The neighborhood had drastically deteriorated by the late 1960s when this image was taken. I explained some of the causes such as "contract selling" earlier in this thread. From about 1955 to 1960, North Lawndale would lose approximately 90% of its white residents, and poor African Americans, primarily from Mississippi and Alabama, had become the dominant racial majority in the neighborhood. You can see by that time the streets were covered with litter and some buildings had already began to be torn down while others were boarded up. Since the 1950s, the neighborhood has been continuously deteriorating, and by 2000, North Lawndale had lost over two-thirds of its total population.
Here is another example of the poverty stricken landscape of the North Lawndale neighborhood. This rare image from my collection shows two members of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang in 1968. I believe that the man on the right is Bobby Gore who was an influential high ranking member of the gang.
Date: November 16, 2011 12:39AM
Thanks for the post.
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Here is an interesting progression of a North Lawndale street that I wanted to share with Forgotten Chicago's readers. The images below are of the 3300 block of West Douglas Blvd., or Douglas Blvd. West of Spaulding circa 1908, 1959, & 2010.
Douglas Blvd. W. from Spaulding Ave. circa 1908. [i]Image Courtesy of Perry Casalino Collection[/i]
Very cool Berwyn Frank, I was looking at it in Google maps and the building on the corner was still in use back in September of 2007 when they drove by. It looks the recession has hit poor North Lawndale especially hard, when we drove past West Garfield Park and Lawndale I was always fascinated by the amount of decay. But I just love those old gray stones, and tried to imagine a time back in their hay day.
Thanks to your pictures I now know.
Thanks for the comments guys. Yes, Lawndale and West Garfield Park are two of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago, up there with Englewood. The really sad thing is that they both have been continuously deteriorating since the mid 1950s and show NO signs of getting better any time in the distant future. The great recession has been especially devastating to the neighborhoods due to the housing collapse.
During the real estate boom values doubled and even tippled in some cases. After the collapse, the neighborhoods have been deteriorating at a rate to rival the 1960s with the amount of tear downs due to foreclosures and the resulting decay of the vacant properties. Every time I visit the neighborhoods I see more and more properties gone that I had seen standing during my last visit.
Sort of an interesting story, my father spent the first part of his life living in West Garfield Park. The neighborhood was steadily declining and my dad's stepfather sold their building at 4054 W. Adams in 1962, several years into the neighborhoods decline. The building managed to survive all these years and one day in 2008 I drove past it and saw that it had been boarded up after a foreclosure. I called my father who is now a police commander working in Chicago and told him to go check it out. He drove there while on duty and walked around the place, even sitting on the porch for a minute. In about March 2009 I was down town and decided to take Madison St. home and went to show my wife the old building. When I pulled up in front I gasped. The place was completely gone, just a vacant lot, and the attached graystone next door was boarded up after a devastating fire. The place was gone forever, only to survive in my fathers memories.
Dad in front of 4054 W. Adams circa 1960 after first communion at St. Mel's Church.
Sorry to see that. It's pretty cool how the wrought iron on the neighboring front porch survived all these years. I wonder if your dad remembered what I think was a firehouse at Pulaski and Wilcox or the building on Pulaski and Jackson. I always wonder what that could've been. I don't see any obvious clues. There are so many interesting buildings in that area that tend to get unnoticed. I'm glad you are educated us with your knowledge. Thanks again.
I think he would remember the firehouse. Here is a pic of it in 1965. I also have another photo of it in about 1908-1909 when the building on the left was still the original frame fire house that was originally there before they built on the brick addition to the newer house on the right.
I just wanted to add a bit more about 4054 W. Adams. As you can see in the 2008 photo, it was once quite the building. The front and side were all yellow face brick with the "graystone" front porch and columns. There was a very neat "balcony" on the side of the building and one of the most interesting things about the building was the "garage" that was in back. I put quotes around garage because it was a VERY large structure also made of all yellow face brick and originally served as a stable for the original owners horses. My father told me how he and his brother explored the garage as kids and how there was a loft with a pulley that they climbed up on to see that there was still hay up there.
He also told me how as kids they had no idea what was going on but there was blocks of people that had huge piles of garbage in the alleys behind their buildings that him and his brother had adventures "picking." They found the neatest stuff wondering why people threw away such things. What he later realized was that it was all the whites fleeing from the neighborhood. He had the interesting experience of going to Delano school off of Pulaski & Wilcox with Irish, Jewish, and black kids.
Here is a neat photo of the block looking east on Adams from Karlov circa 1908. Unfortunately this view shows the end of the block where my father lived but the other side of the street. His building would be on the very far left of the image if they had shown more of the north side of the street.
[i]Photo Courtesy of the Perry Casalino Collection[/i]
In case it has not been mentioned, the firehouse on Pulaski and Wilcox is where the riots in 1965 started. As I recall, the hook and ladder left without a tiller man in the back. It swung wide and hit a child, a girl I think. This created a storm of protest on the west side that soon deteriorated into a full scale riot. Fortunately it was of rather short duration. That was actually Chicago's first big civil disturbance in modern times.
Amazing story about that firehouse. I looked it up on Chicago Tribune historical and the August 14, 1965 story says a Miss Daisy May Williams, 23, was killed by the truck. Was the photo taken right after the accident?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2011 08:03PM by Rustymuscle.
Very sad news for Lawndale this morning. It appears the city is going to demolish the Shepherds Temple/Anshe Kanesses Israel at 3411 W. Douglas Blvd. This historic Synagogue is one of the largest in the neighborhood and seated 3,500 in it's prime. I will see if I can get some photos of the demolition when it occurs.
So my friend Perry Casalino and I made a trip to shoot Shepherds Temple/Anshe Kanesses Israel, and other buildings in North Lawndale before they are torn down. What an adventure we had! Here are some of Perry's amazing photos.
You got to go inside! I wish I could have taged along! I just love to go into places like that, it's a shame the place can not be saved, but it looks like it's beyond repair. Or it would take a boat load of money to restore, thanks to you and Mr Casalino for the pictures. On a side note the views on this tread is at 22,222!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2012 04:45PM by 222psm.
I went and took better pictures of one of my favorite little buildings that has been almost completely forgotten in North Lawndale. This building, now a single family home, is located at 1525 S. Kedvale in the middle of a residential street. The building started life as Frantisek Palacky Bohemian school in 1909. I posted pictures of it in the very first page and post of this thread. The building originally did not have the front entrance that is there now, see that post for a vintage photo.
I have tried to research high and low to find out when the school stopped operating but in all of my intensive research I cannot find out the exact year. That part of North Lawndale was populated by Bohemians even after the neighborhood changed ethnically to Jewish in the 1920s. I have a booklet in my collection about Czech Chicago published in 1937 and it still shows the school as operating. The last thing to do is check with the recorder of deeds down town and see when the property changed hands from the Czechs to a private owner. For now *I believe* that the property is still occupied by it's long time owner. I say *I believe* because the property is in VERY bad shape, especially in the back. I can't see how someone could be inhabiting the property in this shape. However, the neighborhood is EXTREMELY poor, so nothing that takes place there suprises me. Also I checked and the owner has a current phone number listed at the property.