Posts Tagged 'West Side'

Then and Now, Troy-Roosevelt

1910–Troy Street @ 12th Street (Roosevelt Road), view north

2019–the same location

In 1902 the Metropolitan ‘L’ extended its Douglas Park branch through North Lawndale.  Four years later, Sears opened its giant mail-order complex to the north, at Homan and Arthington.  By 1910 this block just east of Kedzie Avenue was already fully settled and residentially mature.

Today North Lawndale is bouncing back after decades of decline.  Here buildings on the west side of Troy Street have been cleared to make way for the Lawndale Terrace town homes and apartment tower.  As a result, with the alley between Kedzie and Troy gone, the utility poles now line the street.


Then and Now, Jackson-Lockwood

1937–Jackson Boulevard @ Lockwood Avenue, view east

2019–the same location

Our location is just west of Laramie Avenue.  In 1937 the blocks shown in the older photo were owned by the Chicago Board of Education and were still vacant, even though most of the surrounding area had long been developed.  In the distance on Jackson, the spire of Resurrection Catholic Church is visible.

The school board finally sold its land after World War II, and today those blocks are filled with 1950s-era yellow brick apartment buildings and ranch homes.  However, the church has been demolished.


Then and Now, Blue Island-18th

1912–Blue Island Avenue @ 18th Street, view southwest

2019–the same location

Blue Island Avenue follows the path of an old trail southwest from downtown.  As a major thoroughfare, the avenue was served by horsecars, then cable cars, then electric streetcars.  By 1912 the area around Blue Island-18th was the heart of Chicago’s Czech community, known as Pilsen.

A century later many sections of Blue Island have been closed off.  The block south of 18th in the photo is now a parking lot.  Mexicans have succeeded Czechs as the most visible group in Pilsen. with the obelisk in the newer photo part of Plaza Tenochtitlan.


Hidden Movie Landmarks on “Extension 720”

Last night Justin Kaufmann had me on his “Extension 720” WGN radio show.  We talked about three of the little-known movie-related sites in my book Hidden Chicago Landmarks.  Here’s the link—

Historian John R. Schmidt explores hidden Chicago landmarks: Hollywood in Chicago

Then and Now, Chicago-Mayfield

1958–Chicago Avenue @ Mayfield Avenue, view west

2019–the same location

Our location is one long block east of Austin Boulevard.  The Chicago Avenue streetcar line had its western terminal at Austin, so over the years, a number of businesses sprang up nearby.  By 1958 electric trolley buses had replaced the streetcars and were using an off-street turn-around closer to Mayfield Avenue.

In 2019 motor buses running on Chicago Avenue use an off-street terminal back at Austin. Many of the older buildings along this block are gone.  Here at Mayfield, Chicago Avenue is now flanked by two churches—Greater Holy Temple on the north side, and Family Altar Baptist Church on the south side (out of the photo).


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.


Then and Now, Madison-Lockwood

1953–Madison Street @ Lockwood Avenue, view east

2019–the same location

We are just west of Laramie Avenue.  The older photo documents the last days of streetcar service on Madison Street.  In the right foreground is a safety island where people could stand while waiting to board.  The large building past the intersection is the headquarters of Local 1031, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Today the union hall is gone, and IBEW Local 1031’s offices are in Warrenville.  Madison Street has more trees, brighter street lights, smoother pavement, and bike lanes.  But to come full circle, there is a recent proposal to run Light Rail Vehicles on Madison.