Then and Now, Irving Park-Elston

1948--Irving Park Road @ Elston, view east

1948–Irving Park Road @ Elston Avenue, view east

2013--the same location

2013–the same location

In 1948, when the Northwest Side didn’t have ‘L’ service, Elston Avenue was a major streetcar transfer point for Chicagoans wishing to go downtown.  The Elston car line also served the many factories along the north branch of the river.  In addition, CTA used Elston to move trolley buses to the bus barn at Addison Street, as evidenced by the double overhead wires.

Today the streetcars on Irving Park have been replaced by buses, and Elston no longer has CTA service.  But Irving Park now has some dandy landscaping in its median.  And just east of the intersection, there’s another improvement that wasn’t there 65 years ago–a McDonald’s.

—30—

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8 Responses to “Then and Now, Irving Park-Elston”


  1. 1 Jack F November 14, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Irving Park now has some dandy landscaping in its median, however with such a wide thoroughfare running “east & west”, this would be a perfect street to add light-rail for speedy passenger movement.

    • 2 J.R. Schmidt November 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

      This could work. Unfortunately, Irving Park narrows east of Ashland.
      –JRS

    • 3 Kyle L November 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      The Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2011 report on Bus Rapid Transit identified Irving Park as a potential BRT line from Ashland to Austin. After the Ashland BRT gets going it will be interesting to see if other arterial streets (like Irving Park) will have people saying “Yes In My Back Yard!”

      • 4 Jack F November 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

        BRT’s are so 2nd or 3rd class when compared to light rail. I wonder why Chicago has such a love affair with the bus.
        It’s a shame Chicago is stooping so low when all the major cities in the US and throughout the world are choosing light rail to improve their transportation networks.

      • 5 J.R. Schmidt November 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        I agree with Jack F–LRV would be better than buses. Unfortunately, the city wants to do things on the cheap. Consider how bike lanes were established–paint a few lines on the street and call it a bike lane. I’m not convinced that all these bike lanes are a good idea. But if you’re going to do bike lanes, do them right, with proper infrastructure, the way it’s done in some other cities.
        –JRS

  2. 6 Alzo November 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Dozens of buses travel up and down Elston every day (to the yard up by Bryn Mawr), but you can’t catch one of them.

  3. 7 Ralph October 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Back in the mid 1980’s, there was two nice restaurants at this location. Lancer’s was on the southwest side of Irving Park Road, and there was a Mexican Restaurant where the Heat/Cool store is now.

  4. 8 Maleah Jo Dessent September 10, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Anyone have any pics or info on the old Banker’s life file warehouse/Progress Laundry company 4677 N Elston?


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