In the middle of a beautiful—if unassuming—area of Beverly sit two relics from one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most important projects. Before the Guggenheim, before Fallingwater, the master architect was trying to tackle a more pervasive issue: affordable housing. “I would rather solve the small house problem than build anything else I can think of,” Wright commented in the January 1938 issue of Architectural Forum.
Last month in Crain’s Chicago Business there was an article about how home sales in Beverly are on the rise and some of the reasons why. Before saying more about that article, a couple of declarations are in order here.
- Best Public Library in a Castle
- Best Mom & Pop Grocer
- Best Place to Find Something Fishy
- Best Pizza Not From a Pizza Parlor
- Best Anarchistic Arts Organization
- Best New Alternative Space
Beverly Hills (its proper full name, often shortened to Beverly) and Morgan Park are the Castor and Pollux of the South Side. Eternally joined as “The Village in the City,” they have earned a reputation as a place of good schools, gracious homes, and comfortable middle-class living—a bastion for city workers. An ancient glacial ridge runs along the length of the appropriately named Longwood Drive, topped by magnificent homes. Morgan Park, named after early estate holder Englishman Thomas Morgan, was a village in its own right until its annexation to the city in 1914. Beverly Hills, named not after the Los Angeles neighborhood but the town of Beverly in Massachusetts, became part of Chicago in 1890.
To those who grew up here, Beverly means idyllic streets for learning to ride bikes, summer outings to Rainbow Cone and Sunday mornings at their local churches. To those from the surrounding areas, Beverly is the hub of the Southwest Side. They celebrate their 21st birthdays in the bars on Western Avenue, go out for a special dinner at Pizzeria Deepo or Franconello, or take in a show at the Beverly Arts Center. It has much to offer outsiders, yet is also known to have a tenuous relationship with the communities that border it.
Sitting in the empty four hundred-seat theater, I spoke with program coordinator Jonathan Moeller before the festival began.
Rainbow Cone, stately old homes, Top Notch Beefburgers, and the South Side Irish Parade. The highest natural point in all of Chicago. Continue reading
This year the theme for the annual Chicago Artists Month (CAM) is “Crossing Borders.” In a city with so many distinct community areas, the topic seems particularly applicable and the event’s definition of borders includes “actual physical borders, or conceptual, genre or societal boundaries.” Continue reading
On one of Chicago’s few pleasant March days, a group of community residents and art patrons from across the city sat basking in the sunlight in the gallery of the Beverly Arts Center (BAC). Continue reading