8500 S. Brandon Avenue, b.1960 — 10th Ward — TIF-93 Zone
This building property, as it had been first been used as a coal distributor, then a Shell gas station and auto garage, was converted in 2005 into the Latino Chicago Theater Company, NFP. Utilizing their 501(c)(3)not-for-profit status the old gas station was repurposed to help bring people from the Southeast Side together around the thespian arts. LHI continues this mission while adding to it a SE Chicago labs camp and historical museum quality to allow patrons to explore the past and discuss with others in our Sister Cities network how to build a brighter future.
LHI has been granted a Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) loan/grant that LHI to create six (6) bay rooms for displaying six themed topics of SE Chicago. Being all building code standards had been met in 2005 when first opened after its renovations there are only minor interior alterations that will need to be implemented.
The kitchen area, like with Houston U, could serve food for those special occasions when the facility is utilized for school or LHI functions. The side yard, with the new performance stage for presenting historical dramas, as well as the six (6) teaching workstation tabletop locations, could bring the museum to the labs camp and labs camp to the museum. As a “trial and error” and “trail and honor” approach to things this facility can offer patrons the chance to go into the neighborhood, amass information, and find ways to teach others their knowledge that can be recorded and preserved for current and future generations, a part of the Exploration Squares family of programs.
A entry fee to the museum would be charged for those not pre-registered from LHI’s programs operating out of Houston U, and the on-line recording of data could be done there on site utilizing our equipment and facilities. Volunteers from The Southeast Chicago Historical Society have offered their services and time, and should special presentation and audiences on topics and persons be arranged a special entry fee could be charged to offset all costs associated with said event.
As a bike-and-hike jumping off point that could lead to the South Chicago Velodrome at 87th and Burley the Frontier Q building could serve as an orientation gathering place for those wanting to explore areas further down south or west. In conjunction with the new Southeast Chicago Bike League and its featured eight area high school teams (and two free-standing north and south ones), the Frontier Q offers many perks before or after a long bike ride for being able to relax and share stories.
Within the secured, enclosed yard created SE Chicago historical displays, dramas and exploration programs could be offered, along with guided nature ecological walks through the wooded trails behind it (wherein a zip-line rope park utilizing the no-longer-used electric train’s catenary towers in the railroad yard is a community desire worth pursuing). LHI back trails, leading to the South Chicago Velodrome at 8615 S Burley Ave, could add even more fun.