Archive for the 'CHICAGO’S CHANGING SCENE' Category

Then and Now, 112th-Avenue H

1937–112th Boulevard @ Avenue H, view west

2018–the same location

In 1937 this was 112th Boulevard, the last link in the chain of Park District boulevards that stretched from Jeffery-93rd via 93rd-Escanaba-100th-Anthony-Avenue L-112th to Eggers Woods at the state line.  Though settlement here was still sparse, there were grand plans for the future.

Today the East Side community is residentially mature.  The streets in the boulevard chain have lost their special designation, including what is now called 112th Street But except for parts of Escanaba, they all remain as wide as any arterial through street.

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Then and Now, Central-Pensacola

1972–Central Avenue @ Pensacola Avenue, view north

2018–the same location

We are one short block south of Montrose Avenue.  In 1972, with  regular trolley bus service ended on Central Avenue, the vehicle in the older photo is on its way from the Elston-Armstrong barn to begin its run on the Irving Park Road line.  This is my old neighborhood, and I remember when the Armanetti liquor store in the 1972 photo had been a National grocery store.

In 2018 the trolley buses are gone from Chicago.  So are the Nationals and most of the Armanettis.  Today a Walgreen’s complex occupies the entire block.

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Then and Now, 23rd-Halsted

1908–23rd Street @ Halsted Street, view west

2018–the same location

in 1908 several competing companies operated public transit in Chicago.  The older photo shows a transfer point between two systems at 23rd Street (then known as O’Neil Street).  Though cable cars no longer ran in the city, the cable slot between the tracks is still visible.

The city’s surface transit companies were consolidated in 1914.  The Halsted Street car line was through-routed, eliminating this transfer point.  Today 23rd Street has been vacated, and the properties here completely transformed.

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Then and Now, 63rd Place-Major

1951–63rd Place @ Major Avenue, view west

2018–the same location

In 1951 streetcars operated on 63rd Street as far west as Central Avenue.  The cars then jogged a short block south to 63rd Place, before continuing west one mile to a terminal at Narragansett Avenue.  The older photo shows their private right-of-way on 63rd Place.

Buses replaced streetcars on the 63rd Street line in 1953.  Today those buses stay on 63rd Street, while the median strip of 63rd Place features 60-year-old trees.  The vacant lots are now filled with ranch homes, too.

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Then and Now, Milwaukee-Belmont

1948–Milwaukee Avenue @ Belmont Avenue, view northwest

2018–the same location

By 1948 the Avondale community was long-settled and residentially mature.  Still, you could find the occasional vacant lot along one of the ribbon commercial strips.  The billboard on the right side of the older photo carries an advertisement for Northwest National Bank, a little over a mile northwest on  Milwaukee Avenue.

Today Northwest National Bank is only a memory, having been bought out by Bank of America.  However, the bank billboard of 1948 has been replaced by an actual financial institution—a branch of PNC Bank.  Just up the block, the used car lot and other buildings have given way to the Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School.

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Then and Now, 26th-Pulaski

1928-26th Street @ Crawford Avenue (Pulaski Road), view east

2018–the same location

Ninety years ago, this neighborhood centering around West 26th Street was known as South Lawndale.  The population was mostly Czech and Polish.  Streetcars ran on the streets, autos were boxy and black, the cross-street was called Crawford Avenue.

Today most of the old buildings are still there, with varying degrees of remodeling.  The area is now usually referred to as Little Village.  The residents are largely Mexican.  No streetcars, better autos, “Pulaski Road” instead of “Crawford Avenue.”  What will be the changes here in 2108?

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Then and Now, Western-116th

1914--Western Avenue @ 116th Street, view north

1914–Western Avenue @ 116th Street, view north

2015--the same location

2018–the same location

In 1914 Chicago annexed the village of Morgan Park.  Western Avenue here was still a dirt road.  Contemporary maps indicate the west side of Western was part of Mount Hope Cemetery.

Today the area is fully developed.  Mount Hope Cemetery is still in business, but several blocks to the west.  The cemetery sold off some of its unused land, and the blocks bordering Western are now a residential community called Beverly Woods.

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