If you closed your eyes and all of the sudden you were in front of the abandoned South Side Masonic Loge and all of the sudden opened them and looked at this majestic structure that is almost in unrecoverable state this will be the thoughts that could come to you; This could be the future Obama Presidential Library site, This could be a South Campus of the Chicago Art Institute, This could be fancy boutique hotel with a huge English Garden in front, This could be the new Chicago School of Photography.
I can think of so many things and so many possibilities. I can not fathom it being demolished and not preserved as something that once symbolized a very thriving community in the 1920’s in fact it was the most important shopping district in Chicago after State Street.
I shot this image in the Englewood neighborhood which has many abandoned and destroyed properties. I looked at this abandoned building and I saw the Church building in the background and I thought that a lot of Englewood’s hope lays on its churches.
In writing article #2 about Englewood some thoughts come to mind. The previous article has generated a lot of discussion and curiosity about Englewood and how it is perceived by people that know very little about it. It has generated thoughts about its future and how to make it into a
Dr. James R. Diesfeld
self sustaining community where residents are offered new economic opportunities to raise their standard of living. In thinking about Englewood I have to think about key institutions and how they are now at the forefront of economic development, the first I think about is St. Bernard hospital. 2 years ago Dr. Diesfeld who is one of Chicago’s most highly sought after chronic pain specialists, received a call from the chief St. Bernard anesthesiologist Dr. Penas, she said come to St. Bernard we could use your help, we need a pain specialist there is none nearby. We went that afternoon and immediately realized that we needed to be there on a compassionate basis and also on community development basis. It works like this, St. Bernard is one of the largest employers in Englewood, we bring patients and order services Xrays, Labs and refer to physical therapy and the pharmacy and interface with other neighborhood clinics and providers and participate in a cycle that brings life to the community. In turn St. Bernards becomes more viable and sponsors community development around its immediate surroundings and this is a major benefit to Englewood. Dr. Diesfeld has made the decision to bring patients from outside the area to support the hospital and participate in Englewood. I think this is a very positive story and we will continue to find some more.
Every Wednesday I visit St. Bernard Hospital in the Englewood, neighboorhood of Chicago’s south side to manage a medical practice. I get off at the 63rd street exit of the Dan Ryan on my way to the office on the 3rd floor of the professional pavilion. It is easy to be intimidated by the news reports of many murders in the area. It is also very discouraging to drive around and see urban blight, abandoned buildings and empty lots. Around this I see very encouraging signs of hope, new homes around the hospital, Salvation Army Centers and soon a new Whole Foods in the 63rd and Halsted area. Today, I drove to visit a community health center, called the Beloved Community Health Center on 68th and Halsted. Very amazing place, very clean, staff very caring. Now I want you to remember that name Beloved Community Health Clinic. As I left the clinic on the way back to St. Bernard’s I noticed a very tall church just south of the hospital on Harvard Street, I decided then that after I left the office I will do some photography of this building and do a series on architecture and community development. About the church, the name of it is, the Beloved Community Christian Church, the sign outside says Pastor Bobby Rush, umm… Could this be Congressman Bobby Rush, further research on the churches Facebook shows that he is Pastor. I also think that Beloved Community Clinic is an outreach of this church.
About the building, It is an exquisite structure with some intricate details on the facade and a huge and beautiful stain glass wall on the front. Enjoy the images and remember this is the first article on Englewood, there are more to come.