(Courtesy University of Chicago Photographic Archive. (Photo courtesy Alexis Ellers) “I spent a great deal of time on the Eisenhower inching towards the Harlem Avenue exit,” she says. But that didn’t mean there had to be this mass white flight that took place. After talking with historians and people who lived through the upheaval, a picture emerges of how the expressway reshaped the Chicago region, scattered some of the city’s ethnic communities and forever changed many lives. Westbound, congestion is heavy starting at Laramie due to the left-hand exit at Austin (which combines a "perfect storm" of a four-down-to-three lane reduction, an unfamiliar left-hand exit, and entrance and in-merging traffic of the central onramp). Gone. As it happens, her great-grandparents are buried at Forest Home Cemetery, one of the graveyards where some bodies were displaced by the construction of the Ike. “It makes eminent domain easier.
Mildred Mead Photographs, apf2-09136 “Many community groups are demanding expressways because traffic is really dangerous and unmanageable.” An early proposal to develop a network of expressways. The 13,000 or so people who left Chicago, however, were followed by many other residents in the years that followed — enough people that the neighborhoods’ compositions were transformed quickly. Our building was the last one. Winding eastward from Schaumburg and Rolling Meadows through multiple Chicago suburbs, I-290 plugs traffic into the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Loop District at the Jane Byrne Interchange.
“And instead it ended up with people fleeing the city.” The Rev. Many of the bodies moved at Forest Home were victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
The baker? Who were these people, indeed? As most people know, the building straddles the Eisenhower Expressway at Congress and Canal. “So, you wonder if the Eisenhower wasn't there, if those people would have relocated some place in the city.
“I have these vivid memories of these piles of rubble. Forget it; what used to be a peaceful stroll now entailed crossing eight lanes of traffic. In a way, City Hall and its planners were following the advice of Daniel Burnham. “It broke his heart to move out of there, because it was his life,” Harry says. Planners talked about elevating the highway above the graveyards, but decided that would be too expensive. “It took so long and it was so difficult,” he says. And there were Italians who lived there as well, but that was really the heart of Jewish Chicago at that time.” The Satter family’s building was spared, but everything on the other side of Congress Street was demolished. (Courtesy University of Chicago Photographic Archive.
Laramie Avenue), while the same exit in the other direction may be marked another (ex. Unlike Chicago neighborhoods, the village of Oak Park actually fought to change the highway plans. Built between 1949 and 1961 at a cost of $183 million, the Eisenhower Expressway displaced an estimated 13,000 people and forced out more than 400 businesses in Chicago alone. This section is 11 miles (18 km) long and runs from Addison to This section of I-290 varies in width from two lanes at the ramp east from the I-290/I-355 split, to three lanes between I-355 and US 20, to three lanes plus two exit lanes at US 20/The western three miles (4.8 km) of this section are blacktop, while east of This section of I-290 is seven miles (11 km) long, and it runs from Hillside to the western border of Chicago. "It was five years of hell, to put it very bluntly. “I want to know so much more,” she says. By 1970, this area was 64 percent black. “I was not convinced that it had a role in the process of racial transformation on the West Side,” says historian Amanda Seligman, who wrote the 2005 book But Christopher Reed, an African-American historian who grew up in East Garfield Park in the 1940s and ’50s, says the expressway did play a role. (Sean Birmingham/Flickr)Sitting in traffic jams gave Jillian time to think — especially when she was working as a United Church of Christ chaplain at Elmhurst Hospital.
… The neighborhood is one of old brick and frame buildings, many sagging, with unpainted porches betraying neglect for years. “I don't think our building was run-down,” he says. Eastbound congestion is lighter here than through the "Avenues", generally limited to congestion on the tight onramps to the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways (the Circle Interchange) at the eastern terminus or blind onramps at Kostner Avenue and at Homan Avenue. In the background, you can see the exit ramp the suburb fought for. (Eric Allix Rogers/Flickr)And David Satter believes the expressway was a major factor in why so many Jewish residents and other whites abandoned the West Side, just as many African-Americans began to move in. We’ll move east to west along the Ike.
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