Thursday, April 04, 2013

(Exclusive photos) Mourning in America: Univ. of Chicago completes demolition of Reagan home

It's gone now, the only Chicago home of the only president born and raised in Illinois. At dawn Mrs. Marathon Pundit took some photographs of what was left of the six-flat at 832 E. 57th Street where Ronald Reagan and his family lived in 1915. I was off from work today. When I drove to the South Side this afternoon only the foundation remained.

There I am in happier times--two years ago in front of the Reagan home. However, by then, the University of Chicago, which purchased the building in 2004, had emptied the dwelling of its tenants.

Above is the Reagan home one month ago. Its neighboring apartment buildings had already been torn down by then. Only a 90 day City of Chicago reprieve kept the Reagan apartment standing. But that stay quietly expired last week--just as the U of C wanted it to do. Two days ago the demolition began. The University of Chicago, which has been razing buildings that are in its way for decades, got its way. Again.

The college has, or had, conservative credentials, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, whose economic policies Reagan put into practice, was a longtime University of Chicago professor.

This is what remained of the Reagan home at sunrise this morning..

Of his time in Chicago, the Gipper had this to say in An American Life:
Our stay in Chicago introduced me to a congested urban world of gaslit sidewalks and streets alive with people, carriages, trolley cars, and occasional automobiles. Once, while watching a clanging horse-drawn fire engine race past me with a cloud of steam rising behind it, I decided that it was my intention to become a fireman.

The wrecking ball awaits.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on Main Street in Tampico, Illinois in 1911. From there Dutch and his family moved to Chicago, then to Galesburg, then on to Monmouth, then back to Tampico, and finally to Dixon in 1920.

While driving to 57th Street, I listened to the Chicago White Sox game on the radio. From the WHO studio in Des Moines, Reagan--with the aid of a telegraph machine--called the play by play action for White Sox and Cubs games. As with the battle to save the Reagan home, the South Siders came up short today--they fell to the Kansas City Royals.

This is all that remained of the home at 3:30pm today--the foundation. Looking down is the University of Chicago's new Center for Care and Discovery. What will replace the Reagan home is a parking lot.

It may be Mourning in Chicago today, but there are many Reagan sites remaining in Illinois. I urge you to take a drive on the Ronald Reagan Trail, as I did in 2011 in honor of the Reagan Centennial.

Related post:

Marathon Pundit's Ronald Reagan Trail

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Bill Smith said...

John, Excellent article. Thanks for the exclusive photos and narrative. I shared your article with several link backs on the ARRA News Service today.

Can't help but wonder if the Univ. of Chicago received and used federal funds to demolish this historic location and create a parking lot.

AmPowerBlog said...

Good work, John.