Posts Tagged 'West Loop'

Then and Now, Jefferson-Jackson

1956–Jefferson Street @ Jackson Boulevard, view north

2019–the same location

In 1956 this area west of the Loop was populated by factories and warehouses.  Land and rents were cheap.  Gritty, not pretty.

Today many of the old industrial buildings have been replaced by high-rises, while others have been converted into offices and loft apartments.  The West Loop has become one of Chicago’s hottest real estate markets.

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Then and Now, Madison-Paulina

1929–Madison Street @ Paulina Street, view west

2018–the same location

Before the Milwaukee Avenue subway opened in 1951, ‘L’ trains from Logan Square reached downtown in a circuitous routing.  The older photo shows the Madison Street station on that line.  The Chicago Stadium had just opened a block to the west, greatly increasing patronage.

Today the United Center has replaced the Chicago Stadium.  Most of the surrounding buildings have been leveled for parking lots.  The ‘L’ structure has been completely replaced, and is now used by Pink Line trains on the old Douglas Park route.  There are proposals to open a new station here or nearby.

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Then and Now, Jefferson-Van Buren

1930–Jefferson Street @ Van Buren Street, view north

2018–the same location

In 1930 this spot on the outskirts of downtown was mostly factories and warehouses.  Crossing Jefferson Street is the mainline of the old Metropolitan ‘L’.   The four-track structure funneled trains into the Loop from the Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park branches.  The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban railroad also operated over these tracks.

Today the area here has been spiffed up.  The ‘L’ is gone, replaced by the subway under Congress Parkway.  The church on the corner is also gone—at least, I think it was a church.  If anyone can identify it with documentation, please let me know.

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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.

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Then and Now, Randolph-Clinton

1954–Randolph Street @ Clinton Street, view west

2017–the same location

In 1954 this area just west of the C&NW railroad terminal was mostly warehouses and factories.  Randolph Street had been converted to one-way traffic recently.  Though streetcars have ceased operating here, the old two-way tracks have not yet been covered over.

The West Loop has been revitalized over the course of six decades.  Many old buildings have been torn down and replaced.  However, this particular block remains intact—for now.

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Then and Now, Monroe-Canal

1948--Monroe Street @ Canal, view east

1948–Monroe Street @ Canal Street, view east

2015--the same location

2016–the same location

In 1948 Monroe was still a two-way street, and streetcars still ran on it.  A viaduct carried Monroe over the open-air approach tracks to Union Station.  The neighborhood was dirty and rundown.

Six decades later, nearly everything in the earlier picture looks different—even the bridge house has been painted white.  The buildings of South Riverside Plaza now line the west bank of the river.  But at ground level, trains still run to and from Union Station.

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Then and Now, Madison-Clinton

1946--Madison Street @ Clinton, view east

1946–Madison Street @ Clinton Street, view east

2015--the same location

2015–the same location

The pillared Chicago & North Western Railway terminal dominates the older photo—when it opened in 1911, this was the second-biggest train station in the country.  Beyond it is the high-rise headquarters building of the Chicago Daily News.  Streetcars run on both Madison and Clinton, with a repair crew in the foreground, fixing the overhead wire.

In 2015 the Ogilvie Transportation Center has replaced the C&NW terminal, the Daily News headquarters is an office building, and the streetcars are gone.  But another repair crew is busy at the intersection!

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