Posts Tagged 'South Side'

Then and Now, Prairie-32nd

1959--Prairie Avenue @ 32nd Street, view north

1959–Prairie Avenue @ 32nd Street, view north

2017--the same location

2017–the same location

Starting in the late 1950s, great chunks of the Douglas Community Area were cleared for new housing and institutional use.  A few blocks of 19th Century row houses between 31st and 35th Streets were left untouched, and soon became known as The Gap.

In our time the vintage row houses here have been rehabilitated, and new construction fills the vacant lots.  The Gap is now an official Chicago landmark, the Calumet-Giles-Prairie District.

—30—

Then and Now, Jefferson-14th

1937–Jefferson Street @ 14th Street, view north

2017–the same location

In 1937 the neighborhood around Jefferson and 14th Streets was mostly tired commercial buildings.  Here and there, you might spot an ancient frame cottage—though the Great Fire of 1871 started a few blocks to the north, the flames did not touch this area.  Public transit was provided by the 14th-16th streetcar line.

In 2017 every building in the older photo is gone.  So is 14th Street, with the UPS facility sprawling over its onetime site.  And if you’ve compared as many “then and now” photos as I have, you’ll notice that Chicago streets have a lot more trees today than they did years ago.

 —30—

Then and Now, 111th-Morgan

1943--111th Street @ Morgan Street, view east

1943–111th Street @ Morgan Street, view east

2017–the same location

In 1943 the area around 111th and Morgan Streets had a few small cottages, but was mostly vacant.  Low population density meant low demand for public transit.  Except for the passing siding in the photo, the local streetcar line was single track.

What a difference 74 years makes!  Repave the street, put in some sidewalks, add street lights, and plant a few trees.  And while you’re at it, cut an alley through just beyond the fire plug.  Now this stretch of 111th Street looks pleasantly settled.

—30—

Then and Now, Wentworth-Cermak

1959--Wentworth Avenue @ Cermak Road, view south

1959–Wentworth Avenue @ Cermak Road, view south

2017--the same location

2017–the same location

Chicago’s earliest Chinese settlement was on the few blocks of Clark Street just south of Van Buren.  In 1912 escalating rents and ethnic discrimination prompted the beginning of a general exodus to the neighborhood around Wentworth Avenue and 22nd Street (Cermak Road).  By the time the older photo was taken, the Chinese community was already well-established there.

Today most of the buildings in the 1959 photo remain.  The most notable change is the Chinatown Gate.  Sadly, the Dragon Cue pool room—on the north side of Cermak—is long gone.

—30—

Then and Now, 115th-Michigan

1895–115th Street @ Michigan Avenue, view east

2017–the same location

In 1880 George Pullman began building railroad sleeper cars in a plant at 111th Street and Cottage Grove  Avenue.  By 1895 an independent settlement had developed to the west, partially populated by Pullman workers who didn’t want to live in the boss’s company town.  Michigan Avenue, running along the top of a glacial ridge, was the main business thoroughfare.

The Pullman company’s car-building business went into a long decline before finally closing during the 1980s.  Meanwhile, the surrounding area went into a similar decline.  Now the designation of the Pullman National Historic Park has brought hope of revitalization.

—30—

 

Then and Now, Indiana-33rd

1912--Indiana Avenue @ 33rd Boulevard, view north

1912–Indiana Avenue @ 33rd Boulevard, view north

2017--the same location

2017–the same location

Located a block apart, Indiana Avenue and Michigan Avenue have long been paired.  Michigan was a Park District boulevard, while Indiana carried commercial traffic, including a streetcar line.  At this location, instead of plain old 33rd Street, we have 33rd Boulevard—a Park District thoroughfare linking Michigan with South Park Way (King Drive).

Today Indiana and Michigan Avenues continued to be paired, as complementary one-way streets.  Meanwhile, most of the buildings in the older photo have been replaced by components of the expanding Illinois Institute of Technology campus.

—30—

Then and Now, 103rd-Michigan

1940--103rd Street @ Michigan Avenue, view east

1940–103rd Street @ Michigan Avenue, view east

2016--the same location

2016–the same location

In 1848 Dutch farmers established Roseland’s first permanent settlement, along what’s now the Michigan Avenue ridge.  By 1940 much of the area was built up.  However, aside from a few older homes, this particular stretch of 103rd Street remained vacant, zoned for business.  The rise in the street to the ridge is visible in the foreground.

Commercial development finally came to the 103rd Street strip during the 1950s.  Though there are still a few empty lots, at Christmas time the candy canes on the light poles give the street a festive look.

—30—