Aural Neighborhoods 2022
North Lawndale Sound Trail

1.65 mile loop, about 35 – 40 minutes

IMAGE: Aerial view of North Lawndale Chicago neighborhood
Image Credit:

Directions to North Lawndale and Route Overview

If commuting by public transit from the south take the 87 to the Red Line, to Roosevelt Station. Take the 18 to Ogden & California. Turn right on South Farrar Drive to enter the park. Turn left on Burkhardt Drive. Follow the sidewalk to the steps of the community center. If commuting from the north take the Metra UP-N line to Ogilvie Transportation Center. Walk to Clinton CTA station at Harlem and Lake then take the Green Line to California. Walk to California and Lake and take the 94 to California and 14th Street. Turn right on South Farrar Drive to enter the park. Turn left on Burkhardt Drive. Follow the sidewalk to the steps of the community center.

If commuting by car from the south, take I-94 W from E 87th Street, S South Chicago Ave and E 75th Street. Take I-94 Express W, I-90 W/I-94 W and I-290 W to W Van Buren Street. Take exit 27B from I-290 W. Take S California Ave and S Thompson Drive to Burkhardt Drive. Turn right onto Burkhardt Dr and the destination will be on your left. From the north, take I90/I94 to I-290 W/Eisenhower Expressway. Take exit 27B from I-290 W/Eisenhower Expressway. Take S California Ave and S Thompson Drive to Burkhardt Drive. Turn right onto Burkhardt Drive and the destination will be on your left. 

ACCESSIBILITY: Both Aural Neighborhoods Sound Trails are wheelchair accessible.

Back of the Yards Sound Trail Map

Let’s Get Started – Breathing Exercise

When you get to Douglass (Anna and Frederick Park), or to one of the other sonic points of interest on the sound trail, take some time to slow down before beginning your walk. Relax your body, feel your feet firmly on the ground and let your arms hang loosely at your sides. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose for five counts, hold it for five counts, breathe out of your mouth for five counts, and hold for five counts. Repeat three to five times, until you feel yourself slowing down and relaxing.

Continue breathing and listen to the sounds all around you. Listen to the sounds closest to you. Are they constant or sustained, or are they intermittent? Next, listen for the sounds farther away from you. Again, ask yourself are they constant or intermittent? Finally, listen for the sounds farthest away, ones you can barely hear. Are any of the sounds you are hearing unusual? Are you hearing things you don’t expect?

Take a few more breaths as you have been doing. When you are ready, open your eyes and begin the North Lawndale Sound Trail. As you proceed, it is best to walk in silence. A soundwalk is intended to be a personal listening experience. If you are walking with someone else, save your thoughts to the end of the walk before having a conversation. The sound of your footsteps becomes part of the walk, listen to the leaves, gravel, and pavement under your feet. Pause at each of the following sonic points of interest. Listen to the sound around you, read the description, and listen to the brief recording.

Sonic Points of Interest

Douglass Anna and Frederick Park –  Cultural and Community Center

1401 South Sacramento Drive, Chicago IL 60623

IMAGE: Douglass Anna and Frederick Park Cultural and Community Center main entrance
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
AUDIO: Douglass Anna and Frederick Park Cultural and Community Center

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

ABOUT: Douglass Anna and Frederick Park, known formerly as Douglas Park covers 173 acres in the North Lawndale community designed by William Le Baron Jenney who is considered the father of Chicago’s early skyscrapers. Surrounded by a variety of vegetation the park offers a wide range of activities for community members and visitors to participate in at the cultural center/field house or enjoy a walk through one of many paths, gardens, lagoons and ponds located throughout the park. The park was renamed due to its ties to slave owner Stephan Douglas who initially purchased the 173 acres that the park was named after in 1869. While the field house would not be added until 1928, it would not be until 2017 that Village Leadership Academy began organizing to propose a name change to instead honor abolitionists Frederick and Anna Murray Douglass. The park is located at 1401 S Sacramento Dr, Chicago IL 60623 and accessible through various entrances located along W Douglas Blvd, S. Sacramento Dr., S Farrar Dr. that extends from S. California Ave. and S Albany Ave. 

LISTEN: Upon making one’s way from the nearby parking lot to the steps of the entrance to the Cultural and Community Center, one can hear the acoustics of the space reflect across the brick, cement, and stone surfaces that surround the building and standing structures. An empty fenced-in pool sits directly in front of the community center reflecting the sounds of a basketball game and friends in conversation. Distant sounds such as ambulances, police sirens, dwelling traffic, and active helicopters cued from the neighboring Medical District surround the landscape that gets blended and pushed through the various vegetation that fills the landscape throughout the park.

For more information visit:

Walking to Douglas Blvd from Cultural Community Center

The intersection of South Sacramento Drive and West Douglas Blvd or West 15th Street, Chicago IL 60623

IMAGE: Direction sign in park leading visitors to the left the lagoons and field house (cultural community center) or to the right track, athletic fields and the flower hall and garden can be located.
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
AUDIO: Walking to Douglass Blvd

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

ABOUT:  Walking to Douglas Blvd. from the Cultural Community Center one will encounter a direction sign located next to the mini golf course that helps guide visitors along the 173 acre park that is surrounded by sound signals of traffic and commuters on S. Sacramento Dr. 

LISTEN: As one makes their way from the Cultural and Community Center along the sidewalk path, one will begin to hear skateboarders and children playing at a nearby park located across the street from S. Sacramento Dr. that leads you to historic Douglas Blvd. As one gets closer to S. Sacramento Dr. one may begin to hear the bustling traffic surrounding the park with distant traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods. Voices from the playground and commuters on the trail and bike lanes along with the continuous distant hum emanating from the neighboring medical district carry throughout the open and expansive landscape. 

For more information visit:

Historic Chicago Boulevards – Douglass Boulevard 

Intersection of South Albany Ave and West Douglass Drive

IMAGE:  Entrance to Douglass Boulevard is accessible from W Douglass Rd following the paved path from Douglass Anna and Frederick Park that crosses at South Sacramento Drive
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
AUDIO: Chicago Historic Boulevards

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

The PlantABOUT: When standing in front of the informational board for Historic Chicago Boulevards that sits in the center of the entrance one can learn about the extensive boulevards that fill the Chicago landscape. Douglas Boulevard initially was developed by Stephan A. Douglas who purchased a large amount of land to develop a residential community for the wealthy. While North Lawndale between ( year – year) remained a predominantly white community, it was during The Great Migration that brought Southern black communities to move North. After the 1919 Race Riots white residents moved from North Lawndale and the neighborhood became a predominantly black community that today is known as a model of black excellence and achievement.

LISTEN: When standing at the center of the entrance to Douglas Boulevard, one is surrounded by trees that create a soft sound when the wind moves through the leaves, providing a moment of rest and escape from the heat of the sun. In addition one is immersed in the growing hum of near and distant traffic driving along W Douglas Boulevard that run parallel from each other adjacent to S Albany Ave. As traffic comes to a stop, one can hear a variety of music playing from car radios. Along the Boulevard voices of commuters and neighbors spending time in the park with friends or enjoying a picnic carry throughout the long stretch that is the boulevard. 

For more information visit:

A Nation’s Image (One Family One World) Sculpture 

Intersection of South Kedzie Ave and West Douglas Boulevard

IMAGE: Sculpture titled A Nations Image also known as One Family One World that depicts two parents embracing a small child. The Sculpture is elevated and surrounded by a circular small garden full of flowers. 
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
AUDIO: A Nations Image

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

Davis ParkABOUT:  A Nations Image also known as One Family One World sculpture was made by local high school artist Sidney Murphy who won a local design competition part of his school in 1972 as part of an initiative to invest in local parks. 

LISTEN: During the summer months in Chicago, the drone of cicadas overpower the hum of distant and near traffic. As the boulevard is lined with trees, one may hear birds flying through the trees along with commuters passing by on bicycles/vehicles along with industrial noise from large trucks moving along the intersection of S Kedzie Ave and W Douglas Blvd. 

For more information visit:


Path accessible from South Sacramento Drive

IMAGE: Concrete benches facing community center mini golf course
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
AUDIO: Concrete Benches

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

ABOUT: Following the path back to Douglass Anna and Frederick Park, when on S Sacramento Dr, head towards W. Ogden Avenue where one will encounter the mini golf course, along the path sit several benches where one in particular displays the age of the park as the concrete benches have started to sink into the earth. 

LISTEN: While sitting or standing on the benches provided along the path, one can hear the crickets begin to chirp that adds to the ongoing cicada chorus, along with birds in flight eating insects buzzing around. With the open mini golf course field, sounds from the city fill the environment where the drone of the busy city never ceases to end. 

For more information visit:

Douglass Park Lily Pool

Garden, West Ogden Ave, Chicago IL 60623

IMAGE:  Douglass Park Lily Pool
Image Credit: Jeanette Dominguez
AUDIO: Douglass Park Lily Pool

Audio Credit: Jeanette Dominguez

ABOUT:  Douglass Park Lily Pool is a maintained and thriving environment with a variety of birds, ducks and insects that help sustain the Lily Pool and surrounding environment. The surrounding area features expansive open fields that invite community members to play soccer or a variety of lawn games. 

LISTEN: While the drone of the city traffic is constant with intermittent squeaking and high pitches brakes, natural sounds such as insects, the impact of wind moving through the willow trees and tall grass can allow the listener to tune in to one’s immediate environment and focus directly on the Lily Pool that offers a moment of escape from the busyness of the city. 

For more information visit:

• • •

At the end of the North Lawndale Sound Trail, take a few moments to relax before commuting to your next destination. Take a few deep breaths as you did before the soundwalk and think about what you heard and witnessed. Think about the sounds and sights of the neighborhood. What is unique about the sound of the North Lawndale neighborhood and how does sound reflect or give the neighborhood its character? If you have walked or if you will walk the Near West Side Sound Trail, does it or would you expect it to sound different? How is it different and why? How does economic investment or de-investment affect the sound of a neighborhood?

We welcome your thoughts and reflections on these questions and on your soundwalk experience. Share your thoughts HERE.

Share your recordings, short videos, photos, and written responses with our community archive HERE.