Then and Now, Irving Park-Narragansett

1932--Irving Park Road @ Narragansett, view west

1932–Irving Park Boulevard @ Narragansett Avenue, view west

2016--the same location

2016–the same location

For nearly a century, the property north and west of Irving Park-Narragansett was occupied by an asylum for the insane.  The institution was formally known as Chicago State Hospital, but most people simply referred to it by the name of the larger community area—Dunning.  In the 1932 photo, the gate to the hospital’s grounds is seen at right-center.  By that time the city has already grown out to the once-isolated  facility.

Chicago State Hospital closed in 1971, and the property was subdivided.  The hospital’s successor institution, Chicago-Read Mental Health Center operates a half-mile to the west, on the former site of the Cook County Poor Farm.



4 Responses to “Then and Now, Irving Park-Narragansett”

  1. 1 Deb October 27, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Why do you call Irving Park a “Boulevard?” When I lived in the neighborhood, it was Irving Park Road.

    • 2 J.R. Schmidt October 27, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      “Irving Park Boulevard” was the original name of the street, and the name when the first picture was snapped. During the 1930s the City of Chicago did a major reorganization of its street names, mostly eliminating names that were duplicated in different parts of the city—at one time, there were at least four different streets called “Lincoln.” Another part of the reform was reserving the designation “Boulevard” for Park District streets, where trucks were banned. So in 1937, Irving Park became a “Road.” Although there are still a few exceptions to these rules, the whole system is now more orderly.

  2. 3 SamanthaSunergy October 29, 2016 at 9:22 am

    It used to be a big joke, “They’re going to send you to Dunning”

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