CHICAGO — Surely commuters to and from Downtown have seen a small, sometimes lit-up shack between 3800 and 3900 North Lake Shore Drive.
What most probably don't know is that the shack began as a manned switching station for buses in the 1920s and it's currently a storage area for the Sheridan Triangle Garden nonprofit's efforts to beautify the small, triangle-shaped plot of land next to it.
"People want to know what it is all the time," said Jill Weinberg, president of the Sheridan Triangle Garden nonprofit. "When people see us working there, hanging up lights or working with the garden, they roll down their windows and give us high-fives and thank us for our hard work."
About six years ago, Weinberg, a resident of 3800 N. Lake Shore Drive, started the nonprofit after she was given the keys to the shack by a resident of 3900 N. Lake Shore Drive. Inside was, as Weinberg described it, "floor-to-ceiling CTA junk, metal chairs and old-fashioned Christmas bulbs."
Weinberg and a few hardworking volunteers, including a city police officer and 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman, cleaned out the shack and started planting perennials, trees and shrubs in the garden. Weinberg said the nonprofit volunteers also hang up Christmas lights that still are lit now, plus change the decorations for Halloween and spring.
The original CTA shack was manned by someone who would direct buses where to go next, and the triangle is still used by buses for turnarounds, she said.
The triangle land is still owned by the City of Chicago, Weinberg said.
The garden has come a long way in a short time, Weinberg said. It now even has its own state-of-the-art irrigation system, a major upgrade from having to use 200-foot-long industrial hoses to take water from 3900 N. Lake Shore Drive.
Weinberg said the nonprofit always is looking for funds — you can donate by clicking here — or volunteers.
"It's a great way to make friends," she said. "It's been a community effort."
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