THE TOXIC TANK ON FRONT STREET

THE TOXIC TANK ON FRONT STREET
From my adolescent perspective, the isolation of her neighborhood created a fascinating little
enclave for me. B.’s Front Street neighborhood spanned one single block with houses standing
on just one side. All the inhabitants, all of B.’s neighbors were black people. The street was
way down the hill from a busy “uptown” commercial/retail area which was delineated from the
“colored quarters” by miscellaneous warehouses and rail yard structures.
B.’s house was situated on last block on the street which faced numerous ribbons of Illinois
Central Railroad tracks and a shallow lagoon smack dab in front of her house. The murky,
greasy, nearly iridescent lagoon encircled a massive cylinder shaped, rusted metal tank which
contained “who knows what”. The EPA would have “had a baby with a bonnet on” if that tank
were still intact today. Modern regulations would forbid the presence of such an obvious toxic
structure in a residential area. Mind you, it was installed in “black quarters”. Despite the
contaminated environment, in my unworldly mind, B.’s house was “kiddie heaven”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *