The Barack Obama presidential library is coming to Chicago’s South Side, but the exact location has not yet been announced. In our latest photo gallery, we captured a slice of life in Washington Park, a neighborhood that could undergo major changes if the library is nearby.
A woman walks past the Garfield Boulevard “L” station and overpass, which was designed by architect Myron Church in 1892. This is one of the oldest surviving mass transit stations in the United States and is the last surviving example of the city’s original “bow-fronted, Arts and Crafts-styled” street-level station houses, according to the City of Chicago. The station was designated a Chicago landmark in 2001.
Reginald Thompson aims his bow at a target 40 yards away in Washington Park. Thompson is president of the Chicago Archery Club, which was established in 1878. The group is the oldest, continuous archery club in the United States, he said.
Brenda McKinley (left), the Chicago Archery Club president’s assistant, and Joe Messick, the group’s historian, look at where their arrows landed on a target in Washington Park.
An old wooden bow hangs from a locker in one of the sheds in Washington Park. The Chicago Archery Club has used the shed as storage for targets, bows, and archives since the mid 1940’s, when the building was constructed.
Tree branches hang over the lagoon in the Washington Park neighborhood. The park consists of over 350 acres of land on the South Side of Chicago.
Dwight Gaines, a resident of the Washington Park neighborhood, grabs his fishing line, which got stuck in a pond. “Fishing is actually a great way to meet people. A lot of people come up to me and just start a conversation. I am hoping to catch a catfish. All you need after that is some bread and water and you have got a meal!”
Lee B. Hogan stands at the front desk of Ms. Lee’s Good Food, the carry-out restaurant that she has operated for the past 16 years.
Noah Supermarket at 56th St. and Michigan Ave. has been owned by Khalil Inshasi since 2008. “Things have calmed down a bit around here. A lot of the stores on Garfield that people used to hang outside of have been bought by the University of Chicago and there is less crime. The first month I owned the market in 2008, four different people tried to rob my store. Now there is much less of that, things have started to change, and I think the Obama Library is good for the community,” Inshasi said.
Garland Gantt has sold food and merchandise next to the Garfield green line stop on Garfield Boulevard for over 15 years. “Ever since the grocery store across the street was bought by the University of Chicago, there isn’t really any place to get basic groceries and this [truck] helps,” William Scott said. Scott stopped by Gantt’s truck during a lunch break to say hello.
William Rodgers hits a ping pong ball during the annual senior games table tennis tournament in Washington Park’s main field house.
Laura James waits for a serve while learning to play table tennis during the annual senior games table tennis tournament in Washington Park’s main field house.
Laura James and William Rodgers chat on the bleachers after participating in the Washington Park annual senior games table tennis tournament in the main field house.
Salim Mithaiwala, originally from Pakistan, has owned the Ace Hardware Store on Garfield Boulevard for 30 years. “I have seen this area change a lot in the past 30 years. Housing developments were knocked down and left vacant lots that have been here for years, but now I think those vacant lots are going to be developed again and that will bring me and everyone else in this area business. With the library, Chicago will become a tourist destination and that will be good for everyone,” Mithaiwala said.
A colorful mural in Washington Park promotes an uplifting message.