Monday, April 25, 2016

Marathon Pundit: Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent Auburn Gresham neighborhood

7711 S. Lowe St. - John Ruberry
On a Thursday, the Marathon Pundit did some urban exploring in Auburn Gresham. Ruberry notes:
The notoriously-violent Englewood neighborhood sits on Auburn Gresham's northern border.
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According to the Chicago Tribune Auburn Gresham is tied for eighth in violence of Chicago's 77 official neighborhoods over the last 30 days.
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During the 1960s Auburn Gresham went from being predominately white to being majority black. The Encyclopedia of Chicago says blockbusting and panic peddling were less of a problem than in other Chicago neighborhoods at the time. At the start of the decade my grandparents moved to the more prosperous Beverly neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Ironically, the South Side Irish Parade, which originated in A-G, followed my grandparents to Beverly.

Blacks were barred from most white neighborhoods by covenants that prohibited home owners from selling to them. Click here to read a 1929 letter from the ominously named Auburn Park Property Restriction Association, Inc. which explains an Anti-colored Restriction Agreement to John Wagner of Englewood. Covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1948.
In taking pictures of the many abandoned houses, two-flats, and vacant lots he also has nice things to say about Father Michael Pfleger's St. Sabina parish:
When Auburn Gresham is in the news, particularly nationally, it's usually has something to do with St. Sabina Church, where committed leftist Father Michael Pfleger has served as pastor for an unheard of, at least in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 35 years. Pfleger. who is white, has worked on projects with radicals such as the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan and Barack Obama's former minister, Jeremiah Wright.

However Pfleger, despite allowing a personality cult to envelope him, has his merits. The church compound also includes a large senior residential complex and a grade school, as well as social service, job training, and technology centers. That brings a whole bunch of people to the St. Sabina complex, which is near the intersection of 79th and Racine, and that corner has noticeably more retail activity than the rest of Auburn Gresham. The church, in a way, boosts 79th and Racine in a way that monasteries did to nearby towns in the Middle Ages.
And here's a shot of it!
St. Sabina - John Ruberry 
 So basically we see some family history from Ruberry as his family once resided in this community. However, what we see are abandoned homes, homes being rehabbed, and The Final Call hq.

I sometimes think of Auburn Gresham as a community with great potential especially with that corridor along 79th between Halsted and Ashland.
 

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