What ever happened to Pueblo Avenue?

September 24, 2012

Sometimes the best-laid work of city planners goes to waste. Take the case of the street at 8400-west.

This street was originally called 84th Avenue, the name it still carries in the southern suburbs. In the 1920s Chicago annexed the portion of the Dunning community west of Harlem Avenue. Along with it came about one mile’s worth of 84th Avenue.


The area was mostly truck farms then. But as land was subdivided, the city extended the Brennan street-name system into Dunning. From 7200-west to 8000-west, the north-south streets got names beginning with the letter “O.” Next came the streets beginning with the letter “P.” In this way, the Chicago portion of 84th Avenue became Pueblo Avenue.
 
For some reason, Pueblo Avenue never caught on. Part of the problem was the nearby suburbs. In Maywood, 84th Avenue had been renamed First Avenue. River Grove called the street Thatcher Road. Just north of the Chicago section, and into Park Ridge and Niles, it was Cumberland Avenue.
 
I grew up a few miles to the east. My friends and I always referred to the street as Cumberland. I never knew anyone who actually lived on the street, but I did date a girl whose house was a block away. She called it Cumberland, too.
 

Even the CTA—a government agency—had misgivings about the street’s name. The westbound destination signs on the #152 buses read “Addison-Pueblo.” A half-mile south, the signs on the #77 buses read “Belmont-Cumberland.” I don’t remember what the Irving Park bus signs read. Perhaps they alternated between the two names.

In 1973 Chicago began replacing its yellow street signs with the green ones we have today. When the crews got to 8400-west, they took down the yellow "Pueblo" signs. The green signs that went up said "Cumberland."

I imagine there had to be some official city action changing Pueblo to Cumberland. If there was, I missed it. And if there’s anyone who wants to go back to the Pueblo name, I’d like to hear from you.  

Or maybe the city still hasn't made up its mind what to call the street at 8400-west. At the intersection with Montrose Avenue, there are signs that announce both names.