The Stockyards National Bank Building at 41st and Halsted is a reminder of our neighborhood’s glorious history when Chicago proudly boasted its status as “Hog Butcher to the World.” It is here, in our neighborhood, that hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans, most of them immigrants, pursued the American Dream working in the world’s largest meatpacking district.
It is a history that we are proud of. It is a history that we need to celebrate.
That’s why I would like to convert the Stockyards National Bank Building into a museum that tells the story of Chicago’s rapid growth in the late 1800s and through mid- 1900s.
We will establish the Stockyards Museum on the upper level of the bank building. Working with one of our local business owners who has an incredible artifact collection, we will celebrate the history of the stockyards. In addition to providing opportunities for Chicaogans to learn about the stockyards, we will replicate what life was like in Canaryville and the Back of the Yards. The institution will serve as an anchor in the area and a catalyst for additional growth.
A museum that brings the Stockyards to life will lure Chicagoans and tourists alike to 41st and Halsted. This will create both educational and economic development opportunities in the surrounding area.
The museum will be modeled after the Tenement Museum in New York (http://www.tenement.org/), which I visited during a recent trip to New York City.
The first floor will be leased to a restaurant operator. The floor size will allow for the restaurant to operate in the front portion of the building with the back of the building portion being utilized as a banquet and event space.
This project is viable because the City owns the property as well as the parking lot on the south side of Exchange. The project is also located in the Stockyards AnnexTIF District, which will provide some of the funding for the redevelopment. In addition to the TIF and private investment, we will approach the Chicago History Museum, foundations and philanthropists to assist in funding this terrific and very worthwhile project.
It is this kind of vision and creativity that I will bring to bear on behalf of residents in the 11th Ward. We need bold plans and new ideas to move our community forward.