Posts Tagged 'Near North Side'

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chicago Under Destruction, Part Two

I recently ran a few demolition photos from the 1970s.  The response was surprisingly enthusiastic, so I’m posting some more today.

Central Station--1201 S. Michigan Ave.

Central Station—1201 S. Michigan Ave.

The Illinois Central railroad opened this magnificent structure just in time for the 1893 Columbian Exposition.  Most Chicagoans simply called it Twelfth Street Station.  It was torn down in 1974.

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Commercial block--northeast corner Lawrence-Central

Commercial block—northeast corner Lawrence-Central

You can still find many of these 1920s commercial blocks around the city.  At this site, a chain pharmacy replaced the independent “mom-and-pop” drug store in 1975.  You may interpret that fact any way you wish.

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Commercial block--northeast corner Grand-Rush

Commercial block—northeast corner Grand-Rush

By the time I took this picture in 1975, very little was left of the old building, which fronted on Michigan Avenue and once housed the Midwest offices of Time magazine.  A Marriott hotel occupies the property today.

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Then and Now, Ohio-State

1915--Ohio Street @ State, view east

1915–Ohio Street @ State Street, view east

2015--the same location

2015–the same location

The Near North Side was a quiet residential area a century ago, with Ohio Street a narrow thoroughfare that saw little traffic.  But the Tree Studios building was already in place on the northeast corner of State Street.  Further down the block, the still-new Medinah Temple is visible.

In our time, this once-sedate section of the Near North Side has become bustling River North.  High-rises have replaced many of the smaller structures.  The Tree Studios and Medinah Temple buildings remain, though now adapted for other uses.  Ohio Street itself has become a major arterial highway for eastbound traffic.

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