Underpasses. Who likes underpasses? They’re dark, damp, hot in summer and dank in winter and you hope you’ll never have to end up sleeping in one. All in all, underpasses are not on your list of pleasant places. Then about forty years ago a group calling itself the Chicago Mural Group began to use the many rail underpasses as a canvas to beautify the surroundings. They are now a non-profit organization named the Chicago Public Art Group whose mission remains true to its original cause. And now they construct mosaic murals, sculptures and landscape designs. The rail underpasses and entrance and exit ramps for Lake Shore Drive paralleling the Lakefront are spectacular and are attracting more and more attention of drivers, walkers and bikers. So my plan is to visit each one of them.


My first visit was to Foster Avenue and Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s far north side. The theme of this one is “Indian Lands Dancing” commemorating the Native American Peoples original to this area.


About Chicago Stories

I'm a Chicagoan, have been for fifty years. I've had a consulting business in the city for thirty-eight years, working with many Chicago companies and organizations and others around the world. Before that, I worked the city's race relations agency for five years.I am a volunteer tour guide for Chicago's Greeter Program and introduce visitors from around the world to this beautiful city. I'm also a writer of several professional books as well as poetry, essays and fiction. The city has become my inspiration, education and entertainment. View all posts by Chicago Stories

4 responses to “Underpasses

  • Tom Kimble

    Good Lord, we have some art here but it is limited to quality spray painting of the Florida Gators Orange and Blue. Nobody doing mosaic tile work. Keep track of these for our next visit…. sounds like part of the Chicago tour to come.


  • Chicago Stories

    Thanks, Tom

    Loved your comment. Will make sure to hit a few next time. It’s fun to walk in an underpass, of all things. Larry

  • Bill

    Your latest topic brings back fond emories of my youth in Bridgeport, home of some pretty unusual underpasses. My favorite was at Sonour street half a block north of Archer Ave,which dead ended at the closed Martin Senour paint factory. We called it “Sonour Street Beach” because a large group of us native Bridgport youth would, because there was no traffic, plug the drains under the viaduct, turn on the fire hydrants, flood the underpass, and open the “beach”. One of the group (can’t mention names because his family is still being crucufied by John Kass in the Tribune for their role in city politics) was able to have a city truck deliver a load of sand regularly to give it the real beach feel. What a treat to be able to walk a few blocks to your own private beach. None of us new how to draw, so no art work.

  • Chicago Stories

    Thanks, Bill. Your story of “Sonour Beach” is truly priceless! Now we know something about surviving and thriving in Chicago – and using all the resources at hand. Larry

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