The vast clearing before you is the location of the epically disastrous Green Hornet Crash of 1950 (nice job first anonymous commenter!). A 1985 Tribune article revisits the incident, one of the deadliest in Chicago history. Basically, a speeding streetcar struck a gas truck at 63rd and State. The crash and ensuing inferno killed 34 passengers and torched five buildings and several cars. And wouldn't you know it, not much was built in place of the lost structures. This is
Woodlawn Washington Park, after all. It's amazing how non-urban this strip is nowadays. Just cruise down 63rd and see (Google Streetview will suffice). There isn't a home or neighborhood business for blocks in either direction. Fields and light industry occupy lots to the west of State and a never-ending sequence of railroad overpasses greet travelers heading east. This despite the presence of both Green and Red Lines and proximity to University of Chicago.
·Flaming Death In The Green Hornet Crash of May, 1950 [Trib]
·Hint: With Streetcars Waning, This Event Didn't Help Their Case [Curbed Chicago]