EvanstonCity of Evanston

Aural Neighborhoods
Southeast Evanston Sound Trail

2.5 miles, about one hour and 15 minutes

IMAGE: Evanston and the lakefront looking south
Image Credit: Photo courtesy of the City of Evanston

LISTEN to the complete Southeast Evanston Sound Trail

Audio Credit: Allen Moore

Directions to Southeast Evanston and Route Overview

Take the CTA (Red to Purple Lines) to the Evanston South Blvd stop, or if you are driving, park on South Boulevard east of Chicago Avenue. Do not park in the parking lot just north of the cemetery, and pay attention to the paid parking signs closer to Chicago Ave.


Southeast Evanston Sound Trail Route
The Southeast Evanston sound trail begins with a stroll through the Calvary Cemetery (301 Chicago Ave, between Chicago Ave, Sheridan, and South Blvd) and a stop at the South Boulevard Station of the CTA Purple Line (601 South Boulevard). From the northwest corner of South and Chicago Avenue, the trail makes a circuitous route north along the west side of the tracks (Callan then Custer Avenues) to Main Street. From the corner of Main and Custer, the trail heads east toward the lakefront and Clark Square Park. After walking along the lake, follow Sheridan south to Keeney Street, along or through Baker Park, and head south on Forest Ave to South Blvd. If you took the CTA, proceed west on the north side of South Boulevard. If you are parked on the south side of the street, there is a crossing at Forest.

Let’s Get Started – Breathing Exercise

When you get to the cemetery, 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. Breath in through your nose for five counts, hold it for five counts, and breath out of your mouth 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 from you, ones you can barely hear. Are these sounds constant or intermittent? 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 Southeast Evanston 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

Calvary Catholic Cemetery

301 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
(south of South Blvd, between Sheridan Road and Chicago)

IMAGE: Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Chicago Gate
Image Credit: Christophe Preissing

Audio Credit: Allen Moore

Calvery CemeteryConsecrated in 1859, Calvary is the oldest cemetery established by the Archdiocese of Chicago. As the popular Lincoln Park Cemetery began to fill up in the 1850s, the Roman Catholic Church began looking for new grave space. They ended up buying a 40-acre plot from John O’Leary in what was then Ridgeville, then transferred many Chicago residents’ remains to Calvary. Located on the border between Chicago and Evanston, this long, narrow cemetery stretches between Chicago Avenue (a continuation of Clark Street) and Sheridan Road. The two entrance gates—designed by James J. Egan, an architect who helped rebuild Chicago after the great fire of 1871—are connected by a wide road. A lagoon that once ran through the cemetery was filled in and many trees were lost to Dutch Elm Disease in the 1960s.

Calvary is the final resting place for many of Chicago’s Irish politicians, including mayors George Dunne, John Patrick Hopkins, William Emmett Dever, Edward Joseph Kelly, Martin H. Kennelly, and Chicago’s first female mayor, Jane Byrne. Other luminaries buried in Calvary include Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, Chicago Blackhawks owner Frederic McLaughlin, lumber magnate Edward Hines, publishers John F. Cuneo, Sr. and Frank C. Cuneo, Hannah and Hogg of distillery fame, meat packer Patrick Cudahy, the great Irish American writer James Thomas Farrell, and some of Evanston’s founders, including Philip McGregor Rogers and Patrick Leonard Touhy.

Among the more elusive dead who inhabit the area is a World War II-era pilot known only as “Seaweed Charlie.” Local legend has it that Charlie crashed into Lake Michigan during a training exercise and drowned. He is fabled to crawl out of the lake at night, dripping wet and covered in seaweed, cross Sheridan Road, and disappear as he enters the cemetery.

For more information visit:
Daily Northwestern – https://dailynorthwestern.com/2004/05/06/archive-manual/waking-the-dead/
Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society’s HistoryWiki –

Burial Sites of Chicago’s Mayors in Calvary Cemetery

John Patrick Hopkins (1893-1895): Section U, Block 35, Lot 1 to 6
Edward Fitzsimmons Dunne (1905-1907): Section V, Block 27, Lot 37, 39
William Emmett Dever (1923-1926): Section Y, Block 15, Lot N2
Edward Joseph Kelly (1933-1947): Edward J. Kelly Mausoleum, Lot 41, Block 1, Section I
Martin H. Kennelly (1947-1955): Section U, Block 1, Lot 13
Jane Byrne (1979-1983): Section I, Block 3, Lot 9, Grave 7

LISTEN for the wind in the trees, the crunch of the October leaves under your feet, the sounds of crickets and cicadas, and the CTA and Metra trains in the distance. In the afternoon, you might even hear the sound of or spot several coyotes who have taken up residence in the cemetery during the daytime.

South Boulevard Station

601 South Blvd, Evanston, IL 60202
(NW corner of South Blvd and Chicago Ave)

IMAGE: South Blvd Station
Image Credit: Christophe Preissing

Audio Credit: Allen Moore

South Blvd StationSouth Boulevard (South Blvd) is the first station within Evanston on the CTA’s Purple Line (originally the Evanston Line). It replaced the old Calvary Cemetery station in 1931—in operation since the Evanston Line was created in 1908—as the residential area to the north of the cemetery grew. Designed by Arthur U. Gerber, who also designed the very similar Sheridan station on the Red line, this depot—with its unusually narrow central platform—combines elements of Doric and Beaux Arts designs executed in Terra Cotta. Trademark Gerber details include the laurel-framed cartouches, a pair of Greek Revival Doric columns, globed lights and the words “Rapid Transit” above the door in Terra Cotta. The interior is executed in smooth stone with a spacious fare control area, large enough for retail space, but not partitioned off for use in that capacity. It remains historically intact, with its original terrazzo floors, wood moldings, and decorative agent’s booth.

For more information visit:

LISTEN for the sound of the trains approaching and departing the station. The thumping, roaring, rumbling and squealing noises, each have their own distinctive frequency and amplitude, and are the result of braking, accelerating, flat spots on the wheels, and the vibrations of the 90-year-old platform. See if you can hear the doors opening, the “ding-dong” of the bells, and the voice announcing the station and “doors closing”. Why does the platform sound different when listening on the sidewalk outside the station and just inside the station.

Jennifer Morris Park

(SE corner of Custer and Washington)

IMAGE: Jennifer Morris Park looking north
Image Credit: Christophe Preissing

Audio Credit: Christophe Preissing

Morris ParkThis little park alongside the metra tracks at the corner of Custer and Washington is a memorial to Jennifer Morris, a well-known Evanston businesswoman who died in June 1989 after she was struck by a car. She was a vibrant part of the neighborhood, a prolific gardener, and a tireless advocate for South Evanston. One of the artists and antique dealers who founded the Custer Street Festival of the Arts, Morris turned her attention to this very park site—then a vacant lot with only a pile of sand and dirt and weeds everywhere. She worked to have the land donated to the City of Evanston. The City cleaned it up, planted trees, and put in a pathway, a significant improvement to the neighborhood.

(from The Evanston Roundtable, June 26, 2019 and the FaceBook page, The Main-Dempster Mile)

Have a seat on the bench, and LISTEN for the October wind in the trees, birds and cicadas, and the sounds of the neighborhood.

Chicago Main Newsstand

860 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
(SW corner of Main and Chicago)

IMAGE: Chicago Main Newsstand from the NE corner of Chicago and Main
Image Credit: Christophe Preissing

Audio Credit: Allen Moore

Chicago Main NewsstandThe history of the Newsstand located at the SW corner of Chicago and Main Streets dates to the 1930s when it served as a newsstand, a storm shelter, and a hangout for cops and late-night characters. The same family owned and operated the business from its opening until 1993, but the CTA owned the land and the City of Evanston owned the building itself. When the stand’s rent increased, the original owners closed the shop down and the building stood vacant for eight years, at one time almost a park, almost a coffeehouse.

The City of Evanston eventually bought the property, and City Newsstand owner, Joe Angelastri, brought in Evanston architect Dave Forte to bring the old brick newsstand into the 21st century. After taking the original structure down to just 2 walls and the foundation, a new steel support structure was erected, a glass and aluminum storefront was installed, a higher roof was implemented to allow more natural light in through high windows on the north wall. Another accomplishment was acquiring the original neon sign, having it refurbished and re-hung on a newly erected standard.

For more information visit:

LISTEN to the cars, trains, and pedestrians at this busy intersection, and be careful when crossing the street. If you are at the Newsstand on the hour, you may hear the bells of St Luke’s Episcopal Church located just north of Main Street on Hinman Ave.

Clark Square Park

(between Sheridan Road and Kedzie Street)

IMAGE: Rocks along the Lakefront Shore, Clark Square Park
Image Credit: Christophe Preissing

Audio Credit: Christophe Preissing

Clark Square ParkSoutheastern Evanston’s Clark Square Park lies between the lakefront and Sheridan Road. Though it doesn’t have a beach, Clark Square Park offers lots of green space and breathtaking views of the Lake Michigan and Chicago’s loop. Acting as a buffer between the lake and nearby residential homes, the park also features a path, picnic tables, and enough room to either play frisbee or just relax in a chair and read a book.

Walk along the perimeter of the park and LISTEN for the sound of the waves hitting the giant boulders and the birds along the lakefront. Sit on the bench at the north end of the park and listen for the softer sound of the water lapping the shoreline. Walking along the rocks you can get breathtaking views of the lake and Chicago skyline. If it is windy the traffic noise from Sheridan will disappear in the sound of the water, the wind in the trees, and the rustle of the leaves among your feet.

• • •

At the end of the Southeast Evanston sound trail, take a few moments to relax before getting back in your car and driving away. Take a few deep breaths as you did before the soundwalk and think about what you have heard and witnessed. Think about the sounds and sights of the neighborhood. What is unique about the sound of the Southeast Evanston neighborhood and how does sound reflect or give the neighborhood its character? If you have walked or if you will walk the Auburn Gresham 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. If you would like to share them with us and with others, you may comment below or on the Aural Neighborhoods blog page. If you would like to share audio, video, or still images from your soundwalk, please contact us.