Best of the South Side 2018 | Washington Park | Woodlawn

Best of Washington Park & Woodlawn

Stateville Prisoners' Mural (Courtesy of Prison and Neighborhood Arts)

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Bishop Dwayne R. Mason is the pastor of Saint Martin’s Church of Christ at 5648 S. State St. in Washington Park. He also works as a licensed funeral director.

Development

Bringing Up the Backwaters

After decades of debt and secrecy, the Illinois International Port District presents a plan

Spaceco (Courtesy Illinois International Port District)

For the first time since 1981, the Illinois International Port District (IIPD) is undertaking extensive repairs and construction in the southernmost part of its 1500-acre property on the Southeast Side.

Development | Environment | Far Southeast Side | Nature

Shoreline Abnormality

An industrial corridor’s past and future, as seen from the waters of the Calumet

Piles of salt on city-owned land on the Calumet River (Courtesy Ders Anderson)

Down the Calumet River from a former petcoke storage site, several acres of early growth trees rustle gently in the breeze. It’s one of a few areas with sustained natural growth on the northern part of the river, which snakes through the Southeast Side’s industrial corridor. Tom Shepherd, an environmental activist and longtime Southeast Side resident—and, on a recent overcast morning, the guide of a boat tour down the river—singles that parcel out as we pass by. “It’s really amazing on that property to see how nature makes its comeback,” he says.

Food

Turning Up the Heat

Two Chicago sauce-makers show their mettle at the city’s first (annual) hot sauce expo

Emeline Posner

After several years of one-off events, Chicago finally has a hot sauce festival that’s promising to stick around. At the First Annual Chi-Town Hot Sauce Expo last weekend—the latest addition to an expo circuit that already includes Portland, Anaheim, and New York City—thirty-three hot sauce vendors convened in the parking lot of Toyota Park, just southwest of the city limits, to show off their finest and spiciest.

Nature | Stage & Screen | Visual Arts

Sites for Leisure, Sites of Danger

Artists and activists discuss reclaiming parkland as a public space

Courtesy South Side Home Movie Project

When L. Anton Seals, Jr. was growing up in South Shore, he and his family would often spend weekend nights camped out in Chicago’s public parks. Back then, he said, his family and friends took the Chicago Park District’s 11pm closing time as a suggestion, not a rule: “[We were like], how the park gon’ close at 11 o’clock?… Who gives you the right to close the earth?”

Development | Lit

A City Built on Sludge

An ambitious book chronicles the early years of the South and West Sides’ sewage systems

May 11, 1937. The sun is shining through the access manhole above and through floor manholes into the gate chamber. Access to the backwater gates on West Town's outlet sewer section 3 is through the operating gallery above the gate chamber. (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Archives)

The largest and greatest sludge plant in the world… wasn’t intended to be that way,” Richard Lanyon, former executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), said to a rapt audience, a playful smile spreading across his face. “It just happened.”

Features | Food | Politics | Woodlawn

God’s Little Acres

First Presbyterian Church has fostered community gardens since the nineteenth century. Its now-former pastor nearly put an end to that.

Jason Schumer

For D’onminique Boyd, it was the 65th Street Community Garden that turned Woodlawn into a home. She had moved there in 2011, and had taken to biking around to familiarize herself with the neighborhood. One morning, she biked by the garden and saw Tony Samford, 65th Street’s “godfather of gardening,” as she would later come to call him, tending to his plot. She asked what he was growing; he told her to come back the next day at 6am, and he would teach her.