 1950s was Alscenia Hodo. A retired school teacher, she&rsquo;s the same age as Moe and still attends Crerar. After service on a spring Sunday, Hodo and other congregants gathered for fellowship in the basement named for Rev. Studer, Crerar&rsquo;s integrationist pastor.</p><p>&ldquo;There might have been racial tension in the church, but I didn&rsquo;t feel it really,&rdquo; Hodo said.</p><p>By 1967 the church was virtually all black and had its first black pastor. Whites had emptied out of Chatham, mirroring white flight in neighborhoods across the country. Hodo said every week a white family moved out. Crerar was more welcoming, but she remembers whites leaving there, too.</p><p>Despite the changes over the years, one thing at Crerar remained constant: come Sunday morning, Marie Moe was almost always there.</p><p>&ldquo;Not only did she stay, she&rsquo;s been very active. And she has contributed to the community,&rdquo; Hodo said. &ldquo;I think sometimes she has to be reminded that she&rsquo;s not black. Cause she thinks that she knows a lot of things and she doesn&rsquo;t but she&rsquo;s always been wonderful being here.&rdquo;</p><p>Today middle class Chatham, with its Cape Cod, ranch and bungalow homes, is still close to 100 percent black.</p><p>This is one reason why I always noticed Moe. I&rsquo;ve been a member of Crerar since I was about 10 years old. Growing up in Chatham in the 1980s, I was keenly aware of my segregated surroundings.</p><p>I always wondered why that white woman was still a member. Not in a negative way but there just weren&rsquo;t any other white members. And so it&rsquo;s taken me all this time&mdash;now that I&rsquo;m a reporter&mdash;to ask her if she truly felt accepted.</p><p>&ldquo;I always felt accepted. There was always a line in a way that I was not supposed to cross,&rdquo; Moe said. &ldquo;I remember once when I was nominated for an office, they said, no this is a black church now we should have a black person in that office. I was elected to it anyway,&rdquo; Moe recalled.</p><p>&ldquo;Just little things like that would come up once in awhile, but by and large I haven&rsquo;t had any negative experiences. That was home and I was going to stay there. Nobody ever asked me to leave.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Natalie Moore is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/south-side-church-turned-black-one-white-congregant-stayed-pews-107451 10 misconceptions about Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/10-misconceptions-about-chicago-107424 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px; " title="A view of downtown Chicago. (Zocolo/Josh Hammond)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">I had a lot of preconceived notions about Chicago before moving here in 2010.</div><p>I&#39;d spent the first 21 years of my life in Dallas, and before my big move, the Windy City was just a kaledeiscope of images from movies that I&#39;d watched: mostly a weird hybrid of <em>The Untouchables</em> and&nbsp;<em>Ferris Bueller&#39;s Day Off.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Luckily, I got to&nbsp;witness a spectacular parade on my first day in town (Go&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0o01rTeOEY" target="_blank">Blackhawks</a>!) without having to bypass any mob activity or&nbsp;<a href="http://vimeo.com/16687356" target="_blank">train station shootouts</a>&nbsp;en route.&nbsp;</p><p>Three and a half years later, I finally feel like a &quot;real&quot; Chicagoan. I graduated from my South Loop arts college in 2012, and could have easily returned to Texas, but there was no doubt in my mind that I would stay. Looking out over the Michigan Avenue bridge on a beautiful summer night, I knew in my heart that I couldn&#39;t leave. Chicago felt too much like home.&nbsp;</p><p>People who don&#39;t live in Chicago usually have a lot of questions when they visit for the first time, and many of them arrive with biases similar to the ones that I had years ago.</p><p>Here are few of the common misconceptions that I&#39;ve heard in regards to Chicago (and at one time believed myself) that are simply not true:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>10. Violence is around every corner.</strong></p><p>Yes, an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/gun-violence-cost-chicago_n_3328349.html" target="_blank">epidemic of gun violence</a> is a serious problem in specific Chicago neighborhoods. &nbsp;However, this doesn&#39;t mean that gang members are perpetually roaming our streets and shooting innocent bystanders. Violent crime rates increase in urban areas, and a densely-populated city like Chicago is no exception. So, just as you would in New York, L.A. or any other major city with lots of people packed closely together, be safe and smart about your surroundings without being overly paranoid. Living in a constant state of fear will not do you any favors.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>9. Everyone has a &quot;Chicahgo&quot; accent.</strong></p><p>Whenever I tell people that I grew up in Dallas, every time (and I mean <em>every</em> time) they say: &quot;Huh, you don&#39;t have an accent,&quot; as if they expected me to talk like Reba McEntire. My response is the same for people who ask why I haven&#39;t picked up the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/our-almost-last-word-chuh-kaw-go-accent-104459">flat-A</a>&nbsp;Midwestern accent, and why Chicago accents vary across the board: &quot;It&#39;s a metropolitan city. Everybody comes from different places; we&#39;re not all the same.&quot; Which leads into my next widely-held (but totally inaccurate) belief...</p><p><strong>8. The city is made up of mostly black and white (Irish) people. </strong></p><p>According to the latest demographics from the U.S. Census Bureau, about <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000.html" target="_blank">one third</a>&nbsp;of Chicagoans are of Hispanic or Latino origin. &quot;White persons&quot; (including those of Polish, Irish and Italian descent) make up 45 percent of the population, while &quot;black persons&quot; account for 32 percent and Latinos 28 percent.</p><p><strong>7. All of the politicians are corrupt.</strong></p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s approval ratings are in the gutter (and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/rahm-emanuel-approval-rat_n_2741939.html" target="_blank">for good reason</a>) but thankfully, there are plenty of other <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/December-2012/Chicagos-Best-and-Worst-Politicians-of-2012/" target="_blank">Chicago politicians</a> who are making our city a better place to live. Corruption and scandal will always exist in every major office (the Oval Office included); so we should focus on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/adventures-urban-gardening-107297" target="_blank">what&#39;s going well</a> and keep working towards improvements, instead of focusing on every corrupt politician that&#39;s ever strolled through City Hall. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>6. Winters are so unbearable that living in Chicago year-round is not worth it.</strong></p><p>My first Chicago winter was the &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02fJPqMuAzQ" target="_blank">Snowpocalypse</a>&quot; of 2011, and it was pretty brutal. Still, whoever says that &quot;the wind chill will take your face off!&quot; has clearly never been to&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Minnesota" target="_blank">Minnesota in January</a>. Yes, the winters here are long and cold; but in my opinion, the gorgeous Chicago autumns and summers are well worth the wait. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. Everyone loves Barack Obama.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Considering the large number of <a href="http://www.newstimes.com/news/politics/article/In-Chicago-Obama-rallies-Dems-and-donors-for-2014-4559055.php" target="_blank">pro-life and anti-deportation protestors</a> outside of an Obama fundraiser at the Hilton last night, it would appear that not every Chicagoan is the president&#39;s biggest fan.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. Chicago has the highest taxes in the country.</strong></p><p>We may have the highest sales tax of all 50 states (currently 9.5 percent) but Los Angeles is <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121120/business/711209941/" target="_blank">hot on our heels</a> to match it. And while buying an apartment in Chicago may be more expensive than say, Detroit, property taxes in New York and San Francisco still make ours look cheap by comparison.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. Wrigleyville is the place to be.</strong></p><p>Most people who visit me in Chicago want to see <a href="http://www.chicagotraveler.com/neighborhoods/wrigleyville-feature.htm" target="_blank">the enchanted land of Wrigleyville</a> right off the bat. Real talk: a Cubs game may be worth experiencing at least once in your life, but there&#39;s a lot more to Chicago than Moe&#39;s Cantina and the Cubby Bear (thank God).&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Eating any kind of pizza in Chicago besides deep dish is a sin.</strong></p><p>While deep dish pizza remains the <a href="http://chicago.grubstreet.com/2009/09/is_deep-dish_pizza_for_tourist.html" target="_blank">biggest draw</a> for Chicago tourists, local enthusiasm for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Best+Thin+Crust+Pizza&amp;find_loc=Chicago%2C+IL" target="_blank">thin-crust</a>&nbsp;at Pat&#39;s, Piece and Pequod&#39;s proves that in this town, all slices are created equal.</p><p><strong>1. Avoid the South Side.</strong></p><p>Within a week of living in the South Loop and attending Columbia College Chicago, a fellow student told me to &quot;<a href="http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Illinois/Chicago-777256/Warnings_or_Dangers-Chicago-Common_Sense_Advice_Sketchy_Neighborhoods-BR-1.html" target="_blank">never go past Chinatown</a>&quot; on the Red Line. Over the years, I also heard similar rumblings about other neighborhoods (&quot;Stay away from Hyde Park, Kenwood, Pilsen, Beverly, etc.&quot;) and I&#39;m glad that I didn&#39;t listen to them. Broaden your horizons, North Siders: there is so much more to this city.&nbsp;</p><p>Do you have anyting to add to this list? What do you wish that more people knew about Chicago?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 30 May 2013 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/10-misconceptions-about-chicago-107424 Video: A 1981 'L' ride http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/video-1981-l-ride-107263 <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/05-22.jpg" style="height: 199px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="South Side 'L' at Pershing" /></div><p>A few months ago I posted my old super-8 movie of a 1981 ride on the Ravenswood (Brown) Line. Despite the amateur quality, response was favorable. So with the Red Line closing down, it seems an appropriate time to dig out another old &#39;L&#39; movie.</p><p>Today&#39;s film begins with a trip up the South Side &#39;L&#39; from 51st to the old subway portal near 15th. The action then shifts to the Northwest Side and the &#39;L&#39; along Milwaukee Avenue, between Sacramento and Paulina. The running time is about 8 minutes, with audio commentary.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/oM9HWK4zG-Y" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 29 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/video-1981-l-ride-107263