West Side Story | Essay | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

When they were getting ready to build Manley High School in 1935 they sold the buildings that were in the blocks where the school was going. These were three-story graystones. They sold them to people who would move them.

So the buildings were put on rollers and rolled down the street. Big rollers. They just moved them--put rollers in front, pushed the house, more rollers. Haven't you ever seen that done?

There were many vacant lots around, prairies where we played. So a few of these buildings went in right across the street from us.

You'd wake in the morning and see a house standing in front of your house. Well, it might take them a day to roll it down the street. I mean, it was remarkable that they could do that.

It was mostly Italian people who bought the buildings, and so the neighborhood started to change very suddenly from being mostly Irish to more Italians than Irish. So, as always, when the Italians started moving in the Irish started moving out.

We had about four houses that were Irish to the end, four cottages. We called it Kerry Patch.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

More by By Mary Jo Clark as told to Jack Clark

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 30
Performing Arts
April 08

Popular Stories