27th October 2017

Crispus Attucks school (closed)

This public school was closed in a round of funding cuts in 2008 and has since become a 'center of illegal drug transactions and vagrant activity' according to the Chicago Teachers Union. It is positioned just a block away from the disused Kenwood railroad embankment, near the trial acre of sunflowers planted by BUD. The school is now adjoined by several vacant plots and a few mixed income developments on the site of the former Stateway Gardens public housing project. One of these recent developments is visible on the far left of the image above.

The neighbourhood for my project, Bronzeville, has a huge area of vacant land along its western edge - an area that used to have tower block after tower block, all constituting parts of the various Chicago Housing Authority public housing projects that became notorious for their concentrations of social disorder, and are now consigned to historical records as examples of why housing exclusively low income residents all in the same place is destined to fail. This school used to serve the residents of Stateway Gardens, one of these projects.

A disused school bus parked in front of the school. Vacant plots persist nearby.

The former playground.

Deserted clothes donation box.

Sign reads: 'School and playground areas closed 9:30pm to 6:00am. Violators subject to arrest.'

Peering into an old classroom through a large opening where the chipboard had been pulled off.

Moments later, once I'd walked away, a man leapt out of the opening and ran across a nearby vacant plot to a tent.

Abandoned play equipment. Note the recent redevelopment to the right - what a view for the tenants!