The Greenmap Project
New East Side/Streeterville
Melea Britt Alexander, Louis Edward Blanco, Se Hee Choe, Danielle Ferreri Deahl, Seong Eun Kim, Sung Joon Kim, Hea Mi Lee, Yun Lee, Christina H. Park, Kyung Min Yoo, Ji Yun Bang, In Kyung Chung, Danyel Ferrari, Shia Hong, Eric J. Kang, Na Kyung Lee, Tobin James Nelson, Ka Mi Park, So Yun Shim, Chesca A. Smotherman, Ji Yeon Yoon
Goose Island is an actual island North of downtown Chicago. The area is bordered by North Avenue on the north and Chicago Avenue on the south. The original Goose Island was actually a smaller island about a mile south of its present day location. However, the name stuch as settlers inhabited the land. The island was created in 1853 when then Mayor William Ogden built a canal across the path of the Chicago River's North Branch. The canal, with the addition of a railroad a few years later, created an important connection between land and water transportation. The 160 acres that make up Goose Island have a long history of industry that continues today.
Goose Island was originally settled by Irish immigrants who came to America during the potato famine in the mid-1840s. The immigrants became squatters, setting up shantytowns on open land. Eventually Polish and German immigrants joined the small population. On the island residents raised livestock such as cows, chickens, pigs and apparently geese. Residential development happened soon after and nearly one hundred two story frame houses were built in this dense three-block settlement. Around this time the island became known for its industrial pollution, slums and crime. As a result, the number of residential structures diminished over the years and is now largely industrial. In the 1860s, People's Gas Light and Coke bought land east of Goose Island. The resulting pollution and flames from the plants gave Goose Island the nickname "Little Hell."
As residents continued to leave, so did the industry. In 1990, Mayor Daley designated Goose Island a Planned Manufacturing District. By the late 90s, much of the land had been filled again by new industry and the redevelopment still continues. Helping this process is the LEED (Local Economic and Employment Development) Council, a not-for-profit community development corporation that encourages business growth and access to jobs in West Town, North Town, Lincoln Park and North River Industrial Corridor. They have assisted in making Goose Island a Planned Manufacturing District and also helped create a 26 acre Goose Island Industrial Park.
The Chicago River runs directly through the Goose Island area and is rich with history. 156 miles long, the river contains 52 moveable bridges and is home to some 52,000 vessels every year. It is notable for its 19th-century civil engineering feats, which directed its flow south, away from the city and towards the Mississippi River basin. This was done for sanitation purposes as the sewage in the river originally flowed into Lake Michigan. Up until the 1980s the river remained quite dirty until the 1990s where Mayor Daley ordered extensive cleaning as an effort to beautify the river. Currently the "dirtiest" part of the river is located at either the North Avenue Turning Basin or the Grand Avenue area. A group called Friends of the Chicago River was developed and its mission is to maintain the vitality of the Chicago River for its people, plants and animal communities. Their priorities include providing public access to the Chicago River and to show that the Chicago River can be both ecologically healthy and a catalyst for community revitalization.