As the historic preservation staff wrote in its recommendation: “While many feel that [chain-link] fences have negative connotations, this material has played an important role in the development of mid-century vernacular housing and their cultural landscape. . . . By eradicating this ‘simple fencing solution,’ the applicant would be removing an important contextual clue to the original occupants of this neighborhood.”
But the preservationists now seem to be saying that people have to keep their “historic” homes looking dreary and utilitarian so that the rest of us can get a kick out of looking at the houses and ruminating on how charmingly plebeian the original occupants were. I didn’t think that the elements of privilege and classism already inherent in these historic preservation districts could be made more obnoxious, but boy, was I wrong.
It’s tempting, but I’ll refrain from suggesting what would be important contextual clues to the original occupants of various Chicago neighborhoods.