A Year of Demolition in Chicago (and Some Travel)

After filling 2010 and 2011 with travel, I changed gears in 2012 to spend most of the year in Chicago working on two local projects.

The first was the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation supported To be Demolished series, in which I photographed 100 buildings threatened with demolition throughout the city. Among my goals for the project was to get a sense of the range of buildings lost, from minor buildings receiving no public attention to those in the limelight. The full series is viewable on Gapers Block, and you can read more about it in this column by Mary Schmich.

To be Demolished Screen Shot

The second Chicago project was the simultaneous undertaking of my dissertation and a documentary film about a group of South Side Chicago residents who are being displaced. I will be posting more about that work within a month; in the meantime, here are a few frames from the film. Update: The film is now online, and I’ve included it above the screenshots.





While the local initiatives kept me busy, I still found time to extend projects in Belfast, Northern Ireland and nine other U.S. cities. I visited Belfast to continue documenting the activities of Eleventh Night and The Twelfth, and most of the U.S. visits were structured around wrapping up the fieldwork component of my collaborative effort with Michael Carriere, which I’ve previously mentioned on the blog and was written up in The Atlantic Cities.

Below I present a selection of photographs from most of those cities, alongside a few more from the Chicago area.

Elsewhere in the Chicago Region

With Train Yard, Fog and Car

In Their Garage

Marktown, Indiana Aerial Looking East

From Across the Street

Belfast, Northern Ireland


Burning the Kids' Bonfire

Building a Bonfire

Buffalo, New York


Towards the New York Central Terminal (Buffalo)

Cincinnati, Ohio


Frank's

Chama, New Mexico


Through the Trees

Cheyenne, Wyoming


In the Parking Lot

Denver, Colorado


Gothic Theater

Detroit, Michigan


Walking in the Morning

Indianapolis, Indiana


Dried Pond, Houses

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


At the B & C Lounge

One comment

  1. Gil Gettes

    Hey David, I applaude you pal! You are determined,I’ll give you that. I have always admired our older heritage bldgs,and often wonder… who built them, whomever may have lived in them? Dates,Eras; Man.
    If only they could talk. Could you possibly use some company on your treks? Here in Chicago?
    I’d be more than happy to accompany you,and, share the ride,gas,etc.
    Good luck on your endeavours!
    I’ll be looking for your work.
    Gil G.

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