Then and Now, Central-Northwest Highway

1973--Central Avenue @ Northwest Highway, view north

1973–Central Avenue @ Northwest Highway, view north

2015--the same location

2015–the same location

The older photo shows Central Avenue being rebuilt, from the ground up.  Notice the “To Illinois-194” sign on the right, directing traffic to the Kennedy Expressway.  Interstate-90 was originally routed west out of Chicago via the Congress (Eisenhower) Expressway, so the Kennedy west of the Edens junction was designated as Illinois-194.

This site has long been a transportation hub.  Four major streets converged here—Central, Foster, Milwaukee, Northwest Highway—as well as the Chicago & North Western Railroad, and more recently, the Kennedy Expressway.  Why this area never developed into a major commercial district is a worthwhile subject for a scholarly monograph.



4 Responses to “Then and Now, Central-Northwest Highway”

  1. 1 Andrew October 28, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I think you answered your own question about why the area never developed into a major commercial district: two diagonal streets converging with two cross streets, plus a major bus transportation hub nearby means that traffic is always a problem…

    • 2 J.R. Schmidt October 30, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      I’m don’t know if heavy traffic scares away development, or if heavy traffic follows development. I do know that heavy traffic has never been a problem around this locale. I’m only partly joking when I say that a scholarly study might be in order—it’s certainly a more useful subject than much of the academic work going on today.

  2. 3 Brian October 30, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Gas 89 cent a gallon !!!

    • 4 J.R. Schmidt October 30, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      The “89 cents” sign in the Standard station is for a car wash, with a purchase of 7 gallons of gas. When I took the picture in the spring of 1973, the cost of a gallon of gas was—wait for it—36 cents!

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