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Preface to the Exhibition

I’ve lived in Chicago for just over four years, and I’ve lived in some very diverse neighborhoods.  I wanted to choose one that I’d never visited before, though I didn’t realize at first that Beverly was one most people I spoke to had never even heard of before.  This only made it more appealing to me.  When I set out to choose a neighborhood full of architectural gems, I was presented with a few options.  Oak Park, of course, has many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s amazing works.  The Loop is loaded with Sullivan masterpieces.  Pullman was invented strictly for workers of the Pullman company, and many of the building are still standing.  However, each of these neighborhoods turned me off for one reason or another.  Oak Park isn’t inside the Chicago city limits, so that was out.  The Loop is so popular just for daily living that I felt bored with it before I started.  Pullman had been the topic of so much class reading that I felt too many people would choose it; it was too obvious.

So I started the hunt.  My first step was to poll a few friends.  “I’m doing a project for school,” I said.  “What neighborhood interests you?”  I got many responses, but they were all pretty predictable.  Then someone mentioned they had a book I could borrow.  This book, Walking Chicago: 31 Tours of the Windy City’s Classic Bars, Scandalous Sites, Historic Architecture, Dynamic Neighborhoods, and Famous Lakeshore, proved to be my jumping-off point.  Browsing through the book, I found a neighborhood that has everything I wanted: history, architecture, ease of commute, and they even threw in a castle.  How could I not choose Beverly?  They have it all!

Exploring Beverly helped me learn that this city that I love is so much bigger than I realized.  When one thinks of beautiful properties on large lots, one generally thinks of Evanston or Buena Park.  When thinking of the areas on the

View of the skyline, heading back from Beverly on the Dan Ryan

South Side, and knowing the history of many of the race and ethnic struggles that went on in the historically poor and overcrowded space, it’s easy to forget that there are many beautiful and vibrant communities tucked away.  Beverly is one of them, and I hope this project inspires you to venture out and explore it for yourself.