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BRIDGEPORT

MAP
front

MAP MAKERS
Nicole Casi, Kassie Grossman, Eric May, Carolyn Moore, Jim Schneider, Daniel Chan, Alexis Hunt, Michele Liebowitz, David Hendren, Jeff Hubbard, Joanna Lewis, Kayo Takasugi, Gu min Lee, Brian Zimerle, Jin Kim, Rebecca Rakstad


HISTORY
Overview

Located on the near Southside, Bridgeport is one of Chicago's oldest and most historically important neighborhoods. The area's first settlers were comprised of Irish, German and Norwegian people who helped develop the area's industry such as meatpacking, steel, lumber and a quarry. Bridgeport became one of the first manufacturing districts in Chicago. However, the multitude of immigrant waves also caused the creation of gangs and blatent racism, causing each ethnic group to stay within their enclaves. Social identity became crucial and nerighborhood parishes became points within a network for people to keep their sense of identity intact.

Pollutants
Bridgeport was block zero for the Illinois & Michigan canal system which caused the rapid deforestation of the upper Midwest. All this industry also meant an influx of waste, and Bridgeport became a large dumping ground. With no laws about where to dump trash, bribes became popular as a means of redirecting refuse. Sewage was equally problematic and since the majority of Chicago was originally swampland, Bridgeport had plenty of standing water. This, combined with industrial waste pumped into the Chicago River, created epidemics of typhoid, dysentery and cholera. This problem still exists for Bridgeport and looking over the Archer Avenue Bridge you can see the river bubble and gurgle its 80 years of industrial waste in active decomposition.

The Illinois and Michigan Canal
Located at the original point of portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi river, Bridgeport underwent drastic transformation during the canal's creation. Before the plans, settlers in Bridgeport were relatively few, but they flocked to the area once construction commenced. The population rose from about 350 people in 1833 to 4,170 in 1837. The canal consisted of 15 locks and two guard locks at Bridgeport. At each pump a 160 horsepower engine pumped 7,000 cubic feet of water a minute. This lifted water from the South Branch of the Chicago River and forced it into the artificially dug supply channel, which would raise the boat to the next level of the river. After 12 years of labor the canal was finally complete and was a success, for only a short time. It made grain, lumber and livestock accessible to Chicago, attracting more people to the Bridgeport area, but with the invention of rail cars it soon diminished in use. The next change in the I&M Canal occurred during the civil war when a proposal was put forth to deepen the river for military purposes. This project was finished in 1871, and in the end with all the time, money and labor involved, the canal was a failure; weather conditions caused it to disintegrate and planned closure occurred in 1933. Despite this, the canal created jobs, industry and a permanent large settlement for Chicago and Bridgeport.

Architecture
The Pilgrim Baptist church by the legendary firm of Adler and Sullivan is a striking example of a building designed on the brink of modernity.The exterior references an understated Italianate style while the interior presents a dramatic vaulted ceiling detailed with Sullivan's plant-inspired patterns. The most important landmark is the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, which lies between 29th and 35th streets along the Dan Ryan expressway. The campus, which was almost entirely planned by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, features Crown hall, a building designed in the international style with a focus on rigid proportions. This hall also boasts the largest internally unsupported open space in the world, a feat which required massive highway beams to be placed across the roof. The campus also offers the McCormick Tribune Campus, designed by Rem Koolhaas. a wealth of classic old Chicago-style mansions, many of which have been converted into apartments.

Why Call It "Bronzeville"?
The term Bronzeville originated during the mid-30s when the annual Mayorial election of Bronzeville was celebrated, drawing on the African tradition of referring to the skin color as "bronze." The election, which honored people who contributed to the community, was a popular event throughout the 40s. Bronzeville was also known as the Black Metropolis and the Black Belt. Enter the "Gateway to Bronzeville" and be greeted by a fifteen-foot tall statue named the Monument to the Great Northern Migration by statue designer Alison Saar. The statue honors tens of thousands of African Americans who migrated in the early 20th century from the brutally racist south to settle in Chicago for work. Located at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between 25th and 26th streets, it was dedicated in 1966. Another attestment to the local heritage is a 14-foot historical bronze map of the area designed by Greg Lefevre, located at the beginning of the Walk of Fame on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Along the Walk of Fame you will find plaques, statues and street furniture that combines ethnic and cultural references for famous residents such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Joe Louis.

Pollutants
Bridgeport was block zero for the Illinois & Michigan canal system which caused the rapid deforestation of the upper Midwest. All this industry also meant an influx of waste, and Bridgeport became a large dumping ground. With no laws about where to dump trash, bribes became popular as a means of redirecting refuse. Sewage was equally problematic and since the majority of Chicago was originally swampland, Bridgeport had plenty of standing water. This, combined with industrial waste pumped into the Chicago River, created epidemics of typhoid, dysentery and cholera. This problem still exists for Bridgeport and looking over the Archer Avenue Bridge you can see the river bubble and gurgle its 80 years of industrial waste in active decomposition.