One Mystery Solved!

Some months ago, I posted three Chicago pictures I took during the 1970s, which I could no longer identify.  Happily, I’ve been able to pinpoint the location of one of them.  The photos below are of the 6100-north block of Melvina Avenue, looking north from the intersection of Elston and Milwaukee Avenues.

1974

1974–Melvina Avenue @ Elston Avenue, view north

2017

2017–the same location

In the Chicago of my youth we had a name for vacant lots—the prairie.  The next photo  from further up the block shows the not-so-little houses that now occupy much of this particular prairie.

2017--no more "prairie"

2017–no more prairie

What finally convinced me that I’d found the right location was a telephone pole in the distance of the 1974 photo, center and slightly to the right.  That pole and the buildings behind it are still there today.

1974 background

1974–background close-up

2017--the same location

2017–still there!

Thinking back, it makes sense that I’d take a photo of this spot in 1974.  I was probably on my way to Superdawg, and spontaneously decided to snap a picture of a Chicago prairie—so I could remember what it looked like decades later.

—30—

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2 Responses to “One Mystery Solved!”


  1. 1 mkstichauf January 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

    John, Again, I absolutely love this site! When I was growing up and during the first 7 years of my life, I lived in an apartment at 6501 W. School St. Just like your 1974 photo above, I had a “prairie” at the end of my block, also. It was, if I remember correctly, 2 square blocks in total and located at School St. and, roughly, Roscoe. What was so great about the prairie being there was that we had a place to get into whatever little kids wanted to get into-LOL. But, my fondest memory is of my Father taking my brother and I to the prairie to fly our first kite! It’s also where my Father started hitting me my first fly balls to learn how to judge them!

  2. 2 Patricia Schmit January 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Ditto, mkstichauf! Our “prairie” was at Cottage Grove and 81st St. During WWII, it was a plot of victory gardens. After the war, it was a sledding spot, a baseball diamond, a place of forts, digs (maybe to China, do you think), and potato roasts. What do kids do now in that sad neighborhood?


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