The Transformation In Progress...
History of Our Building
The building was believed to have been built in the late 1860s to mid 1870s, and we are still trying to research the exact date of its construction. It was originally a part of the Californian Manufacturing Company, which was a planning mill, cornice works, cabinet makers, roofing, sash, carpentry, door, as well as a blind factory. The buildings to the south were all part of the same company. There was also one building believed to be contained upon the north side of the building which hosted the cornice works site, as well as where the roofing materials were stored. The building to the south is constructed mainly of wood and is believed to be the first building used by the company as a stable for the work horses, later becoming the cabinet shop in the lumber planning.
Reach Out Community Center’s building is a masonry structure and is two stories consisting of 17,000 ft. Our structure was the main work center for the company with the large equipment contained in the building, and is where the main work for the company was accomplished. The Sanborn Fire insurance maps were produced for private fire insurance companies and in this area the maps date back to 1896.
By the 1950s, the company had acquired the final piece of its property at the end of the block on the corner 23rd and Troy, where they housed their offices. Californian Manufacturing Company was in existence until about 1991. Reach Out Community Center is the third owner of this building.
We are actively researching more history and stories about the building that will one day soon become Reach Out Community Center.
The Local Community
The Reach Out Community Center is going to be an integral part of the South Lawndale and Little Village communities, located on the border of these two neighborhoods on the west side of the city of Chicago. Both neighborhoods are vibrant and their culture diverse as well. Little Village, which is technically part of the South Lawndale community area, is now predominantly a Hispanic community and was originally settled by Eastern European and Irish immigrants in the late 19th century.
After the Chicago fire in 1871, many people moved out of the city center and into surrounding areas such as Little Village/South Lawndale communities. Industrial jobs created in the early 20th century attracted a diverse population to the community. By the mid-1970s Little Village became predominantly Hispanic and the Latino culture gives the area a vibrant and distinct feel today.
The South Lawndale community is predominantly an African-American community, althrough the Hispanic community also has a large presence. The South Lawndale neighborhood was also settled by Eastern Europeans, mainly people from Germany and Czechs.
Reach Out Community Center is excited to be a positive contribution to this community.