City Tumbles For Jesse White, Lands River North Community Center
Sep21

City Tumbles For Jesse White, Lands River North Community Center

Over the weekend, the city of Chicago got a new community center.  The Jesse White Community Center (412 West Chicago Avenue) is a joint project between the Secretary of State's eponymous foundation and the Chicago Park District. The facility was designed by Michigan's Ghafari Associates, which describes it thusly: [The building serves] as the headquarters for the CPD gymnastics program and the internationally renowned Jesse White...

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City Farm Will Sprout Again
Jul10

City Farm Will Sprout Again

Earlier this week we told you that this fall will be the last harvest for the City Farm located at 1204 North Clybourn Avenue in Cabrini Green.  But while the farm will be plowed under in a few months, it will grow again in a new location. According to paperwork filed with the city of Chicago last week, the current farm, at the intersection of West Division Street and North Clybourn will soon become the home of an eight-story-tall...

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Cabrini Getting Less Green: Urban Farm Chopped for Residential Building
Jul07

Cabrini Getting Less Green: Urban Farm Chopped for Residential Building

One of Chicago’s summer blessings are the tiny little urban farms that spring up year after year on disused plots of land across the city. I’m a big fan of urban gardening. When I lived in Cincinnati, I grew corn in long plastic troughs on my balcony, and pumpkins that I was never able to harvest because the vines carried the fruit far into a neighboring tree. When I lived in Houston, my apartment balcony was filled with fruiting lime...

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Dishing the Deets on Fifield’s New Cabrini Green Tower
Feb16

Dishing the Deets on Fifield’s New Cabrini Green Tower

The transformation of the greater Cabrini Green area from a stigmatized ghetto into a revitalized mixed-income neighborhood continues.  Just days after the Chicago Housing Authority released its preliminary intentions for the next phase of its part of the project, Crain’s Chicago Business had the news that Fifield plans to build a new residential tower on the south side of the West Chestnut Street dead end, near the abandoned...

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A First Look at the Final Chapter in Burying Cabrini Green’s Past
Feb05

A First Look at the Final Chapter in Burying Cabrini Green’s Past

When an alderman or city agency holds a community meeting to get feedback on a planned development, they can’t be sure if anyone will show up.  That wasn’t a problem last evening at the Seward Park gymnasium at 375 West Elm Street where the first open house was held to unveil the Cabrini-Green Draft Redevelopment Zone Plan. As snow fell outside, the gym was nearly full with residents and developers eager to view the plan.  It’s...

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Slice of Life: Chicago’s Fire Insurance Patrol

The old “Fire Insurance Patrol” sign remains carved into the face of the old Patrol 5 building at 1044 North Orleans Street in Cabrini Green.  Founded in 1871, the Fire Insurance Patrol was the forerunner of the city’s modern Fire Department.  This particular building was incorporated into the city’s regular fire department, and from what I can tell, was in service at least into the late 1990’s.  It is...

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Scraping the Sky Before There Were Skyscrapers

Chimneys were Chicago’s first skyscrapers.  But as the modern-day version moved in, the factories moved out.  Still, there are plenty of fascinating chimneys around the city.  They don’t belch as often as they used to, but they still stand tall.  Someone could make a nice coffee table book out of chimneys.  For the life of me, I can’t remember where I shot this one.  I suspect it’s in the Lincoln Park, or...

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Slice of Life: Roofline Roosters

The expression “bird brained” is supposed to be an insult.  But these pigeons gathered together at the apex of the Saint Matthew Methodist Church roof (1000 North Orleans Street) on a cold winter morning are smart enough to know two things — heat rises, and churches are notorious for having drafty, vaulted...

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The Milkman Cometh

I love historic architecture.  Especially architecture that tells a story.  This building at 319  West Locust Street near Cabrini Green has been vacant a long time.  But it still speaks of a time when dairies weren’t so far from downtown Chicago.  When an army of milkmen delivered milk, cheese, and the occasional baby right to your doorstep.    It’s not hard to imagine a row of bulbous milk floats parked outside, manned by...

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