The Greenmap Project
New East Side/Streeterville
Rachel Arias, Kavita Chaudhary, Ra-Young Choi, Yulin Chen, Hee-Kyung Cho, Lindsay Delahanty, Marek Hosek, Elizabeth Hynes, Bolim Jang, Jae Jung, Michelle Kim, Paul Kuhn, Lindsay Madden, Alye Ornella, SeRom Yim, Lindsay Nagengast, Chae Eun Rhee, Andrew Thomas, Richard Santostefano, Matt Tackett-Nelson, Deborah Caruso
Architecture-Near West Side
The Near West side is a patchwork of historic pockets separated by stretches of urban renewal and blight. From Civil War-era residences, to industrial districts, to modern institutional complexes, the area displays cycles of growth, decline, and rebirth that characterizes a mature industrial neighborhood. Exclusive Victorian residential districts have become blighted, while immigrant ghettos have yielded to brutally modern university buildings. The near west side is home to several major institutions including Cook County Hospital, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical center. Near West side boundaries of Chicago extends from Wood St. and Cermak when the city incorporated the area in 1837.Italians became the largest ethnic group of this Near West Side by the 1920’s. Italianate houses built in the 1870’s can be seen at 2148-2158 W. Bowler St., 801-811 S. Oakley Blvd. and the William J. Onahan Row Houses at 1254- 1262 W. Lexington St. They are red brick houses with Gibbsian quoins framing the window and doors, with neo-Classical details with the Joliet limestone facades are of massive Ashlar blocks, and each row shares a presses-metal cornice with brackets and dentils. Queen Anne style structures featuring projecting gables, dormers, and overhanging eaves with slightly recessed entrances, deep red face brick, string coursing, and pressed-metal cornices, pressed-metal bays, terra-cotta panels can be seen at Claremont cottages at 1000 block of S. Claremont Ave., 700 block of S. Claremont Ave.( Added to the national register of historic places as part of the Tri-Taylor Historic District.), Rush Medical College- Johnston R.Bowman Health Center at West side of S. Paulina st. between Harrison and Polk Sts. and the James Foley Building at 626 S. Racine Ave. Art Deco-influenced buildings, can be seen at the Medical Sciences Building at 901 S. Wolcott Ave.. The north courtyard is lined with WPA mosaics of astrological motifs and sculptures of Aesculapius (the Greek god of medicine) and Hygeia (his daughter, the godess of health). In the Neuropsychiatric Institute courtyard above the entrance, a bas-relief of a brain is surrounded by names of famous brain researchers. St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church (Temple Anshe Sholom) at 733 S. Ashland blvd. has a dome, originally ribbed but now asphalt shingled, gives the building the height of a spired church, while maintaining the classical language of the whole. The French Catholic style Notre Dame de Chicago Church at 1336 W. Flournoy St., is a nearly circular church, whose transept walls are almost entirely filled with stained glass. The bronze Virgin Mary atop the dome replaced a lead-coated wooden version which was struck by lightning. A charming Victorian Gothic school example, the Academie de Notre Dame at 1338 W. Flournoy St., has inexpensive materials with fancy details, especially the pointed-arch windows, mansard roof, and incised crosses on the third floor. Another example of Gothic structure is the Holy Family Church at 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd.. Generations of embellishments crowd the nave and sanctuary of the church. St. Ignatius College Prep (St. Ignaius College) at 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd., has a façade which is very French, from the mansard roof to the projecting pavilion, to the string courses and quoining. Neo-classical terra-cotta buildings are found at South Water Market at W. 14th Pl. and W. 15th St., between S. Morgan St. and S. Racine Ave. There are buildings in the area that are interesting to note but don’t belong to a particular historic or architectural style. The Vietnam Survivors Memorial at 815 s. Oakley Blvd. is one of the city’s quirkiest pieces of folk art. It is an assemblage of ten cast-iron columns, taken from the interior of the Page Bros. building and arranged around a granite marker. Structural engineer, Vietnam veteran, and preservationist Wiliam Lavicka erected the memorial on his property with the help of other veterans. Another example is the University of Illinois Medical Center Administration Building at 1737 W. Polk St. Designer Edward D. Dart’s hallmark, in small churches or a medical office building, was the natural expression of structures rendered in sculpted but common materials. The Illinois regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is located at 1055 W. Roosevelt Rd. is a place where many visually impaired persons can experience bold shapes and colors; this building reaches out to them with red metal facing panels, yellow structural members, and blue mechanical and electrical elements. A 165-foot-long window snakes across the concrete wall of the Blue Island Ave. it’s strange shape representing the library’s curving circular plan. In 1941 the state legislature created the Chicago Medical Center commission and empowered it to acquire land on a 305-acre tract surrounding existing medical buildings. The area’s first hospital was located here by the county in 1874 as an anchor institutionion, in response to lobbying by West Side real estate interests.
University of Illinois
The University of Illinois’s campus extends from Eisenhower Expressway to Roosevelt Rd. and Halsted to Racine Sts.. The first and most lasting controversy surrounding the school was it’s location. In 1946 the university had opened a Chicago branch at Navy Pier to provide a two-year college course for returning servicemen. The predicted crush of Baby Boomers created a need for a permanent site for a four-year college. The search began a decade later. Garfield Park, Meigs Field, and several suburban sites were considered and discarded. Mayor Richard J. Daley favored a South Loop location, in what is now Dearborn Park, but negotiations with the railroads that owned the land could not be concluded quickly enough. In 1959 Daley proposed a fifty-five-acre site at Harrison and Halsted streets. The densely populated neighborhood, already designated for urban renewal, was considered an expendable slum by some or a vibrant community-depending on the source. Community activists in the affected area tried to fight City-Hall, but almost everyone else, favored the site. In 1960 Democratic electoral landslide gave the backing Daley needed to acquire the site and finance the project. The university opened in February 1965 and was originally known as the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, for the “spaghetti bowl” freeway tangle just to its east. In 1982 this campus was merged with the university’s long-established medical center to the west, and the combined institution was renamed the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Italian immigrants began flooding into the Near West Side in the 1890s. Most planned to earn enough money to return to Italy and buy land, but many ended up staying in Chicago. By the 1920s, they had become the Near West Side's largest ethnic group. Settling between Polk and Taylor Streets near Hull-House, most of these immigrants worked at the Randolph Street Market, on the railroads, and in the garment industry. This part of the neighborhood, with its many Italian grocery stores, restaurants, churches, and civic organizations, became known as Little Italy. Beginning in the 1940s, the expanding Medical Center District and construction of the Eisenhower Expressway and the University of Illinois campus forced many West Side Italians to move, but a portion of the Italian community remains today in the Tri-Taylor Street area. The separation of the community began with the establishment of the University of Illinois’ Medical District, the Eisenhower Expressway then followed the University’s Circle Campus. This development undoubtedly crippled the growth of the Italian-American community, which had planted itself so deeply in this area. The once upon a time, “good ol’days” of the area had been crushed, displacing many Italian-American families to other parts of the city. Throughout all of the changes in Little Italy, it was the Catholic parishes of the area that tied the community together. Today, they continually rejuvenate the neighborhood including several million-dollar projects, which point to a promising future for the neighborhood. Appropriately one of Little Italy’s landmarks on Taylor Street is a piazza with a bronze statue dedicated to Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio.