Many of you may not know I am a volunteer Greeter for the the Chicago Office of Tourism. I either take visitors out on pre-arranged neighborhood tours, or last-minute tours of the Loop. I give visitor’s a local’s perspective on life here, and show them someoff the beaten path attractions as well. I am a Bronzeville resident and have taken visitors to this area as well.
There is a challenge to a Bronzeville tour. While the neighborhood has many historical and well-known attractions, they are spaced far apart for someone doing a walking tour. While the Southside Community arts Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology are on the western edge near State street, the site of Stephen Douglas’ tomb is east of Cottage Grove. The Migration statue, on Martin Luther King Drive at 25th street is a whole 10 blocks from the area’s retail hub at Thirty-fifth street. For some, this is just too far to walk.
An innovative idea would be to use golf carts to get to these places quickly. The Loop has Segway Tours, which could be used in Bronzeville to manage the long distances between attractions.
Changing the subject-slightly, I will be getting together with another Greeter to walk her version of a Bronzeville tour. She is focusing on the area near Quinn Chapel, a historical African American congregation. It is located around 24th and Indiana Avenue. Those familiar with the area know it was once connected to the city’s Black Belt, but cut off and isolated due to the Interstate 55 extension to Lake Shore Drive. Being the life-long learner I am, I am excited to see how I can add a different twist to my tour or offer a shorter substitute.