Through connections made at Bowen, I was introduced to Joann Podkul. Joann taught at Bowen for 40 years, helped to start the Bowen Environmental Studies High School, and is active in promoting environmentalism and sustainability in the community. Joann invited me to participate in a tour of South Chicago as part of the 10th Ward Green Summit and the Bowen Centennial Celebration.
Although I had been on tours of the area before and had researched the area, the Green Summit tour was immensely interesting in getting to know the history of the community. The other participants on the tour were all Bowen alumni (and spouses), mainly from the late 1950s to 1970s, Bowen’s heyday.
Joann’s tour of the area included many interesting facts that highlighted how South Chicago has been unique since its start, solidifying the area’s individuality not as a new phenomenon but as a historical fact. The Bowen alumni reacted simultaneously to new development with awe and to memorable places with nostalgia.