Monday, January 05, 2009
When I wander around the Chicago area with my camera, I generally point my car south and drive wherever my fancy takes me. Lately I have been going a little farther south each trip and I am discovering new wonders around the greater Chicago area. During my last trip, I stumbled across the Altgeld Gardens. Altgeld from a distance looks like a large planned community which is what it turns out to be. It is also one of the first public housing units built in the U.S. Altgeld was built in 1945 by the federal government for African-American World War II veterans and became part of the Chicago Housing Authority in 1956.
The area is actually quite attractive in its own way but looks rundown. Internet sources tell me that the place required major asbestos abatement in the 1980's and that Barack Obama used to work there.
Aside from the Asbestos problem, the gardens are also built on and around landfill and some pretty nasty industrial plants. More attractive, perhaps, than the late and unlamented Robert Taylor Homes these gardens may be just as toxic for young people and other living things.