Thursday, June 3, 2010
Victims of the revolution
The behemoth that is O'Hare International Airport has been hungry for land. After a protracted legal battle, it seems its appetite will soon be satisfied, as a large chunk of suburban Bensonville is being torn down to make way for airport expansion.
Dozens of homes are being sacrificed to appease the monster. I paid a visit to them last summer, at a point when perhaps 90% of the homes had been vacated, with only a handful of recalcitrant holdouts remaining. It was an eerie environment, with tidily kept yards and houses standing shoulder-to-shoulder with lots that were rapidly becoming overgrown.
A holdout next to a long-vacant house.
More recently I returned, and found that with the legal hurdles cleared and the holdouts gone, demolition of the entire area was underway. An entire neighborhood had been fenced off and was prepped for systematic destruction. Trees are down, fences are ripped out and piled in the street, grass has been stripped away, and the houses are looking pretty ragged.
The other bizarre casualties of the expansion scheme are two cemeteries that have already been ingested by O'Hare. The two will have to be relocated, but for many months they have stood as untouched islands in a vast construction project.