Re: 58TH & Prairie
Date: January 03, 2011 08:55PM
Thanks for asking. There was a famous writer, James T. Farrell, that grew up right around 58th and Prairie in the early 1900s. He wrote numerous books regarding his youth,the most famous being "Studs Lonigan" and his "Danny O'Neill pentalogy. In these books he distincly describes the neighborhood,it's apartment buildings, the stores,the "hang-outs",etc. In Studs Lonigan, he mentions the "NE corner of 58th and Prairie" several times, and it's mentioned alot in his other "Washington Park" novels. Not being familiar with the area,and having gotten a virtual "mind picture" from his books, I decided to see what the area looks like today. Today it's a blighted area with block after block of vacant lots where there used to be corner to corner apartment buildings, 95% gone now. I took alot of pictures of the area and noticed something. On the exact NE corner there was a fire hydrant. I'm sure not THE one that's mentioned in the books, but there it was on the mentioned corner. I found it somewhat interesting that something mentioned in books from the 1920s was still here. Actually, is was about ALL that was left. Anyway, I guess you had to be there,as well as be familiar with Farrells work. Here's a pic of the block east of Prairie before and after.