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South Lakefront Tour: Site J
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Site J
Turn right at Dorchester and return to Hyde Park Boulevard. Make a left and go three blocks east to Lake Park Avenue (400 East). Kenwood Academy stands at the northeast corner of Blackstone and Hyde Park Boulevard. This magnet public high school draws students from all over the South Side. Merchants threatened by the decision to build the school at this location opposed its construction in 1961.

Across the street from Kenwood Academy, on Harper and Lake park, is the Village Shopping Center, which leads to Harper Court on 53rd and Harper Avenue. These developments are intended to provide space for Hyde Park merchants and artisans displaced by the massive urban renewal projects of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the artists who were forced to move because of the demolition of the old artists' colony on 57th and Stony Island expected to relocate in Harper Court. Unfortunately, the Harper Court rents proved too high for many of the artists, and they left Hyde Park for Old Town and other North Side locations. Among the buildings demolished to make way for the Village Center was Theodore Starrett's Hyde Park Hotel, which stood on 51st Street between Harper and Lake Park from 1888 until 1963.

The above photograph shows Ciral's House of Tiki at 1612 E. 53rd Street in 1985. The House of Tiki was one of the few cocktail lounge/restaurants to survive the trauma of the urban renewal years in Hyde Park.

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