The Columbia Chronicle

President Barack Obama designated the Historic Pullman District a national monument on Feb. 19.

Pullman Porter Museum honors neglected history

October 26, 2015

The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, located at 10406 S. Maryland Ave. in Chicago’s Historic Pullman District, has been expanding its efforts to increase the museum’s visibility in Chic...

Streets from Wabash Avenue to Lake Shore Drive were closed off for NBC’s “Chicago Fire” Oct. 7–9. “ Chicago Fire” is one of many shows that take place and film scenes in Chicago, providing jobs for city residents on set and on camera.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

October 12, 2015

The first time sophomore theatre major Will Bruce was on set as an extra on NBC’s “Chicago PD,” he was approached by principal actor Jason Beghe, who struck up an unexpected conversation with him, wh...

Historic Pullman

Possible national park title creates hope

February 3, 2014

With their community burdened by high unemployment rates and stagnant development, residents of the Pullman neighborhood, located on Chicago’s South Side, are looking to revitalize the area and honor its rich ...

A digital revolution

By Colin Shively

March 29, 2010

The screeching, ear-splitting sound that resembled nails on a chalk board is well-known to those born in the 1980s—the sound of the early Internet and its dial-up connection that linked computers to online servers. The Internet is relatively young compared to other communication devices such as the phone, yet in the short amount of time its existed, the Internet has re-created the way our culture functions.Commonly refe...

 

AUTHENTICITY

February 9, 2009

Each of Chicago’s many neighborhoods represents a community of culture, history and individuality within the city, contributing distinct pieces to a larger metropolitan puzzle.This is one of those neighborhoods.Years ago, Chicago prevailed as the meatpacking district of the world. During the early 1900s, cattle could be seen in the alleyways of urban streets as they were herded up wooden ramps and into the brick interior of slaughterhouses. As slabs of meat dangled from suspended hooks, workers cluttered the blood-soaked floors with knives in hand. Out of these buildings emerged large packages wrapped in brown paper that were stacked, one on top of the other, as they were prepared to be shipped out to local butcher shops and wholesalers.Back then, Chicago was known as the “hog butcher for the world.”Today, forklifts can still be seen emerging from the plastic-stripped doorways that are tucked back in gloomy alleyways as they haul packaged meat and bulk cans of tomatoes and other produce. Large trucks congest the streets and uneven sidewalks as they load and unload carts stacked with frozen meat and cheeses to supply the city’s restaurants. Marked by a true urban grit and grime—a history of the meatpacking industryas told through Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle—still lingers, and a faint smell of grease and factory steam still permeates the air as a reminder.This is Chicago’s West Loop.A remarkable transformation over the past five to 10 years has served as a reinvention for this once-uninhabitable area. As the weekdays come to an end, 7 p.m. marks the commencement of Friday night, the trucks begin to trickle out of the streets as twentysomethings in dresses and button-down shirts take their place.The neighborhood once occupied by workers and ill-fated hogs has seen a renaissance of sorts, as contemporary art galleries and swanky restaurants have popped up alongside abandoned factories and warehouses, and sit nestled underneath rumbling train tracks. The area is now marked by an offbeat sophistication with its glamour-meets-grunge take to urban living that shares a resemblance to New York’s SoHo village.“There is a totally different atmosphere here in the West Loop, [more] than any other part of the city,” said Martha Goldstein, executive director of the West Loop Community Organization and resident of the neighborhood. “There is a certain energy that draws in artists and younger generations because of its edginess.”According to the West Loop Community Organization’s website, there are more than 30 galleries along the streets of West Fulton Market and West Washington Boulevard. Galleries like Thomas McCormick Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd.; Function + Art, 1046 W. Fulton Market; and WOMspace, 845 W. Fulton Market, have all paved the way for the art district of the West Loop with their soaring ceilings anchored in aged brick columns and white walls dotted with odd experimental art installations.The Function + Art Gallery, which specializes in contemporary studio furniture, has been a part of the West Loop art district for six years, founder Scott Patria said. Patria said much of the West Loop’s emerging art scene appeal comes from its affordability and unique energy.“The West Loop is a little funkier than other areas and comes off as being rough around the edges,” Patria said. “The artwork here is more interesting and more risk-taking.”Looking back at the six years since Function + Art first established itself on West Fulton Market, the West Loop and its art scene have conjointly come a long way.Although the abandoned buildings remain with the names of meatpacking companies still faintly painted over the red brick walls, there is a sense things have changed and will continue to progress.When Patria and other artists first set up shop in the neighborhood, the area was much rougher. But the large appeal that drew in both residents and gallery owners came from the cheap space, which allowed artists to own their spaces outright and have the freedom to take creative risks with their gallery displays.The abstract and bizarre sculptural styles of Darrin Hallowell at the Thomas McCormick Gallery, which appeared in a previous exhibit, becomes an example of the ambitious experimentation the art district in the West Loop has adopted. A pile of rusty red clay formed in the shapes of different human hands sits on the wooden floor of the gallery, and in the next room, life-sized figures of the human body are molded out of clay and eerily laid flat on the floor as the only objects in the room.Goldstein said the neighborhood is more residential at this point, being comprised mostly of condominiums and lofts, art galleries and restaurants. The convenient location to the heart of Chicago’s downtown has attracted a younger crowd to the West Loop as they settle into the renovated factory-turned-loft-style apartments. The accessibility that the neighborhood has to nearby expressways has also brought in families and couples from the suburbs as the area gives an urban feel without the stress of the hustle and bustle that comes with it.There is still a need for development within the West Loop in order for it to embrace the lacking retail side, Goldstein said.“Right now we are about 60 percent there in where we want the West Loop to ultimately be,” Goldstein said. “There is still a lot of growing to do, but that’s what makes it such an interesting place.”

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