Friday, April 15, 2016

(Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent Austin neighborhood

Chicago's Austin neighborhood on the West Side ranks 11th in violent crimes in the last 30 days. Yesterday afternoon I drove south from my home in Morton Grove to take a look for myself at this sad community.

Entering Austin from Oak Park on Division Street you are greeted by this massive boarded-up Chicago Courtyard Apartment.

Things are much better at the other end. Austin's eastern border is the Belt Railway tracks. Between the rail line, Kilpatrick, Harrison, and Congress Parkway are several factory buildings--all of them are abandoned.

And that leaves us with the middle of Chicago's largest and most populated neighborhood. The ugly heap of board-up, asphalt brick, aluminum siding, and rubbish is near Lake and Laramie. As I've noted in prior posts in this series--the red "X" is a warning for the Chicago Fire Department that entering this building during a blaze is unsafe.

Austin was struck by white flight in the late 1960s, the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, which were particularly intense in the nearby North Lawndale and West Garfield Park neighborhoods, appears to have been the catalyst. The rapid turnover of Austin unfortunately meant many businesses and community organizations left too.

On Lake Street near Lorel is the former New Drift Liquors.

Much of Austin is in the Chicago's 29th Ward. In 2012 two precincts were carried by Barack Obama with 100 percent of the vote. Clearly, like the rest of the West Side, Austin is heavily Democratic.

Gang activity is strong in Austin--various factions of the Vice Lords dominate.

There is a lot going on at this ranch home at 5059 W. Potomac--and none of it is good. It's another "Red X" home. The rubble you see is what's left of a four-car garage, the owner of the home on the right told me. She added that that garage, unlike the house, was in pretty good shape. The electric meter is on the opposite side of the remaining standing portion of the garage. "It used to give off sparks sometimes," she exclaimed. "Finally someone disconnected the electricity."

But who is going to clean up this mess?

Austin's population peaked in 1980 when 138,000 lived there. Now slightly less than 100,000 do.

You certainly don't see billboards such as this one in Lincoln Park or Sauganash. But if you own a blighted property you may want to call Sam with SVN AuctionWorks. They "will purchase--any condition."

Please mention the Marathon Pundit blog when calling Sam so I can collect my finder's fee.

When students leave the Spencer Technology Academy at 214 N. Lavergne the see this abandoned Chicago Bungalow. The house behind the bush is vacant too. Chicago Public Schools, by the way, aren't known for their high test scores. But every school seems to be an academy. But that's another topic for another time.

One thing Chicago needs is an "Adopt-a-vacant-home" program. I don't mean people should move in or anything crazy like that, but to have someone to pick up the trash once in a while without getting pestered for trespassing. This house at 5059 W. Kamerling needs a clean up.

Hollywood Pawners in Oak Park, despite this peeling sign, is still open. This advertisement is on Cicero near Chicago Avenue.

New homes can be abandoned too. You'll find proof at 821 N. Menard.

Related posts:

From my post at Da Tech Guy:

I walked its streets--the tragedy of Detroit.


Anonymous said...

I lived in Austin (Cicero & Ferdinand) from Feb. 1970 to Oct. 1982.
That neighborhood was fine at the time but as people began to move out my father bought the building that we lived in and that was a mistake.
The change was quick and by the time I graduated from the 8th grade in 1976(Nash school) the place was a mess.
I sometimes Google map the area and it is hard to believe that this is the same place or even in the U.S.
One trash filled empty lot after another when homes and businesses used to stand.
Places where people used to live, work, shop and raise their kids now just a memory.
The giant gaping hole along Cicero Ave. from Race St. down to Kedzie where the Brach’s candy factory once stood.

What a waste.

Eddie said...

Much more of Austin is the 37th Ward, than the 29th Ward which has smaller chunks. ��