Kennedy Expressway
Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Kchi ()
Date: September 01, 2010 11:09AM

I've always been fascinated by how close the Kennedy Expressway comes to many churches as well as the number of side streets that dead end at the expressway,

I've searched the Chicago Tribune archives, but there are very few articles about the land acquistion,disputes, moving of families and the actual knocking down of buildings and the construction.

Literally thousands of people and businesses must have been uprooted and lives and neighborhoods changed. I would assume that the building of our expressways were a catalyst for growth, but at the same time it may have planted the seeds for the decline of the city if many of these people relocated to the suburbs and neighborhoods declined.

I am looking for any suggestions where I could research the subject further, The Chicago history museum catalog wasn't much help. Also, if any people have memories they wish to share, it would be appreciated.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: appleuzer ()
Date: September 01, 2010 02:27PM

Here's a feature from 2008 about the parks that were created after the expys were put in, it might put you on the right track for researching.

http://forgottenchicago.com/features/chicago-architecture/expressway-parks/

-Mike Damian
ForgottenChicago.com

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: MIKETOUHY ()
Date: September 01, 2010 08:06PM

Kchi Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've always been fascinated by how close the
> Kennedy Expressway comes to many churches as well
> as the number of side streets that dead end at the
> expressway,
>
> I've searched the Chicago Tribune archives, but
> there are very few articles about the land
> acquistion,disputes, moving of families and the
> actual knocking down of buildings and the
> construction.
>
> Literally thousands of people and businesses must
> have been uprooted and lives and neighborhoods
> changed. I would assume that the building of our
> expressways were a catalyst for growth, but at the
> same time it may have planted the seeds for the
> decline of the city if many of these people
> relocated to the suburbs and neighborhoods
> declined.
>
How would the building of the expressways cause a neighborhood to decline?

At least half of the Kennedy's territory are are still good enighborhoods.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: tomcat630 ()
Date: September 01, 2010 11:39PM

My mother grew up near where the Eisenhower was built. She said that they started clearing land back in early 40's and built in stages. The Old Post Office had the cut out floor pre-built. And it was part of Burnhams 'Grand Plan'. So, wide highways were not built overnight.

I know some urbanists hate the X-ways, but nowadays there are more reverse commuters than ever. They helped bring people back to the city, also.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Kchi ()
Date: September 02, 2010 12:29PM

Reply to tomcat630

From the stories I hear, my neighborhood declined due to the fact that there were only under or overpasses on the main streets which are spaced four blocks apart. Small businesses were cut off from their customers who either were displaced or now lived on the other side of the expressway. Where you once may have walked down a side street a few blocks to a business, most people would not go out of their way to travel four blocks to a main street and back again. In addition, many houses that were once on a quiet street are now right next to a expressway with traffic noise, obviously not adding to the property value or the ability to rent apartments for a premium price. Churches and schools lost a big percentage of their parishioners which in turn hurt their ability to maintainn their buildings due to the lack of revenue. There are many other examples, so it is not just a case as to whether there are still some nice neighborhoods, but whether the neighborhoods received a net benefit or paid the price for the benefit of the overall geographic area.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: September 03, 2010 11:46PM

tomcat630 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My mother grew up near where the Eisenhower was
> built. She said that they started clearing land
> back in early 40's and built in stages. The Old
> Post Office had the cut out floor pre-built. And
> it was part of Burnhams 'Grand Plan'. So, wide
> highways were not built overnight.
>

the urban expressway was just an extension of the national plan to organize an interstate highway system, going all the back to 1920's, and was originally developed as national defense plan, They looked at it as a way to evacuate cities in case of attack and move troops...

Eisenhower was the one that really made the plan come to fruition. He supposedly
was influenced heavily by how the Germans were able to move troops, supplies via the Autobahn.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: tomcat630 ()
Date: September 03, 2010 11:54PM

Id say the West and South sides declined, but the NW side has thrived and many homes for sale now say 'close to Kennedy' in ads.

Cities in general declined with people able to afford a new house after years of poverty during the Depression.

Can go back and forth whether highways ruined cities. But, even if they were not built, more commuter rail would have been instead. And that would still have enabled people to move to the burbs.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: davey7 ()
Date: September 16, 2010 05:27PM

Remember, the Kennedy was built next to massive RR viaducts for the most part, which already cut off neighborhoods, so there was little new division (same with the Dan Ryan to some extent as well).

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: mark ()
Date: October 06, 2010 03:02PM

My son did a History Fair project on the construction of the Kennedy Expressway. There are Chicago Tribune articles dating from the late '30's through 1958. Other articles from the Chicago American (?) Newspaper were found through the Chicago History Museum's research room.

The most notable church that was saved was St. Stanislaus near Divison St. The church was originally slated for demolition, but the Polish community rallied their congressman who was able to get the Chicago Northwestern Railroad to move their tracks 300 feet to the east, away from the church, so there would be enough right-of-way for the Kennedy and save the church.

Also, there were relocation offices set up for displaced residents to go to for help.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: November 05, 2010 12:04PM

There's an article in today's Tribune about the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy, with a small section of photos: [url=http://www.cltv.com/news/ct-met-kennedy-expressway-fifty-20101104,0,1180932.story]Kennedy Expy Article[/url]

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Moctezuma ()
Date: November 07, 2010 03:48AM

From what I understand about the Burnham highway plan is the classist idea, where rich people could drive their cars to the suburbs away from the city.
The traditional idea for highway is for the military serving as fast transportation.
The orange line also took away businesses and homes and that is the newest line on the "L" family. There is a new line being planned out as we speak.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: davey7 ()
Date: November 09, 2010 04:58PM

What new line would that be?

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: bwalsh ()
Date: November 10, 2010 10:04PM

They've been talking about extending the Orange Line to Ford City for years. It came up again not too long ago, but I haven't anymore about it. That was actually the original plan, but they only went as far as Midway.
Unless you mean a circular route that is supposed to connect all the lines, similar to the way the transit system is set up in London. I did hear comments about that, but again not for a long time. That would be awesome!

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: davey7 ()
Date: November 12, 2010 03:07PM

It looks like the Red Line extension will come first and then hopefully the Orange to Ford City (the trains already have the signage for it). And the Yellow to Old Orchard. I'd prefer the mid-city transitway over the circle line, but both would be nice.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: November 12, 2010 04:06PM

WayOutWardell Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There's an article in today's Tribune about the
> 50th anniversary of the Kennedy, with a small
> section of photos: Kennedy Expy Article

the most interesting thing about the Trib article to me is that, although thoroughfare to the NW burbs had been in talks for decades, it wasn't until the early 50's when the Fed govt appropriated mass funding for interstate transportation that kick started the Kennedy. If the Gov't hadn't allotted triple the funding, (motivated by Eisenhower, who himself was heavily influenced by the German Autobahn) to what was previously earmarked, the Kennedy may have never been built.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2010 04:06PM by captain54.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: November 23, 2010 02:33PM

There's an apartment building on Tripp Ave., just north of the Keeler on-ramp to the Kennedy that strangely looks as though a corner was shaved off in order accomodate the ramp. The 'main' part of the building is in yellow brick, then there's a red-brick facade that's on an angle, parallel to the ramp. Also, the 'back' section of the building (now painted white) has what looks to be porcelain & steel panels covering it - when I was a kid living on Keeler, that part used to be painted billboard or something similar.

Historic Aerials does show that the building pre-dates the expy...so why wouldn't it have just been demolished? It's not that big of a building to begin with...

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: November 25, 2010 05:09PM

I've wondered about the weird curve brfore the Kimball exit....there doesn't seem to be anything there that I'm aware of that causes the xpressway to almost veer due west

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5206741713/" title="Kennedy Expresway Weird Curve - Kimball Exit by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4126/5206741713_a332d181eb_b.jpg" width="815" height="652" alt="Kennedy Expresway Weird Curve - Kimball Exit" /></a>

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: mark ()
Date: November 29, 2010 05:59PM

That curve spared The Villas neighborhood (where many judges lived at the time). Another factor may have been needing to shift the Kennedy to the east side of the RR tracks in order to facilitate the Edens junction.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: ChicagoGeek ()
Date: February 17, 2011 10:54PM

I think Kchi meant "neighborhood decline" in that some neighborhoods completely disappeared or were never the same again (Little Italy comes to mind with the expressway and university construction). My grandparents lost their house to the Kennedy. I always forget the exact streets...something I should know.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: February 18, 2011 03:41PM

here's a little blurb I found to maybe ease the thought of what happened here in Chicago when they built the Kennedy

"In Boston, one of the country's oldest cities, almost a third of the old city was demolished—including the historic West End—to make way for a new highway, low- and moderate-income high-rises (which eventually became luxury housing), and new government and commercial buildings. This came to be seen as a tragedy by many residents and urban planners, and one of the centerpieces of the redevelopment—Government Center—is still considered an example of the excesses of urban renewal."

I was in Boston not too long ago and it struck me as to how that city was seriously carved up for highway building. Very obvious. Unbelievable

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: tomcat630 ()
Date: February 19, 2011 07:48AM

Before the X ways, there were commuter train lines and surface roads that workers took to the suburbs. Which, by the way, were not "invented in the 50's" as some urban social engineers assume.

Modern US burbs started in Boston area late 1800's, when Brookline rejected annexation and took it to the US Supreme Court. Since then, cities can't just force a town to join. So, we have inner burbs today. Commuter towns were once farmers stops on train lines.

And don't forget horse and buggies were mobile, too, back then. Many roads and trails existed long before Chicago even was incorporated taking Indians out and about.

Regarding Boston Central Artery, they built the super expensive 'Big Dig' tunnel and removed the highway through downtown for green space.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2011 08:02AM by tomcat630.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: barsntone ()
Date: March 04, 2011 02:47PM

Nice info...BTW *THE* definitive site on anything Chicago expressway-related is:

<br>
<a href="http://www.cookexpressways.com">CookExpressways.com</a><br>

Beware it's a time suck but a freakin' awesome time suck.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Brule Laker ()
Date: May 08, 2011 01:00AM

I've heard the Eisenhower went through several properties who bought up land after finding out the projected route.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Brule Laker ()
Date: May 08, 2011 01:01AM

I've heard the Eisenhower went through several properties owned by policitians who bought up land after finding out the projected route.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: tomcat630 ()
Date: May 10, 2011 01:32AM

The Kennedy curve above also avoided old factories that used to be around Kimball and Addison. The site of the K Mart was once a large industrial building.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2011 09:38PM by tomcat630.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Kchi ()
Date: May 10, 2011 12:30PM

ccC



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2011 12:16PM by Kchi.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: MollyGo ()
Date: August 06, 2011 02:49PM

The person who thought that the Kennedy veered west because that was the Villas is incorrect. The Villas, super nice corner of Chicago that boasted prominent families including Spencer Oil family was just north of Addison, west of the RR and east of Pulaski...it's a triangular piece of land.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: logansquare60647 ()
Date: August 20, 2011 07:42AM

My grandfather, Fred Orehek, was the assistant editor and top political reporter for the Chicago Tribune in the 60's and 70's, and he even had an office in City Hall. He passed before I was born, but as legend has it, he helped to get a church saved, I forget where it was exactly, but if I drive down 90/94 I can point it out (it's been a while since I drove it.) I guess he was able to help to lobby to get it to bend around it. I'll ask and try and find out the exact church.

Old man Daley died exactly two days before he did, as fate would have it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2011 07:50AM by logansquare60647.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: tomcat630 ()
Date: September 05, 2011 04:25AM

"And PETA would argue that"

Ummm, humans are not the only beings that are carnivores, duh. Let's stick to Chicago History.

Re: Kennedy Expressway
Posted by: Kchi ()
Date: January 31, 2016 12:58PM

u

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