A VIBRANT NEW START
Bookended by two world-famous universities – the renowned Mies van der Rohe designed campus of IIT to the north and the leafy enclave of The University of Chicago to the south – today’s Bronzeville is a neighborhood on the move.
A stroll up the median of Martin Luther King Drive today offers formal landscaping, colorful artist-designed benches, decorative bronze plaques plotting the path of Bronzeville’s own Walk of Fame, and views of refurbished 19th century homes.
At the corner of 47th Street, the community has reclaimed the pulsating street life depicted in the canvases of another Bronzeville son, artist Archibald Motley, when the retail street scape was known as “The Stroll.”
The ballrooms may be gone, but exciting development is now occurring, including the 40,000 square foot Harold Washington Cultural Center, which hosts national acts and speakers. Bronzeville now includes a multitude of local attractions, from art exhibitions on the local gallery scene to local restaurants and cafes featuring live jazz and spoken word performances.
Brand new residential construction is also playing a large part in the resurgence of the Bronzeville community. Legends South, the community’s largest and most impressive residential development, is poised to make a dramatic impact on this historic community.
INTRODUCING LEGENDS SOUTH
Legends South is more than just another residential development. It is one of the largest revitalization efforts ever undertaken in the City of Chicago that, when completed, will include nearly 2,400 new rental and home ownership units – and will remove the former super block configuration imposed by the former Robert Taylor Homes. This extraordinary development will stretch for two miles through the very heart of Bronzeville; Legends South will extend from 39th Street south to 55th Street and from Federal Street east to Prairie Avenue.
Central to this ambitious and comprehensive plan is the integration of the development site with the surrounding community. The area’s original city grid will be re-established and a wide variety of building types, none taller than four stories, will blend seamlessly with the neighborhood. The transformation of State Street into a boulevard and the development of new retail space along neighboring east-west corridors, in addition to the vital component of homeownership, sets the stage for long term private investments, physical and social improvements and the rebirth of one of Chicago’s most culturally rich districts.
THOUGHTFUL DESIGN BASED ON CHICAGO’S BEST TRADITIONS
Sensitive to the architectural pedigree of Bronzeville – both Adler & Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright are represented – the design of Legends South respects the scale and style of the adjacent housing. Masonry construction, brick facing, gables, bay windows and Prairie Style details recall row houses from the turn of the century. Decorative fencing, landscaping and public green spaces complete the streetscape.
Legends South’s thoughtful design is based on Chicago’s best architectural traditions. Such careful planning and design will ensure that this innovative development will deliver attractive and desirable housing to a fast growing, yet truly historic neighborhood. Come be a part of the exciting renaissance in Bronzeville.
A RICH HISTORY
Bronzeville is a neighborhood with a tale to tell – of social change, paradise found and legendary sons and daughters. First developed in the late 19th century, the area also known as Grand Boulevard was home to successive waves of European immigrants and some of Chicago’s notable gilded age tycoons. Their fashionable graystone and sandstone mansions helped characterize the neighborhood as the place to be for the upwardly mobile.
Though home to a small population of African-Americans since the 1890s, by the 1920s the first wave of immigrants from the rural south firmly established the area as a Black Metropolis. For the next 30 years their city-within-a-city, now known as Bronzeville, served as the epicenter of an explosive renaissance in art, literature, music and politics.
It was in Bronzeville that Daniel Hale Williams, one of the first African-American surgeons, founded Provident Hospital and gained international fame by performing the world’s first successful open heart surgery in 1913. It was in Bronzeville that the all African-American “Fighting 8th” regiment of the Illinois National Guard staged its triumphant return after serving with distinction in World War I. It was here also that newspaperman Robert Sengstacke Abbot’s the Chicago Defender influenced national politics, Mahalia Jackson helped pioneer gospel music at Pilgrim Baptist Church, and Andrew Foster formed the Negro National Baseball League. Ballrooms like the Savoy, Regal, and Grand Terrace kept the town jumpin’ until the wee hours.