Mission Statement
by Jacob Kaplan

“These were dangerous days for the abandoned parts of town. Those districts of old warehouses and abandoned factories that suddenly seemed attractive to real estate developers. I made a point of wandering through those endangered zones, like a botanist collecting samples in some rain forest, just ahead of the slash and burn. It made me wonder what’ll be lost when the condos and convienence stores finally come. What secret languages of exile, what sub-species of solitude, what highly evolved examples of urban emptiness would disappear forever.”

-Bill Brown

Chicago has always been young at heart. This is a place where “newer” “bigger” and “taller” have always been buzzwords, resulting in amazing modern architecture. However, the side effect of this is that remnants of the past often tend to get paved over or torn down without much thought. Aside from major well-known landmarks, what does remain often tends to be overlooked and forgotten about. With that said, the goal of Forgotten Chicago is twofold.

First and foremost, our main goal is to discover and document little known elements of Chicago’s infrastructure, architecture, neighborhoods and general cityscape, whether existing or historical.

Secondarily, our hope is that exposing many of these often overlooked elements of Chicago’s built environment to a wider audience will result in more interest in their preservation. Certainly, much of the content on the site is included mainly for documentation and historical reasons, and of course not every old structure in the city is worthy of being preserved. However, some of the structures included on the site are little known but of important architectural and historical interest. We hope that their inclusion will raise public awareness and result in their preservation rather than demolition in the future.

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