For history buffs, the Chicago Southland is full of sites that give a glimpse into the past. The area has a rich history that encompasses many areas - aviation, education, industry, railroad, transportation, slavery, sports, agriculture, architecture and more.
You can learn more through viewing historical markers placed in locations throughout the region that give details on what makes that place so significant. Here are a few you may want to seek out on a visit to the Chicago Southland.
Bloom High School, 101 West 10th Street, Chicago Heights
Construction began in 1931 on this building to serve students of Bloom Township. It was designed in Art Deco Style and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, making it the first public high school in Illinois to be recognized on the register.
Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 West 35th Street, Chicago
Locals who have lived in the area a long time still think of the home of the White Sox as Comiskey Park. In the parking lot just north of the current ballpark you’ll find a marker in the ground showing the exact spot where home plate was located when the team played in their old home - Comiskey Park. The current park opened in 1991.
Washington Park Racetrack, 17800 Halsted Street, Homewood
Dating back to 1926 with the American Derby and a $100,000 purse, Washington Park Racetrack, built by Washington Park Corporation and Illinois Jockey Club, became a home for the nation's finest thoroughbreds. The track burned to the ground in 1977.
Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train Route, State Street & State Line Avenue, Calumet City
Located at the northwest corner of the intersection of State Street and State Line Avenue is this marker recognizing the Michigan Central Railroad Right-of-Way where Lincoln’s funeral train traveled on May 1, 1865. The marker also gives background on the founding of Calumet City.
Dixie Highway, Dixie Highway & Hickory Road, Homewood
This marker at Hickory Road and Dixie Highway in Homewood explains the origins of the first national road linking industrial northern states to agricultural southern states. Planning began in 1915 and by 1923, the roadway had 6,000 improved roadway miles, extending from Chicago to Florida. To learn more about the annual Drivin’ the Dixie event that winds along this legendary highway, visit DrivinTheDixie.com.
Find out more about historical markers in the area by visiting the Illinois State Historical Society’s website at HistoryIllinois.org.