Then and Now, Elm-Franklin

1928--Elm Street @ Franklin, view west

1929–Elm Street @ Franklin Street, view west

2016--the same location

2016–the same location

In 1929 Harvey Warren Zorbaugh wrote a classic sociological study of the Near North Side titled The Gold Coast and the Slum.  At the time the book was published, our site was in the “slum” part of the neighborhood.  The North Side ‘L’ curves around the buildings of St. Joseph Church here.  The $30,000 that the pastor negotiated for the property rights enabled him to liquidate the parish debt and purchase a pipe organ for the church.

Redevelopment of the area began in 1977, when seven acres of land were cleared for the Atrium Village complex.  Parts of Elm and Franklin streets were closed, and the photo location is now a parking lot.  The slum of Zorbaugh’s day is nothing more than a memory.

—30—

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1 Response to “Then and Now, Elm-Franklin”


  1. 1 Mike October 17, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    My father spent his formative years there, relocating there in the mid-’40s from a bit further south (Franklin/Grand).
    The memories of that all the family elders have/had of living there are definitely not gilded with the passage of time – quite the contrary.
    However, dad always made a point of visiting St. Joseph at least yearly, which is where he made his Communion and attended school until finances dictated that he transfer to Jenner.


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