Elizabeth G. Kuhn

McKinley Park, 1995

Perle cotton and embroidery floss, double-weave pick-up with supplementary weft

62" x 48"


In this weaving for the McKinley Park Library in Chicago, I have used images suggested by the history of the McKinley Park area in an attempt to portray the essence of the community, both past and present. Canal diggers and farmers -- represented by shovels and cabbages -- depict the earliest Caucasian settlers, and share the borders with race horses and steers, which illustrate horse racing and stockyards. The four corners of the weaving show organizations of importance in McKinley Park today: the American Legion, the McKinley Park Civic Association, the Boy Scouts, and the Girl Scouts. The border is itself bordered by railroad tracks in honor of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, which encouraged industrial and population growth.

Steel ingots, placed inside the border, stand for the steel mills, and for the manufacture of iron and steel products. The brick wall portrays the many brickyards which sprang up in response to the rebuilding of Chicago after the fire of 1871. Steaks and sausages represent meat packing and meat processing industries, while paper cups illustrate the manufacture of picnic supplies. Chewing gum, enjoyed world wide, has a plant in this area.

Of utmost importance to this community is its children, here pictured in typical childhood activities. Centered in the entire piece is a book, symbolizing both the education of the children and adults, and emphasizing the significance of the library and the importance of learning to the quality of life in any community.

McKinley Park was commissioned in 1995 by the City of Chicago for the McKinley Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library, where it is on permanent display at 1915 West 35th Street in Chicago, Illinois.