My Dad told me once while driving home on Van Buren Street to take a good look around because we’re always tearing Chicago down.
In his essay “Chicago, The City That Was: The City That Is,” Saul Bellow wrote: “The speed of the cycles of prosperity and desolation is an extraordinary challenge to historians and prophets.”
I wonder what Bellow would say if he could see the building that once housed Chicago’s Anshe Kanesses synagogue, at 3411 West Douglas Boulevard in North Lawndale. Today, Anshe Kanesses—which was also known as the Russcheses Synagogue, because of the large number of Russian Jews attending—is decrepit and open to the elements in places. Vandals have torn out every piece of copper wire in the walls and broken the sinks to get the aluminum, according to the current property manager, John Vassal.