Chicago Patterns: Neighborhood storytelling through photography

The 100-Year-Old Bridges of Chicago’s Douglas Park

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Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

Douglas Park is one of Chicago’s most scenic city parks in the heart of the west side of Chicago. Spread across 174 acres in the North Lawndale community area, it is located between West Roosevelt Road and West 19th Street to the north and south (respectively), and South California Avenue and South Albany Avenue to the east and west.

Established in 1869 as the southern park of the West Park System, along with Humboldt (formerly “North”) and Garfield (formerly “Central”) Parks, the park exhibits the design talents of multiple renowned architects including William LeBaron Jenney, Oscar F. Dubuis, and Jens Jensen, along with locally-notable designers Michaelsen & Rognstad.

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Mr. Downing and the Bright Red Door

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4500 Vincennes

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

On the 4500 block of Vincennes in Bronzeville are two sets of twin greystones–one pair is more Classically styled and the other is more Romanesque. These homes are part of an enclave of city firefighters and police officers, and many that live in the neighborhood have been here for generations.

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Chicago’s Ecclesiastical Marvel on the West Side: Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

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Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows interior. John Morris/Chicago Patterns

At Jackson and Albany in East Garfield Park is Our Lady of Sorrows, one of three basilicas in the city. Like many churches and places of worship, the real effort in design and implementation went toward the inside rather than the outside of the structure.

The interior has one of the most spectacular displays of color, geometry, depth, and detail I’ve seen in a building.

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19th-Century Chicago Addresses on the West Side

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Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

Before Edward Brennan developed the comprehensive 8 blocks-to-a-mile address system in 1909, Chicago street addresses were disorganized and confusing, being based on three distinct divisions of the city created by its surrounding waterways of the Chicago River, its branches, and Lake Michigan. Lake Street (the first street platted in the village of Chicago) was the city’s original dividing line between north and south but east and west designations depended on which side of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan you were located. Continue reading »