Archive for the 'CHICAGO’S CHANGING SCENE' Category

Then and Now, 63rd-Western

1978–63rd Street @ Western Avenue, view west

2017–the same location

During the 1920s, the intersection of Western Avenue and 63rd Street was where the city’s longest north-south street met the city’s longest east-west street.   A shopping district developed, and most of the buildings in the 1978 picture date from that time.  The southwest corner features an office of the Household Finance loan company, whose jingle advised you to “never borrow money needlessly.”

Forty years later, most of the buildings remain, though with different tenants.  The southwest corner is now occupied by a parking with a decorative gateway to the Marquette Park neighborhood.  And for many years now, annexations around O’Hare Airport have made Irving Park Road the city’s longest east-west street.



Then and Now, Milwaukee-Pulaski

154-1941-Milwaukee @ Pulaski

1941–Milwaukee Avenue @ Pulaski Road, view southeast


2017–the same location

Pulaski Road was originally called Crawford Avenue.  In 1941 the intersection with Milwaukee Avenue featured two buildings combining the street names MILwaukee and CrawFORD.  The Milford Recreation Building, featuring ground-floor stores and second-floor bowling alleys, is seen on the left side of the 1941 photo.  Across Pulaski, on the same side of Milwaukee, is the Milford Theater Building.

In our time both Milford buildings are gone.  Neither of the strip malls that replaced them is named Milski.



Then and Now, Roosevelt-Wabash

1972–Roosevelt Road @ Wabash Avenue, view west

2017–the same location

In 1972 service had been restored to this section of the South Side ‘L’ after a hiatus of more than twenty years.  The old Roosevelt Road ‘L’ station had been removed in the meantime.  Trolley buses were in their final months on the #12-Roosevelt line.  The neighborhood was run down and lightly-populated.

Today the South Loop has been revived.  The ‘L’ line once again has a Roosevelt Road station, now with a direct link to the subway station a half-block away.  Just to the west, the long Roosevelt viaduct has been truncated, so that it no longer passes over State Street.


Then and Now, Halsted-26th

1955--Halsted Street @ 26th Street, view south

1955–Halsted Street @ 26th Street, view south

2015--the same location

2017–the same location

In 1955 the streetcars had been gone from Halsted Street for two years.  Yet the overhead wires remained, for a planned conversion to trolley buses that never took place.  Why the street hadn’t yet been repaved is anybody’s guess.  Perhaps the older photo dates from early in the year, before local resident Richard J. Daley took office as mayor.

Today much of Bridgeport has seen rehabbing and new construction.  A block south and on the right, the old Stearns Quarry has been transformed into lovely Palmisano Park.



Then and Now, Grand-Armitage

1929–Grand Avenue @ Armitage Avenue, view east

2017–the same location

We are at Leclaire Avenue, 5100 west.  Here Grand Avenue swings off to the right to continue its eastward journey.  If you continued traveling straight east through the intersection, you’d now be on Armitage Avenue.  When pioneer George Merrill built a tavern here around 1850, the junction became known as Whiskey Point.

Once again, in our era, the streetcars are gone, the street paving and street lighting have been improved, and trees decorate the parkways.  Make your own call on whether a donut/ice cream shop is an improvement on a bank.



Then and Now, Madison-Canal

1954--Madison Street @ Canal, view west

1954–Madison Street @ Canal Street, view west

2016--the same location

2017–the same location

When the Chicago & North Western Railway’s new terminal opened in 1911, it was the second-largest train station in the country, trailing only Boston’s South Station.  A skybridge over Canal Street later linked the station with the new Chicago Daily News Building.  Though there were plenty of loftier ‘L’ stations around the city, this child of the 1950s always got a thrill crossing a busy downtown street on the C&NW skybridge.

The C&NW terminal was torn down in 1984, and the Ogilvie Transportation Center now occupies the site.  The onetime Chicago Daily News Building was threatened by the wrecking ball for a time, but still survives as Two North Riverside Plaza.  And the new skybridge is even more fun than the old one.


Then and Now, Baltimore-133rd

1900--Baltimore Avenue @ 133rd Street, view north

1900–Baltimore Avenue @ 133rd Street, view north

2016--the same location

2017–the same location

In 1883 Adolph Hegewisch opened a factory near the rail yards at 135th Street and Brandon Avenue.  Sub-dividers soon followed.  By 1900 the neighborhood had been annexed by Chicago, and Baltimore Avenue had developed a fledgling commercial strip.

In our time Mr. H’s factory is gone, but Chicago’s most remote community proudly bears his name.  Many of the old buildings still stand along Baltimore Avenue.  Trees, vehicular and pedestrian street lights, decorative signs, and repaving are features of a recent spruce-up.