EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Outreach Weekend Report

October 22-23, 1999

Contents

Brooklyn Historic Gravesite

by Beth Campbell

Since we had been there:

  1. Work had been done to prevent littering on the gravesite. Huge concrete forms that are normally used to support trailers, create a barrier between the road ad the gravesite. This helps to prevent garbage and junk from being dumped on the Brooklyn Gravesite.
  2. The gravesite had been declared a historical landmark.

What we did: True, we did not have the same welcoming as we had the last work weekend, but we still worked with the residents. Mr. Douglas, Janice Yates, and Clara Beth Thomas, only to name a few... Better Days Incorporated has been responsible for all the resident participation. There were eight of us there on Friday, and about six on Saturday.

Friday: We arrived on the site around 1:00 pm, ahead of the residents. We were busy wrenching the bamboo plant roots out of the ground that remained after the previous burning. Together with a few shovels and raw manpower we uprooted about 70 percent of the bamboo roots. Together, the guys tackled and took out three of the trees at the back part of the grave site. We were unable to rake, as we had none. Also, we were able to uncover a few gravestones, and clear the areas around them.

Others, including Mr., Douglas, Brooklyn resident, worked on clearing brush on the eastern part of the gravesite and burning it. By 4:00 pm, the eastern portion of the gravesite had been cleared. There were huge branches, parts of trees, small weeds, vine plants, among other vegetation, all of which was cleared. Fires did not rage, and camaraderie was not as it was the past work weekend, but we got a lot done, together.

Saturday: We tackled remaining trees and roots. We also had rakes this time, which we were lacking on friday. So, we raked the rubble on the site. It began to look like a gravesite, yet it had a more desolate feel to it. Around noon, Janice Yates, and her team from Better Day Incorporated brought ham and tuna sandwiches for lunch that they had made.

Clara Beth Thomas came to the site on Saturday, examining the site for historical artifacts. She said that the archaeologist that she was consulting during the gravesite restoration was Daniel Boone. She found the beginnings of a set of porcelain bottles? There was a grave that looked to be made out of glazed bricks, perhaps housing a family within its CMU foundation walls. Mr. Douglas and Clara Beth Thomas supervised rubbings of illegible gravestones. This allowed us to get names and dates. Clara Beth is now researching the information that we found in the rubbings, and she is looking into reconstructing the glazed brick burial plot.

UIUC Participants from both days: Michael Bennes, Beth Campbell, Grant Day, Eric Gould, Michelle Hawkins, Elliot Klug, Christian Lauffer, Michael Locigno, Ryan Kirsch, Mike Organ, Brett Polisch and Katie Sharp.

Resident Participants: Janice Yates, Clara Beth Thomas and Mr. Douglas.

 

Flyering and Surveying the South End Neighborhood

by Katie Sharp

We met at Carl Thomas's house to receive background information on the community organization SENDO (South End Neighborhood Development Organization) and to receive maps of the area. Then, we were given flyers on the community organization, and surveys from the community organization to distribute to residents of South End. We split up into three different groups to canvass three different areas of the community. The groups were as follows: Mike Benes and Michelle Hawkins canvassed the zone one part of the neighborhood, Rodney Howlett and Mike Locigno canvassed the zone two part of the neighborhood, and Ryan Kirsch and Katie Sharp canvassed the zone three part of the neighborhood.

Once out in the neighborhood, we were instructed to distribute the information to two houses per street. If the residents were home, we were to explain the organization and ask them to fill out the survey. If the residents were not home, we dropped the two pieces of information off in their mailboxes for them to read later.

It was a great experience to be able to get out into the neighborhood and meet the people and see the area. Unfortunately, it seemed as if not too many of the residents were home, however, it still seemed like a successful work weekend task.

We finished off the day with lunch at Carl's house. People involved: Katie Sharp, Michelle Hawkins, Mike Benes, Mike Locigno, Ryan Kirsch, Rodney Howlett. Group Leader: Carl Thomas.

Adventures in Motivation Recreational Site

by

Virginia Park tree planting, etc.

by Brian Orland

Participants: Brian Orland, Catherine McCulloch, Jenna Staab, Juli Stahl and many others.

The Virginia Park crews had two very good days. 30 trees were planted and staked and a whole lot of playground equipment got a good painting. We also helped Ms. Stewart and her buddies move a lot of new plant material from their homes to beds in the park. Sandra Reeves was a wonderful site hostess and provided us a great barbeque lunch which had the benefit of enticing out some teenagers to work with us.

by Catherine McCulloch, Jenna Staab, Juli Stahl

We took off for where the Friday group left off in Virginia park. All of the trees had been planted but because of the wind they need to be staked. So part of the group worked hard and finished that by lunch, which had been prepared by Catherine. The other part of the group worked to create a flower bed with plants from two lovely lady’s own yards. The ground was pretty hard so this task proved more difficult that it was originally believed to be, but it was accomplished and the plants were placed into the ground. By this time Virginia Park was full of people playing and working, so we joined them for a good time. There were about 30 children playing and we all had a good time playing tag or on the merry-go-round. It was a great experience for the students as well as for the children.

Paint a storage shed for the Washington Park Emergency Organization

by Chris Collins and Jeff Zahorak

Location: Washington Park, Illinois. Participants: Chris Collins, Christian Lauffer, Beth Pagano, Jeff Zahorak, and Professor Robert Selby

We arrived in two cars to the area of the prospective site in Washington Park at 9am. Uncertain of exactly what we were looking for, we stumbled upon a vacant lot next to the residence of Tom Qualls. On the corner of the lot nearest his house stood a small shed which was to serve as an office and storage space for the Washington Park Emergency Organization.

Tom had provided us with three cans of dark brown enamel, one roller, one pan, and three brushes with which we were to paint the exterior of the shed. We prepared the surface by wiping it down with rags and removing protruding nails and staples. Then we painted…dividing the work according to brush size---some were able to cover large areas quickly, while others detailed. Two separate trips to the local True Value Hardware store provided additional rollers and brushes, which sped up the work rate. Tom also made a trip of his own for one additional can of paint.

Tom and his wife were very welcoming and appreciative of our work. They brought us donuts to snack on while we were taking breaks in the sunlight to warm up on the cold morning. Around 12:30pm we had painted three facades (the fourth was blocked by a dog pen) and a porch. Professor Selby had just completed his valiant scaling of the porch, to paint the cornice above, when we broke for a sandwich-and-chips lunch provided by Tom and his wife. We cleaned our hands (and faces) using gasoline in the absence of paint thinner, and around 1pm we departed having completed our task.

Door to door outreach for WIPNO

by Tim Meyer

Front row: Lindsay Banks, Sean Terry, Chacolby Glanton, LaKeisha Cabizina Perry, Rory Schlarb, Tim Meyer, and Delores Turnbough. Back Row: Kathy Anthony, Deanna Koenigs, and Carol Perry. Not Pictured: Jayme Perry-Scott

On Saturday, October 23, 1999, I and fellow students from urban planning along with Professor Anthony and Deanna Koenigs participated along side of local residents dispersing information about the Winstanley Industrial Park Neighborhood Organization (WIPNO). WIPNO is a community based organization that depends on the community’s participation of citizens to help better the community. The more participation this group gets from the citizens the more activities can be done for the area. It was our duty to disperse fliers about WIPNO throughout the neighborhood and try to gain community awareness and activity. Out of the about 350 or so fliers that we delivered door to door, we received 83 signatures from people who were interested in WIPNO and wanting to come to its upcoming meeting.

At 9 a.m., we were divided into groups of two, one University student and one student from the community, and set out on our way to get people involved into WIPNO. At lunch-time we meet back at Carol Perry’s house and had some home cooked chili. It was a perfect lunch for a cool, long day of walking. Most of the day went well without any hassle, and we came across some residents that were very interested in what we had to tell them.

Golden Gardens Surveys

by Keith Johnson

Early Saturday morning, Manny Hernandez, Emiel Guede, Amy MacDonald, and myself went around the community of Golden Gardens to ask residents to fill out surveys about what they wanted to see done in this growing community. The Golden Gardens, Inc. is headed up by Mr. Joseph Washington, who grew up in this neighborhood.

We split up into three groups, Amy and me, Manny and Emiel, and James and his son. We all took seperate streets and began knocking on doors. Mr. Washington stayed back with his son, Pierre, and did some yardwork for a church. It was very cold out that morning and we thank the residents who let us get warm inside their homes. The people who wanted change in the community were more than happy to help. The people in the community who were nice to us were very nice. However, there were some people in the community that didn't want to have any part.

The area that we were in seemed rather nice, there were a few run down homes but the community definitely has a chance to develop with the help of its residents.

Survey of the historic buildings in Olivette Park

by Catherine McCulloch, Jenna Staab, Juli Stahl

Participants: Kathy Anthony, Kathy _______, Lawyer _______, Catherine McCulloch Jenna Staab, Shaunta McGee and Juli Stahl.

The neighborhood organization has taken notice of many historic buildings in East St. Louis that are now becoming vacant and risk being destroyed. These buildings include the East St. Louis Public Library, which will soon be vacated and move into a new building, one of the two high schools, which has been vacant for 2 years, the Faye Dunaway homes, the Faye Dunaway Museum and Coach house, and the Boys and Girls Club. Our group surveyed the buildings for their historic value, which is the first step to placing them on the historic registry. We divided into two teams for efficiency and went off on our duties.

My group’s first stop was to the Public Library. We surveyed the exterior, taking special notice of the beautiful stained glass windows. Once inside we were lucky enough to run across Mrs. Brown, director of the library. She was very excited about what we were trying to do and was very helpful (even gave us magnets). She showed us the third floor, which is not in use, but once held an art gallery and a large auditorium. This auditorium had wonderful plaster molding and a pyramidal skylight over the center of the stage. We definitely felt that the library was worth preserving.

The next stop was the old East St. Louis high school, where we also met up with the other group. We thought that this would just be an exterior visit but were lucky enough to run across a custodian who was kind enough to give us a tour of the inside as well. This building has been empty for two years and so has been badly vandalized and damaged. It is a very large building though with a lot of character and memories. The building has been damaged by fire in one wing but the building as a whole can still be salvaged.

Located across the street from the high school are the Faye Dunaway houses. These 3 historic homes are in the process of being restored by Ms. Dunaway and are in very good shape. East St. Louis has many historic buildings that should be preserved. They are beautiful pieces of the city’s past and should be incorporated into its future.

Measuring the Incubator Building for Remodeling

by Brett Polich

A former incubator office building was measured by students in order to complete as built drawings for the building. Plans have been made to develop the building as office for several community organizations. The building is an old manufacturing facility for a vanilla manufacturer and is need of a great deal of repair. Drawing generated by this filed measuring will be used to develop the new office scheme and assist in applying for financial assistance.

NTAC Face Lift

by

More photos from the weekend.

Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 16 November 1999, Deanna Koenigs
EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT