|Chicago's South Shore/Calumet area is one with an interesting industrial past, and is worth looking into to the Chicago historian. Starting just south and east of the City of Chicago border (also the Illinois/Indiana border), this area delves well into Indiana's shoreline.|
The South Shore has been, and still is, serviced by the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad, which is as close as this area will get to commuter transportation. Originating in Chicago's Grant Park, the railroad runs the length of Lake Michigan's South Shore. At either end are nationally-ranked universities: The University of Chicago and Notre Dame. But this is where the similarities end. As the South Shore train leaves Chicago, riders quickly find themselves in the run-down, slums of Gary that were once the American Dream of suburban pioneers.
The magnificent strength of the steel industry built the region, yet the factories along the South Shore Line are increasingly underutilized; the area has become known as the "Rust Belt," a symbol of the disintegration of the steel mills along the lake.
Still, one does not have to be too optimistic to believe that the South Shore area will be great again. With its railway, highways, ample housing, and proximity to the city, it seems that it is only a matter of time before commuters take advantage the South Shore. Also, this area is situated a hop, skip, and a jump from the Indiana Dunes - a beautiful refuge of dunes, forest, and beach along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
The South Shore has a long way to go; crime is rampant and the infrastructure of many of these communities has faltered. But sooner or later those interested in living close to Chicago without raising a family in the City, or paying an arm and a leg for a condo, will converge on this area and revitalize its communities.