Monday, December 21, 2015

(Photos) Abandoned homes in the corrupt city of Harvey, Illinois

Earlier this month I visited a couple of blighted southern suburbs of Chicago, Dixmoor and Harvey.

Today we look at the latter town.

Once an industrial powerhouse, Harvey is now best known for poverty, crime, and corruption. It's a mini-Detroit. And like the Motor City it has plenty of abandoned homes.

This vacant house at 14604 Lincoln Avenue is garnished by brush and an abandoned couch.

Harvey is back in the news again--and that's almost always a bad thing. This time its about the budget dispute between the Harvey's long-time but ethically challenged Democratic mayor, Eric Kellogg, and the city council. Kellogg is threatening to lay off of half of the town's corrupt police department and other municipal workers.

About a block south of the first dwelling you'll find this boarded up home.

Last year ChicagoNow had this to say about the town:
Harvey is a cornucopia and culture of corruption, unrivaled in recent times. It is blatant, in your face old school corruption.

It is criminal.

The Harvey Police Department is probably one of the worst in Illinois. Harvey has a violence rate that trumps some Chicago neighborhoods. But it is ignored.

If Lawndale is the neighborhood where dreams go to die, Harvey is where dreams are murdered.

This house across the street probably never was attractive.

It appears that squatters broke into the house.

In 2010, TrueCrimeReport reported on Harvey's mayor with a fabulous headline. Top 5 White Collar Villains: Mayor Eric Kellogg Wants To Know Who Stole His Coke.

Surely this old house looks better from behind, right?

On the other hand, no. Notice the asphalt brick that has been exposed because metal thieves filched the aluminum siding from this home. Did anyone call the police? If so, did the cops do anything?

At its peak in 1980 Harvey had 35,000 residents. I heard around that time the city had more jobs than households. Today Harvey has 10,000 fewer inhabitants and probably far fewer jobs.

Oh, what about inside of this house?

Inside is even worse.

Despite its relatively small size, many famous people grew up in Harvey, including baseball hall-of-famer Lou Boudreau, longtime NBA center Eddy Curry, and comedian Tom Dreesen. There is a Dreesen Street in Harvey. He brought Harvey into his comedy routine and he joked about attending "St. Leroy Church" there, in a reference to the city's majority African-American population. Dreesen recorded a comedy album, That White Boy's Crazy, in front of an all-black audience in Harvey.

Right next door is this sad house that isn't even boarded up properly.

Shortly before he announced his run for the presidency in 2007, then-US Senator Barack Obama chose a Harvey church to make a Martin Luther King Day speech. Because of Harvey's reputation for corruption, that selection raised eyebrows, especially since it was announced that Kellogg would be in attendance. I can't remember precisely what happened on that MLK Day, but I believe Kellogg was a no-show. Someone got to the mayor, no doubt.

The Chicago area is famous for its brick homes, so I thought I'd conclude my post this house.

In 2007 there was a Southtown Star online section entitled "Eye on Harvey," which mostly featured corruption stories. That year the section totaled 75 entries.

It's easy to ascertain why people want to leave Harvey.

Related post:

(Photos) The abandoned Wyman-Gordon power plant in Dixmoor, Illinois


Anonymous said...

Nothing compared to Detroit.

John Ruberry said...

Agreed. (Photos) Part three: Detroit's abandoned Packard Plant

I've been to Detroit too!

Anonymous said...

I escaped 5 years ago...after which everyone said "What took you so long?"