Chicago’s Near West Side experienced explosive growth after the Great Fire of 1871. By the early 20th Century it was the city’s most densely-populated area. As the 1904 picture shows, 12th Street had become a major commercial artery. Electric streetcars had recently replaced horsecars, running all the way out to 40th Avenue (Pulaski Road).
Today 12th Street is Roosevelt Road. Many of the older buildings along this strip are gone, and to the east, the Illinois Medical District continues to expand. Gentrification is underway.