1986: Chicago’s ‘Miracle on Maypole Street’

“The third annual Jimmy Carter Work Camp is now but a memory. Volunteers building the four-unit townhouse complex have moved out of the Guyon Apartments in Chicago, a busload of workers has returned to Georgia, other individuals have made their way back to their homes across the country and in Canada …

“As was the case at the two previous work camps, the Carters were the focus of much media attention. Although they were experiencing jet lag after a 22-hour flight from Zimbabwe, they worked long and productive hours, challenging the rest of us to keep up and keep going. Our respect for their spirit, commitment and devotion grew throughout the week. They didn’t even desert us to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary!

“When former first families come to town, it’s usually to promote a book or to play golf. They stay in the presidential suite at a top-notch hotel. As the Milwaukee Journal editorialized, ‘It’s hard to picture any former first couple but Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter passing up a posh suite, as they did, for a dingy $3-a-day hotel room with linoleum on the floor and an orange crate for an end table.’”

— Habitat World, September 1986