Elgin is a fascinating place. Geographically, it straddles the Fox River. Economically, it straddles the poverty line (with a pocket of entrenched old money on the North end of town), and culturally it straddles no clear demarcating line whatsoever. There's been a huge influx of Hispanic culture in the past twenty years, and many of the section 8 tenants previously living in Chicago's housing projects were relocated here when places like Cabrini Green and Ida B. Wells were shut down. Combine these residents with the old Republican vanguard that begins to crop up this far from Chicago proper, sprinkle in a riverboat casino and a mental health facility that intakes and then discharges patients from all over Illinois, and Elgin becomes one of the single most interesting places to explore in all of Illinois.
I've decided to do a bit of a pictorial profile of this festering gem of the Fox River Valley, and the first installment is below. My girlfriend Tanya bought tickets to a haunted bus tour of Elgin for my birthday, and one of the stops was the 'abandoned cemetery' behind the state mental hospital. We went off in search of this incredibly creepy place to take some photos in proper daylight, and had a wonderful time in wonderful light searching for and eventually making images of the cemetery and surrounding wilderness. The best part is, this site is five minutes off one of the main thoroughfares in Elgin, and simultaneously, an entire world away from civilization one of many charming contradictions to be explored indefinitely as this series continues. Enjoy!