The first Historic 71st Street Walking Tour was a runaway success! Nearly 50 people came out on a brisk Saturday afternoon to learn about the history and distinctive architecture of 71st Street in South Shore.
Attendees were diverse in age, race, and place of residence. Some were revisiting a neighborhood they left long ago; others were discovering South Shore for the first time; and longtime residents improved the tour by sharing their memories.
The architectural treasures of 71st Street are significant, but also in need of protection. Historic buildings in a variety of styles, constructed from the 1910s to the 1930s, should be included in a new Chicago Landmark District, in order to preserve the unique streetscape. The buildings owned by Urban Partnership Bank at 71st & Jeffery are particularly threatened, as they are now vacant and may be sold to a shopping center developer. We called on attendees to sign our petition for landmarking, which is also available to sign online.
The tour concluded at the South Shore Tourism Center, which features a display on neighborhood history created by area high school students. Light refreshments were served, along with an engaging conversation about the opportunities and challenges facing South Shore’s commercial corridors.
We are grateful for the support of our partner organizations, including Reclaiming South Shore for All, Preservation Chicago, the South Shore Docent Council, the South Shore Historical Society NFP, and the South Shore Chamber Inc. With such a strong group of collaborators, we are hopeful that we can make a difference on 71st Street.
We will be offering the tour again on Sunday, May 25, departing from in front of Give Me Some Sugah (2232 E. 71st Street) at 1pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. See the Facebook event to RSVP or for more details.