Lake Meadows


Lake Meadows is a twelve-building housing development built on "slum clearance" land near South Parkway (now King Drive) between 31st and 35th Streets. The Illinois Institute of Technology and Michael Reese Hospital organized the South Side Planning Board, which planned the community and secured funding from New York Life Insurance Company. The ground breaking was held in 1952, and the units were built between 1953 and 1968. Initially, Lake Meadows stood as an example of an interracial, middle-class community, although eventually it became a largely black community. The accompanying photograph from 1950 shows an alley in the neighborhood not long before it was cleared for the Lake Meadows apartments. (Chicago History Museum, ICHi - 00825) Lake Meadows is a remarkable example of private urban renewal. But it is just one example of clearance projects that displaced mixed-income black communities in post-World War II Chicago, and increased competition in already overcrowded housing markets in community areas on the South and West Sides.

Labor Trail





3300 S Cottage Grove Ave

Labor Trail

The Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies (CCWCS) is proud to present the Interactive Labor Trail, made possible by a generous grant from the Illinois Humanities Council. This on-line history resource builds on “The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle,” a map of 140 significant locations in the history of labor, migration, and working-class culture in Chicago and Illinois. The Labor Trail is the product of a joint effort to showcase the many generations of dramatic struggles and working-class life in the Chicago area's rich and turbulent past. The Trail's neighborhood tours invite you to get acquainted with the events, places, and people -- often unsung -- who have made the city what it is today. In addition, the statewide map is just a starting point for further exploration of Illinois' labor heritage. This Interactive Labor Trail expands the number of locations and provides a greater depth of information, while giving map users the chance to add their knowledge of locations and events in the Chicago area’s working-class history.

We invite all individuals, groups, and institutions interested in the labor and working-class history of Chicago, Cook County, the Calumet Region, and Illinois to contribute to the map. Users can add new sites, edit or build upon existing entries with additional text, photographs, primary sources, audio and video files, as well as links to related websites.

Easy-to-use instructions for adding to the on-line version of the map are available at

More information on the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies is available at:

The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle

Project Director:
Leon Fink, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Advisors:
Tobias Higbie, Newberry Library
Lisa Oppenheim, Chicago Metro History Education Center
Liesl Miller Orenic, Dominican University

Administrative Director:
Jeffrey Helgeson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Assistants:
Aaron Max Berkowitz, University of Illinois at Chicago; John H. Flores, University of Illinois at Chicago; Erik Gellman, Northwestern University; Dan Harper, University of Illinois at Chicago; Emily LaBarbera-Twarog, University of Illinois at Chicago

Web Design:
William Atwood and Melissa Palmer