Chronicling the past, writing the future on Chicago’s West Side

Guyon Hotel1

“The now-decrepit Guyon Hotel at 4000 W. Washington Street is a staple of West Garfield Park’s landscape, with a rich history that reflects the diverse and tragic evolution of a once-thriving neighborhood,” explains Medill reporter Marisa Endicott. “Built in the 1920’s by an eccentric real estate mogul, the hotel later became an ambitious public housing project rehabilitated by Bethel New Life. Today the hotel stands empty, too derelict to achieve landmark status but too expensive to tear down despite the city’s standing demolition order.”

As part of their focus on development and change on Chicago’s West Side, Endicott and Harry Huggins chronicled the Guyon Hotel’s unique and significant history. Explore their interactive chronicle here.

As the Guyon Hotel’s saga shows, the West Side is home to rich history as well as vibrant community organizations with big plans for the future. Youth and grassroots media organizations including the West Side Writing Project and Free Spirit Media empower local residents to tell the stories of the West Side and its residents — past, present and future. Here, Endicott describes these organizations and how they aim to impact their communities and the larger public dialogue.