The Experimental Station at 6100 Blackstone Avenue has a knack for reinvention. From the very beginning, the Station has been marked by its ability to rise from the ashes. Artist Dan Peterman set up a studio there in 1987, in what was then a recycling center, and then purchased the building in 1994. He cleared out the mass of random recycling detritus, making space for artists and local businesses, including his own Blackstone Bicycle Works, an organization that has brought bikes and bike-repair skills to many University of Chicago students and Hyde Park and Woodlawn residents over the years.
But on April 25, 2001, a fire devastated the building, leaving only the brick exterior standing. Connie Spreen, Peterson’s wife and the station’s co-founder, recalls how on the day of the fire, a young boy stood looking at the wreckage. He said to her, “Connie, I’m sure glad that you and Dan aren’t the kind of people who pack up and leave.”
Before he spoke, Connie thought she was that kind of person.
She changed her mind and replied, “I’m glad I’m not.” And the couple began to clean up. Out of the smoking heap, Dan and Connie rebuilt their organization and renamed it the Experimental Station. (Read more by clicking link).