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Chicago's South Chicago Community
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 Block Chart 8900 Exchange
 CNT Chart 8900 Exchange
South Chicago
8900 Exchange
Block History

     Most of the buildings and houses of the 8900 block of Exchange Avenue in South Chicago have been around since the late 1800's. Since they were built there have been a lot of improvements on the houses.  For example, garages have been built and improvements have been made in the interior as well as the outside of the houses which include the porches and the stairs.  Most of the original buildings on the block are still in existence.  The block includes single family dwellings as well as two flats, three flats and some larger apartment buildings.  It is typical of the blocks in the area which provided densely populated housing for the workers in nearby steel mills and other industrial concerns.
     When South Chicago first began it started out as scattered settlements and it soon evolved into a village. The region from 91st  street to the 89th street,  also from Exchange Ave to the United States Steel mill was a marshy lake in which working men would have to wade when it was good weather and have to row through when it was really bad weather. Also when it was tranquil waters, the men would use hip boots to walk in order to get to their work. Yet for years the streets stayed unpaved and  muddy.  Soon, there were roads and sidewalks built,  but they were nothing but boards just about less than seven feet above the street level.  These sidewalk boards were also put just about an inch apart for water drainage for those rainy days.  In 1937, a house was bought at 9023 Exchange Avenue by the St. Peter and Paul parish for the sisters who taught in their school. 
     Phil Sheridan is the school closest to this block.  This school was originally called the 93rd Street School but named Phil Sheridan on January 24, 1912.  Phil Sheridan school is now named after Arnold Mireles , a community activist for the South Chicago area.  Mireles was shot in December 1997 as he walked home after working late at a community center in his South Chicago neighborhood.  Mireles was found shot to death in front of his home on 89th block of Exchange Avenue.  Mireles was dedicated to a litany of community service projects in the neighborhood in which he had grown up.  He walked around South Chicago with a camera and a building  code book and brought his findings to city inspectors.  The alleged killers of Mireles lived at 8822 S. Exchange Avenue. 

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