Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Riding around the city this past weekend...

So basically I went through the far south side and then I saw the near south side along the State Street corridor and then on 63rd and Cottage. I saw so many new sites since I've been back home it's amazing. I just wish I had thought to bring my camera with me, I'll be smart enough to do so when I take another ride.

I want to talk about Roseland for a second. I left the south suburbs taking the local streets and we found our way on Michigan Avenue. I was amazed to see the strip mall on the corner of 115th and Michigan cleared. It used to house a Christian bookstore (which was once a Perry Drug Store), a cafe, a laundromat, and even a grocery store. This strip mall has been shuttered for a long time until I saw this lot cleared. I found out later in a newsletter from 9th ward Alderman Beale is being developed by Crown Developer with a grocery store to anchor the new development there. The first full service grocery store in that area.

Also along that stretch of Michigan Avenue a new building for the south branch of Seaway National Bank is finally being built on the block of 111th and Michigan. The building that currently houses the branch may be torn down. That building once housed a Walgreen's which is now right across the street from its original location.

We continue north and we see some new homes at about 107th and Michigan. A new home right on the corner and it appears to have a new resident too. A very nice new home. There have been a new development that has been up since the 90s mostly apartments. Then further north at 104th and Michigan a new senior building is being built. I tend to dislike such developments in poor neighborhoods mainly because I feel there are better things to build in poor communities but that is only my thing.

Another day I took a detour away from the traffic jam on the Dan Ryan expressway at about 58th and then turned to ride along State Street. It has been a long time since I saw that stretch near the L tracks south of 58th there used to be a Lem's BBQ joint but I doubt that place still exists. For not being on that stretch for a while it was great to see one familiar place, a Butternut bakery shop on Garfield and State.

Beyond that however we saw nothing but green vacant lots which were sites of public housing high rises which have been demolished in favor of progress. There was a little family history here my mother could point out exactly where her uncle used to live along state street and that building is now gone. Of course we also passed by the historic Overton Hygenic Building along State Street.

We would find our way back that way again when I left from downtown. There was a sign or an office for the new development to be build on 35th and State. Then I headed east toward Cottage Grove to head towards Lakeshore Drive. We passed by what is now a University of Chicago Charter School in the building of Donoghue Elementary School. There is lots of chage to be sure on the near south side.

Finally one night I was on Cottage Grove after leaving Hyde Park along the stretch from about the Midway Plaisance to 63rd Street where there seemed to be a police camera on every block. That must be a rough area if the cameras are that close together. I saw what I thought was an unusual sight, some white people well dressed. I'm thinking what are they doing there. I quickly found out.

My mother was telling me about a ballroom being refurbished south of 63rd and Cottage Grove and as I drove by it, I liked the sight of it. This ballroom really was out of place but give it a few years and one day it won't look out of place at 63rd and Cottage Grove. I have to admire those individuals responsible for restoring and reopening this ballroom. Check out this story from

Perhaps I'll do some timely Chicago area photoblogging during the summer.


diane said...

Did you happen to notice the old Roseland library which was a block or so off Michigan? If you do go back and take photos it would be great to see them. What is in the old People's Store?

Levois said...

I didn't know there was a library off of Michigan. As for the People's Store I think there are nothing but some smaller stores selling clothing, gym shoes, and so on. There isn't a major retailor other than Walgreen's on that street anymore. There was a Woolworth's but they closed down sometime in the 1990s.

Bill Baar said...

driving around chicago neigborhoods one of my favorite things to do... especially to see the old churches which seldom change.. they're one of the few constants. The congregations and denominations may change but the buildings always there.

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