The Union Stock Yard, known as “the Yards,” was once the center of Chicago’s meatpacking industry, immortalized in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Many of the workers in the slaughterhouses and packing plants lived in the neighborhood directly south, which became known as Back of the Yards. The stockyard closed in 1971 and was converted into an industrial park, where today manufacturers churn out tortillas and chicken sausages.
Back of the Yards today resembles many industrial Rust Belt cities that have lost their main industry. Swaths of shopping centers surround a shrinking central business district, and press coverage generally focuses on all the things the neighborhood is not. But many longtime businesses remain, and young people who grew up in the neighborhood have chosen to stay and put down roots in the form of businesses of their own. Sherman Park, in the neighborhood’s southeast corner, is one of the South Side’s prettiest parks. The population of Back of the Yards is mostly Latinx now, and that is reflected in its restaurants, which are mostly concentrated on Ashland Avenue and 47th Street.
As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.Read More