It's an October Tuesday, 7:57 am, and the 2 ton claw is hovering uncomfortably close to my windshield (even 20 yards is precariously close when the claw is clamped down on a tangle of steel bigger than my truck). I drive by here everyday on my daily commute. The scrap metal yard on Kingsbury, hidden in the shadows of strip malls, coffee shops, microbreweries, and a Whole Foods so big it requires its own zip code.
Barges come up and down the river. Train tracks intersect, as they have for over a century.
It's the place where old metal goes to be reincarnated.
This place is a timewarp. Generations of workers slaving daily over scraps. Sitting next to A Finkl & Sons - a steel mill that has been there as long, processing over 100,000 tons of steel a year.
This is one of a few remaining places in Chicago that reminds me of our city’s industrial, big-shoulder roots. Its shiny new neighbors are moving in, pouring over the turn of the century structures like lava- stripmalls popping up in their place.
As incongruous as it now seems, tucked away at the intersection of Bucktown and Lincoln Park, I’ll be a little sad when i drive by one day and find that it’s dissapeared, replaced with a big box store.
About the author: Tereasa Surratt (@tereasasurratt) is an author, creative director and camp proprietor of Camp Wandawega. Calling Chicago home for 13 years and counting. tereasa.com