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.
- (Photos) The abandoned homes of Chicago's violent Back of the Yards neighborhood
- (Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent East Garfield Park neighborhood
- (Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's most violent neighborhood--West Garfield Park
- (Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent North Lawndale neighborhood
- (Photos) The abandoned homes of Chicago's violent Englewood neighborhood
From my post at Da Tech Guy:
I walked its streets--the tragedy of Detroit.