In the 1960’s, Mother and I shopped at the first Jewel store on 92nd and South Chicago Avenue earning a set of plastic furniture that my cousin helped produced. The building is there but empty now. Also on 92nd, we would go to Steel City Bank. Mom liked to buy her clothes at Gasman’s and if I was patient while she tried on clothes, we would go across the street to Bargain Town where I could get a new paint by number. When selling Girl Scout cookies, our troop would sell in front of Goldblatts and for awhile I was a Rainbow girl attending meetings at the Masonic Lodge at 91st and Exchange. Building is there as well but empty and not in the best shape. Many of my Catholic friends attended Immaculate Conception at 87th and Commercial.
It went on and on when talking about Commercial Avenue or South Chicago Avenue. There was one place after including restaurants, bakeries, hardware stores, shoe stores, dress shops, 5 and 10 stores, theaters, banks and the small business man thrived. The last mill at the South Works site of the United States Steel Corporation (US Steel) closed in 1992. The loss of this major employer has taken a significant toll on South Chicago particularly its economic activity. So in 2016,a plan was put together to revitalize the area focusing on Commercial Avenue between 83rd an 93rd. In ten years, they hope that the economic vitality of the area will be recaptured.
The owners of the Chicago Skyway want to get involved with a community improvement project, it makes sense to jump on the opportunity. Such is the case with the South Chicago Underline Project, a proposal to add facilities for walking, biking, playing, and relaxing under the elevated highway on the Southeast Side