Then and Now, Halsted-42nd

1915–Halsted Street @ 42nd Street, view north
2022–the same location

In 1915 this stretch of Halsted Street was dominated by the Union Stock Yards, on the west side of the street.  Among the businesses on the east side of Halsted was the ornate building up the block at #4183—the saloon/bowling alley/Turkish bath/gambling hall owned by Big Jim O’Leary, son of the Mrs. O’ Leary of Chicago Fire fame.

Today the Yards are gone.  The most notable landmark in the contemporary photo is the the Stock Yards Bank, modeled after Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.  And though Big Jim’s “resort” is gone, his onetime mansion still stands a little over a mile south of here, at 726 West Garfield Boulevard.

For more on Big Jim O’Leary, his businesses and his mansion, see my book HIDDEN CHICAGO LANDMARKS.  Available at bookstores or on Amazon.

11 Responses to “Then and Now, Halsted-42nd”


  1. 1 Kyle L April 1, 2022 at 7:30 am

    “Hidden Chicago Landmarks” is somewhere on my bookshelf, but did “Big Jim” do anything to encourage the fable of his mother?

    Also, did the services at Big Jim’s go beyond just steam room and gambling? Was he competing against propietors in his mother’s old Levee neighborhood?

    • 2 J.R. Schmidt April 1, 2022 at 7:46 am

      The O’Leary family didn’t like the legend that grew up around Mom and her cow. And if the “services” you’re talking about refer to prostitution, I’ve never read anything suggesting that Big Jim was in that business.
      –JRS

  2. 3 Garry April 1, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    How could you miss the long gone Stockyards branch of the L?

    • 4 J.R. Schmidt April 1, 2022 at 10:25 pm

      I already ran a post featuring the Stock Yards ‘L’ branch. Click on the “Canaryville” tag, and scroll down to “Then and Now, Wallace-40th Place.”
      –JRS

  3. 5 Melvin April 2, 2022 at 10:02 am

    Big Jim’s mansion is in rough shape these days, but the photos are pretty interesting: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/726-W-Garfield-Blvd-Chicago-IL-60609/87720902_zpid/

    • 6 J.R. Schmidt April 2, 2022 at 10:14 am

      Thanks for sharing the link. When I took the exterior photo for my book in 2019, I noticed a step-ladder in a second floor widow. Evidently the interior work is taking a long time.
      –JRS


  1. 1 The Home Of The Son of the Woman Whose Cow Burned Down Chicago? Trackback on April 11, 2022 at 4:30 am

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