Far Southeast Side | Features | Visual Arts

Fugitive Dust

Dirty Energy at the MoCP

Terry Evans

In the middle of an empty room was a Plexiglas cube—and at the bottom of the cube, a fine sheet of black powder. An imaginary moonscape? An abandoned terrarium? Perhaps anticipating these questions, Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann, the Chicago-based artists behind the installation Prevailing Winds and Relative Distances, pasted several pages of text around the room.

Best of the South Side 2015 | Far Southeast Side

Best of Far Southeast Side & South Chicago 2015

Juliet Eldred

I met Susan Garza, 10th Ward alderwoman, in her office on 106th and Ewing, an expansive space where staff answered emails and calls and walked in and out of a strategy meeting in a large improvised conference room in the back. Garza stood proudly over it all in the front, and every resident who walked by waved through the windows. Her comfort in this new office (she was elected only months ago) comes from having known the Far Southeast Side—loosely bounded by Indiana on the east and the Calumet River on the west and north, but described as nearly all of the 10th Ward by Garza—since birth. She left only for college, returning to raise her kids and carry on her father’s union striking tradition as a part of the Chicago Teacher’s Union. Her father’s campaign poster, “Ed Sadlowski: Steel Workers Strike Back,” hangs proudly at the entrance to her office, which she pointed out before telling me about the community she lives and works in.

This was a true blue collar community, and the steel mills just drove everything. We used to have nine steel mills just in this area, just in the 10th Ward, and with those mills came restaurants and stores, and there was a tavern on every corner that ran continually. It was constant, it was vibrant, it was exploding with life, and when the mills started to close, the community just lost hope.

Best of the South Side 2014 | Far Southeast Side

Far Southeast Side

The strip of land that tapers to a point at 93rd Street, bounded by the slow-moving Calumet River to the west and north, and by the Indiana border to the east, is known as the East Side, though it was once called The Island. It is the East Side because it is on the east bank of the Calumet. Regionally, with the neighborhood of Hegewisch two miles farther south, it is also the East Side inasmuch as it is not quite part of the South Side: the only train stop east of the river, the Hegewisch South Shore station, is operated not by Metra or the CTA but by northern Indiana’s commuter rail agency, the NICTD. The wetlands and connected waterways that made the area The Island have largely receded or been destroyed, and they would have vanished entirely had Mayor Daley’s proposal to build an airport in Hegewisch gone through in the nineties. But Hegewisch and the East Side—as well as South Deering, Altgeld Gardens, and Pullman, on the opposite side of the river—are (with few exceptions) as isolated as that name, The Island, suggests. Continue reading

Education | Far Southeast Side

Back to Buckingham

Revisiting a closed school for special needs students

On the phone last month, Dr. Otis Taylor did not sound like a man who had just lost his job. He didn’t point any fingers and he did not express remorse. In fact, he sounded like he might have been smiling. “I’m done with this part of my life,” he said, speaking of his four years as principal at Buckingham, a former CPS school. “It’s in my past, it happened.” Continue reading

East Side | Education | Far Southeast Side | Features

Groundbreaking

At a polluted lot on 104th Street, a plan to ease crowded schools
CAM BAUCHNER

CAM BAUCHNER

At three o’clock on a recent Friday afternoon, the playground at Jane Addams Elementary School exploded with action.

Pent-up energy from the day and week came pouring out of the small building and stuffy trailers that make up the East Side school as sprinting students, visiting alumni, and chatting families gathered in the open lot surrounding Addams’ small jungle gym.  Continue reading