Hood Century - Chatham Tour | Varyer


A tour of Chatham's mid-century modern architecture in Chicago's iconic Black neighborhood

I was walking up my childhood street when I saw these same homes that I’ve seen my entire life - homes that I knew were mid-century modern. I remember wondering if the homies knew that they were. I started comparing how these homes looked with how the houses looked in Southern California, and that’s when I realized that showcasing these modern designs would be empowering. But before that, all I was thinking about was getting them to the homies because they had to see these spots.

There may be some conversations in architecture, design, city planning, and historic preservation that we all are going to have here soon. I hope to be a kickstarter to some of those conversations and movements!

Chatham is a Chicago southside suburb that’s pretty much been Black since it sprouted. A byproduct of the post-World War, Great Migration, mid-century modern boom, it’s been a neighborhood where up and coming Black folk could live and build their cribs together. Wow. Think about being in a neighborhood and going to an all Black bakery or an all Black dry cleaner.

The style that Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan (the trifecta) created was actually pivotal for Black identity. Enjoy the “tour” of one of my fav neighborhoods in the country!


GREEN BUILDING: 7604 S St. Lawrence

Walking up to this building was like speaking to a long time friend for y'all's boy! Something about the circular vibe creates an infinity type of feeling for me. It’s opening soon as a kids' center servicing the neighborhood’s youth. I am excited to get back and see it all lively!! Shouts the OG, Mr. Lawrence, whom I met outside and can’t wait to visit with again!

7604 S St. Lawrence


I really think Chicago is the only town that has this style of mid-century homes. Duplexes? They are really dope because of the layers that appear to be happening within one eye view. That make sense? I really always love the corner window in mid-century modern because you can just imagine how it illuminates some part of the house… probably the kitchen or the master bedroom.

The flag doe - the flag!

8450 S Ingleside


I have to learn how to measure acreage, you know? Like, eyeball how much land a home sits on! Because in Chicago (especially Chatham) these very humble residential blocks be having some dope ass corner lots! This home is salmon and really gets to flex because of the space it has.

I am seeing California Modern, which has this really large touch of International style. International style has a very distinctive Japanese influence. I wonder if people see that, if there’s been studies, or if it’s just common knowledge.

224 E 86th

LEM'S BBQ SPOT: 311 E 75th St

It’s wild! NEVER seen Black folks standing outside for some food. I just haven't… especially not in the winter! That’s how you know Lem’s BBQ is dope! This seems to be one of those rare “Googie” (A modern cousin of mid-century modern) that’s more “Astro World'' than its cuzo!

LEM'S BBQ - 311 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619

330 E 84th St

GREEN/ATRIUM: 330 E 84th St

Mid-century moderns that look like this have really great interiors; they have subfloor hang out spots. My favs! This home had a great flow towards its patio area by the right side of the house that was tucked along the street. It extended the house, like the styles they have in SoCal, but it felt miles away in vibe and privacy.

330 E 84th St


The lines in this picture caught me! I put my phone up to take a picture of the house as I crossed the street - and the lines got me.

First it's the blinds, then it’s the windows!! Then that crack in the pavement!

I love lines. There is something rather powerful about them and if you think about it, we all LOVE them.

355 E 89th Place

RED COZY: 8501 S Wabash Ave

If this side of this mcm isn't giving you cozy vibes... You ain’t looking at it right.

8501 S Wabash Ave

8455 S Michigan Ave

“THE TREE HATIN...”: 8455 S Michigan Ave

One of, if not my fav home in Chatham! It has that compound feeling in the guts and rear of the crib. A courtyard vibe and you can see that vibe from the street as you go alongside it.

This International/Cali Modern style really has me thinking ...”There was intl/Cali here early early”. Y’all lucky; this town got some gems.

Jolyn Robichaux, one of Chicago’s most renowned businesswomen and owner of ice-cream empire, Baldwin Ice Cream, lived here until 1992. She took Kit Baldwin’s small business and RAN IT UP, distributing it to over 800 commercial outlets and six storefronts!

8455 S Michigan Ave