Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Next for Washburne Trade School Site?

It's been holding the corner of 31st and Kedzie since 1910, a whale of a building and a nice-looking one, too. The prairie-style factory was designed for Liquid Carbonic by Nimmons and Fellows, the same architects as the original Sears Tower in North Lawndale.

It became, of course, the fabled Washburne Trade School, which trained tens of thousands for good jobs in a powerful industrial city, with 17 different unions hiring the graduates. That changed as integration came to the all-white school in the 1960s. By the 1980s most of the unions had pulled out, and Chicago Public Schools closed Washburne in 1993. It reopened briefly under City Colleges of Chicago, but closed for good in 1996.

Little Village neighborhood leaders have been pushing to convert the 11-acre site into park and community space for years, and that dream is now closer. A 1930s building fronting on Kedzie was demolished in 2006 and discussions were well along to rehab the historic building and create park space behind it. But a four-alarm fire on Feb. 15, 2009, ruined that scenario. Demolition, underway now, will leave a clean slate.

"What do you want to see? Que quieres ver?" asks a new flier circulating through Little Village, inviting residents to three community meetings on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, May 2 to 6, at three locations. "Field House, Indoor Track & Field, Soccer Field, Community Center, Affordable Housing, Retail, Day Care Center, Student Teacher Dorm, Baseball Fields, Computer Room, Trees, Flowers, Skate Park, Grass, Green Technology, Health Care..."

Those are the possibilities. The meetings are sponsored by Enlace Chicago. For more information, contact Edgar, 773-542-9233, x21, or Cesar, 773-542-9233, x14.

Photos below by Juan Francisco Hernandez, taken in 2004 and 2008.

10 comments:

JUICE25 said...

This is absolutely stupid! This is what happens in a community that has nieve and stupid people that know nothing about architecture, and they would let such a beautiful building thats been standing for 100 yrs, to simply tear it down to to have such an empty space like build a strip mall or worst yet a park that would be nothing less than a thug hang out!!! This happens all over the city to these historic buildings and what are we doing? Nothing!! This is our community history and we're demolishing it!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Juice25.
I lived a few blocks from the school for about 35 years!
A park is a very bad idea.There is
many gang bangers in the area.
There was many options for this wonderful building.A high school or grammer school.A industrial park for jobs.Unemployment is very high in the little village area.
There is parks in the area already.
Say NO TO PARKS&THUG GANG BANGERS

Anonymous said...

Pilsen is great for transportation to downtown but after living there for 5 months,I have decided to move out,reasons being that its so dirty,people throw their trash out on the streets,they dont care about recycling,too many stray animals running around and kids are always outside by themselves playing on the streets til late at night. On one occasion I saw a man beating his dog with a belt and everyone just standing around looking but doing anything,I myself could not take on that challenge, Gangbangers at the age of 40plus still walking around staring trouble but yet these people say that we are taking their neighborhood away,well get with it and fix it up if u want the respect.I hope to see this Pilsen get alot better and very soon. They dont care about them selves or Pilsen so its best that the big people come in and take over.

Anonymous said...

we have no sense of history.

Anonymous said...

It is so funny that people can say what this organization is doing wrong but cannot come up with possible solutions. If you look into Enlace as an organization, you can see how much they are doing for their community and its people. I think demolishing the building is the last thing they would want to do but it costs money to build from wreckage and if no one is offering, where will the money come from?

Nicole said...

read my reviews about Trade Schools and auto body trade schools

sbobet said...

thanks ysboou for arsbochive

sbobet said...

On one occasion I saw a man beating his dog with a belt and everyone just standing around lookinsbo
sbo
g but doing anything,I myself could not take on that challenge, Gangbangers at the age of 40plus still walking around staring trouble but yet these people say that we are taking their neighborhood away,well get with it

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Anonymous said...

Saint Anthony Hospital will be building it's replacement hospital there. The site will include community facilities as well as retail that will help fund the hospital, and allow them to continue to provide care to the uninsured and underinsured.