Friday, September 28, 2007

History Crumbling

Seen today on the northside of the Wilson El station. How the CTA and our elected officials let this station decay to this point is beyond us.


  1. Normally, I'd say this is Uptown, not Yuptown!

    But this is actually quite scary looking. Perhaps the democritically selected alderman should look into this and give Mr. Huberman a jingle. Many peeple use this L stop to get to Joan Arai skool.

    Maybe I need to start re-thinking my approach to local politics.

  2. If you haven't already added this pic to the CTA Photo Pool on the "CTA Tattler" blog, you should do so!

  3. Will do--I didn't want to use someone elses's photos w/o permission.

  4. Two years ago, while sauntering down Broadway checking out the new developments in Uptown, I encountered two surveyers taking measurements of the Wilson el, the very first stages of the complete rebuild that is in the offing, as soon as the Belmont, Fullerton,and Howard Stations are completed.

    The rebuild will preserve and restore the lovely facade while completely demolishing the station behind it, as it is bizarrely configured in such a manner as to make it impossible to fit it with the escalators and elevators and other accessibility aids required by the A.D.A. It's sad in a way, because, concealed behind a wall and locked door is the lower-level arcade that, before the 60s, housed a barbershop and newstand and shoe repair.

    How did the beautiful old station get into such shape, you ask? Well, how did the CTA and, for that matter, all of our cities, get into the condition they are in? Chicago is, inspite of the stunning revival of downtown and the near north side, and the incredible beauty of the city itself, sadly reduced from the elder days previous to the mass movement to the suburbs of the 50s and 60s that sucked the money and life out of our cities. They have not yet recovered from the decimation and disinvestment of the post-WW2 era.

    Other cities are unrecognizable- if you died in St. Louis or Detroit in 1952 and were resurrected today, you would be aghast at the destruction that has taken place in these once-great cities and would probably be at a loss to locate your old 4-flat or bungalow, for its site is probably full of weeds or underneath the pavement of an interstate highway.

    The condition of this old station is just one more testament to the complete disregard that Americans have for their public spaces, and their cities. The throwaway ethic and the suburban ethos destroyed this station and the neighborhood surrounding it, as it did many other similar places and neighborhoods.

    I feel that Chicago, at least, is turning around in a nick of time. For the smaller midwestern burgs, that are still replete with built beauty but completely destroyed otherwise, it might be too late. Perhaps when gasoline edges up to $6 a gallon, people will realize what they so wantonly destroyed and cast aside in favor of crap tract houses and regional shopping malls out in the middle of nowhere, and will rebuild the cities where you can live an entire life with everything you need within 6 blocks of your home and where the same families resided for 5 generations.