Then and Now, Chicago-Damen

1970–Chicago Avenue @ Damen Avenue, view east

2021–the same location

In 1970 there was talk that this particular area of the West Side was in decline. One proposed remedy was to bulldoze the tired commercial buildings lining both sides of Chicago Avenue, replacing them with “modern” stores fronted by suburban-style parking lots. The new John Hancock Building, a few miles to the east, symbolized a new era of construction.

Fortunately, those strip malls were never built. Today the old buildings along Chicago Avenue have been refurbished, and the neighborhood has rebounded. The Hancock is still visible in the distance, now joined by other tall buildings.

—30—

2 Responses to “Then and Now, Chicago-Damen”


  1. 1 Bruce Donald Ervin March 30, 2021 at 8:40 am

    At Chicago and Damen at least, the score is 1-0: Jane Jacobs defeats the city planners! Thanks again, J.R.

  2. 2 jayg April 9, 2021 at 1:49 am

    There was a music school on the Southwest corner behind where the photographer was standing. I forgot the name . They would come to schools and hand out miniature accordions and I think a some free lessons. After a few the would try to convince your parents that you were a prodigy and needed to move on to a full size squeeze box and of course paid lessons. I was grateful my parents recognized how untalented I was and the show did not go on.


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