Once again, South Loop historian, geographer and cartographer Dennis McClendon held forth in the neighborhood--sharing a lifetime's worth of South Loop history with the community during a lecture at the 2nd Presbyterian Church at Cullerton and Michigan last night.
It wasn't too long ago that he did one of his famous South Loop historical walking tours, at which time I realized that I always learn something new when he holds forth--even if I knew it once and forgot. You can read about the things I learned about the South Loop that evening here
Dennis is always sharing his South Loop knowledge of places such as the Auditorium Theater
and Motor Row
. Last night he did a wonderful slide show that meandered from South Loop street to South Loop street--and from one historical era to another. Here are some things I learned last night:
--That Balbo was at one time called Hubbard Place--and that there was a "cyclorama"
across from the Blackstone
, within which photos could be hung 360 degrees to give one the feeling they were part of whatever action. Sort of like prehistoric virtual tours.
--That the "forgotten" Chicago Fire of 1874 took down a lot of what is now Dearborn Park
--That Mary Richardson Jones
, an African American active in the Underground Railroad in Chicago, actually lived
in what is now Dearborn Park; I always thought she just ran the "railroad" from an outpost at 9th and Plymouth.
--That Grant Park
was once given the moniker "Camp Grant" because the military staged deployment exercises there.
--That there was once a beautiful rooftop garden on top of the Burnham YMCA--today a condo conversion
on Wabash between 8th and 9th.
--That Northerly Island
(AKA Meigs Field) was once considered as a potential spot to build the UN headquarters.
That's all, folks!