clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hint: 'Substandard' Replaced by More 'Substandard' on the South Side

New, 5 comments

Welcome to CornerSpotter, Curbed's weekly game in which you, fair readers, consult archival streetscape photos or postcard illustrations to identify the building(s) and/or location presented. Time to tap that reservoir of urban minutiae and flaunt it before your fellow readers. Fire away in the comments, and we'll reveal the correct identity and backstory on Friday.

What's the standard for "substandard"? Who knows, but one certainty is it changes from generation to generation. As with so many older human-scaled residential districts, the row homes in this early-1930s photo succumbed to "progress". But "progress" was also a handy distraction from racist housing policies. You see, this micro-neighborhood's original residents—well-to-do whites—"moved away from the path of the advancing Negro district", as the Tribune so lovingly put it back in the day. Instead of rescuing the stately 1870s housing stock from gradual disrepair, the powers that be gave 'em the slum clearance treatment in advance of an enormous public housing project. That, in turn, was eventually deemed "substandard". So the site faces the real possibility of recovering its original scale, minus the grandeur. The same thing happened in some white ethnic areas (read: Little Italy), but this particular spot was so beautiful it was destined to become one of the city's premier historic districts. Your turn: name that corner!
·CornerSpotter [Curbed Chicago]