Monday, December 28, 2015

(Photos) Abandoned homes in the corrupt village of Dixmoor, Illinois

Last Monday I presented a history lesson and a photo essay about Harvey, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago with a notorious history of corruption. Right next to Harvey is Dixmoor, its smaller size allows it some anonymity, but not completely.

As you can see in this picture, Dixmoor was incorporated in 1922. It's believed that the village name comes from the Dixie Highway, which serves as the western border of the town.

Just south of 144th Street on Lincoln Avenue is this sad bungalow. If the goal of his asphalt brick-adorned abandoned home is to blend into nature, then I say it's a success.

Dixmoor was back in the news last month, and as is the case with its big brother, Harvey, that's almost always a bad thing. The Daily Southtown posted a video of Mayor Dorothy Armstrong jumping out of her chair towards a trustee, Michael Smith, during a village board meeting because she thought he was making fun of her hair color and her age.

More on Smith later in this post.

I adore the metal pipe railings on this green house.

Public school students in Dixmoor attend West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District 147. In 2012 a public watchdog, the Illinois Policy Institute, issued a warning: Don't be a victim of public corruption, learn from District 147's transparency mistakes.

It wrote:
This time the alleged corruption comes from West Harvey-Dixmoor School District 147. Retired superintendent, Alex Boyd, is accused of "fraudulently cashing out about $350,000 worth of sick and vacation time and racking up $57,000 in unauthorized credit card charges."

Also, board member Mable Chapman is accused of "helping Boyd bilk the district while having family members hired by the district and taking family members on taxpayer-funded trips across the country."

I don't see many green houses--but here's another one on 144th Street. Oh, what's with the lack of windows on the right side? The orange sign is a condemnation notice.

Condemned yes, but anyone can walk right in.

It's hard to believe but nearly twenty years ago since-convicted felon Jesse Jackson Jr. was taken seriously as an anti-corruption crusader.

From the Chicago Tribune:
In the derelict south suburban village of Dixmoor stands a patch of weeds, home to a couple of swing sets, a slide and a rotting mattress with its rusty coils exposed. This is the Dixmoor Park District. Yes, district. And as a park district, it's entitled to its own police force--a force that is eligible for federal Justice Department law enforcement grants, which the Dixmoor Park Police applied for last year to the tune of $10 million.

Visiting the playground last winter, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. leaped out of his car and excitedly paced the patch of weeds. "Millions! They wanted millions for this!" He flung his arms open and laughed.

Jackson was referring to one of the first constituent requests he received after he won a December 1995 special election to succeed Rep. Mel Reynolds, a Democrat, who had been convicted four months earlier for having sex with an underage campaign worker. The Dixmoor park police wanted the new congressman to help win a Justice Department grant to beef up security for the tiny playground.

But the more Jackson looked into the matter, the more questions he had. Why did Dixmoor need 20 armed cops to patrol an otherwise neglected tot lot? Why did some of the Dixmoor park police officers have criminal records? And why should he endorse a federal grant to a force that had been involved in an armed standoff with the police from the neighboring town of Harvey?

The owner of the now-shuttered Lily's Groceries Store--and the sign maker--obviously had struggles with correct English grammar.

Oh, I'm all for low taxes, but squandering revenue is borderline scandalous.

From the Chicago Tribune in 2013:
The town's financial woes are compounded by the fact that Dixmoor failed to approve its tax levy on time last year, costing it about $400,000 in revenue. The village also had to return about $192,000 to Cook County it had received in anticipation of levying taxes this year.

Metal thieves have begun removing the aluminum siding from this Cape Cod home at 14329 Lincoln.

You didn't think I'd forget about trustee Michael Smith, did you?

From Fox 32 News earlier this year:
A Cook County suburb known for its political drama and allegations of corruption finds itself once again in the spotlight.

One of the Dixmoor trustees has been arrested, and it's not the first time.

Village trustee Michael Smith was arrested Thursday after getting into a tussle with the police chief at Village Hall. It all stems from a previous altercation Smith had with another trustee earlier this month.

Michael Smith was taken out of the Dixmoor Police Department in handcuffs. He is charged with violating an order of protection that banned him from coming to Village Hall, which he did on Thursday.
The article goes on to explain that Smith had previously been arrested for official misconduct, theft, and resisting arrest.

Even when people lived here this had to have been an ugly house. Although I like the portico.

Inside is even uglier. What about the back yard?

Man, that is for sure one decrepit shed.

Dixmoor's population peaked in 1970 when it had 4,735 residents. In 2010 only 3,644 people lived in this corrupt town.

As with Harvey, it's easy to see why folks want to leave.

Related posts:

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

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


MV Williams said...

Aso a newcomer to Dixmoor, this is very disappointing. I look forward to connecting with the citizens and village hall to see how we can resurrect this town.

Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

Yeah right. Good luck, lady.