Forgotten Sanctuaries: Urban Exploring in Chicagoland

By Leta Dickinson
Medill Reports

As waves of gentrification sweep across Chicago neighborhoods like Pilsen and West Loop, in many other neighborhoods, decrepit structures stand guard against the burgeoning development—long forgotten abandoned buildings. That is, forgotten by most. These vacant factories, cathedrals, warehouses, schools, homes and more become the go-to destinations for the local urban exploring community.

Photo at top: 7/22/2018 Factory south of Chicago, IL
An urbex crew walks through the train terminal of the coal factory. This group, as with most in the Chicagoland urbex community, explores together because of mutual interest in preservation and adventure. “It’s kind of an underground community; it’s a loose connection of different networks. We have people from a bunch of different age groups. It’s really not a demographic at all, it’s just an interest,” Maximilien says. (Leta Dickinson/Medill)