Posts Tagged 'Near North Side'

Then and Now, Halsted-Evergreen

1972–Halsted Street @ Evergreen Avenue, view north

2018–the same location

In 1972 this stretch of Halsted Street, between Division and North, was an industrial backwater.  Except for its proximity to downtown, there wasn’t much to recommend it.  Ten years after Sandburg Village opened, speculators were still waiting for development to move west.

Today the neighborhood has gentrified.  Halsted Street even has bike lanes.  Welcome to the 21st Century!



Then and Now, Huron-Michigan

1976–Huron Street @ Michigan Avenue, view west


2017–the same location

Four decades ago, the neighborhood just west of the Mag Mile was still mostly low-rise.  The wall along the left side of the older picture belongs to a Woolworth’s five-and-ten store, and across Huron is a city-owned parking garage.  St. James Episcopal Cathedral towers over the scene.

Today St. James looks like a toy among the surrounding skyscrapers.  The Omni Chicago Hotel building has replaced the Woolworth’s.  And with the municipal garage gone, cheap parking is no longer available.


Then and Now, Dearborn-Hubbard

1953–Dearborn Street @ Hubbard Street, view south

2017–the same location

Dearborn Street just north of the river was home to factories and warehouses in 1953.   The gabled Chicago Varnish Company building is visible down the block at Kinzie Street, while beyond it is the narrow 1870s bridge over the river.  And in 1953 Chicagoans were still getting used to one-way streets, as evidenced by the car parked facing the wrong way.

The 1960s brought a new Dearborn Street Bridge, the new Marina City complex, and the beginning of transformation for this area.  Most of the old industrial buildings are gone or have been converted to other use—the onetime varnish factory now houses Harry Caray’s Steakhouse.  Though the neighborhood has definitely improved, I do miss that funky “DO NOT ENTER” sign hanging over the street on the light pole.


Then and Now, Michigan-Ohio

1928--Michigan Avenue @ Ohio Street, view north

1923–Michigan Avenue @ Ohio Street, view north

2017--the same location

2017–the same location

With the opening of the Michigan Avenue Bridge in 1921, the avenue north of the river began to be transformed.  Marshall & Fox’s Lake Shore Trust and Savings Bank, on the northeast corner of Michigan and Ohio, has just been completed in the 1923 picture.  Most of the buildings here are still small, and the Water Tower is clearly visible in the distance.

Today’s Michigan Avenue has become the Magnificent Mile.  Now tall buildings dwarf the Water Tower.  That landmark bank building still stands at Ohio Street, though it has been converted to retail use.



Then and Now, Elm-Franklin

1928--Elm Street @ Franklin, view west

1929–Elm Street @ Franklin Street, view west

2016--the same location

2016–the same location

In 1929 Harvey Warren Zorbaugh wrote a classic sociological study of the Near North Side titled The Gold Coast and the Slum.  At the time the book was published, our site was in the “slum” part of the neighborhood.  The North Side ‘L’ curves around the buildings of St. Joseph Church here.  The $30,000 that the pastor negotiated for the property rights enabled him to liquidate the parish debt and purchase a pipe organ for the church.

Redevelopment of the area began in 1977, when seven acres of land were cleared for the Atrium Village complex.  Parts of Elm and Franklin streets were closed, and the photo location is now a parking lot.  The slum of Zorbaugh’s day is nothing more than a memory.


Then and Now, Grand-Franklin

1968--Grand Avenue @ Franklin, view west

1968–Grand Avenue @ Franklin Street, view west

2014--the same location

2016–the same location

In 1968 this part of the Near North Side was a rundown area of factories and warehouses, as it had been since the early days of the twentieth century.  Electric trolley buses still ran on Grand Avenue, and there was still an ‘L’ station at Grand and Franklin.

Today, property values in this part of the city have reached a level beyond even the wildest forecasts of 1968.  Some of the old buildings have been repurposed, like the warehouse on the far side of the ‘L’ tracks.  However, there’s been plenty of new construction, including a number of high-rises.   There’s even talk of bringing back the ‘L’ station.


Then and Now, Division-Crosby

1953--Division Street @ Crosby, view west

1953–Division Street @ Crosby Street, view west

2015--the same location

2016–the same location

Our location is just east of Halsted Street.  In 1953 Ogden Avenue crossed through the area on a viaduct.  The neighborhood was mostly industrial then.  Low-rise public housing was already in place to the south, and construction of high-rises was about to begin to the north—the result would be the Cabrini-Green Homes.

The Ogden Avenue viaduct was torn down during the 1990s.  More recently, the high-rises of Cabrini-Green have been torn down.  The area has been gentrifying.