How many times have you walked past the Tribune Tower on North Michigan Avenue? You may want to stop and take a look at the statue in the little outdoor alcove. The young man standing stolidly there is Nathan Hale.
I was ten years old when I discovered that I had my own Chicago landmark.
We were driving my Grandma to visit one of her relatives in the old neighborhood, when I happened to glance up at the cornice of the building at 2007 West North Avenue. Carved in stone was the inscription “1884—J. Schmidt”.
I was excited as only a 10-year-old could be. I knew that Detroit had a downtown street called John R. Street. But here was a building with my name on it, right in my own home town. Maybe someday I could buy the building and live in it!
With time and growing up, my fascination with the J. Schmidt Building faded. Years later, I took the trouble to look up the building in one of the old city directories at the Historical Society. The original address had been 466 West North Avenue, and was a meat market. The proprietor was named John Schmidt—no relation, but a nice coincidence.
Opening day at Sox Park!
At some time or another, most boys growing up around Chicago dream of playing for one of the hometown baseball teams. Few ever make it. Even then, the Chicagoans who do get to the big time usually wind up with other ball clubs
So today let's look at one of those rarities, a native Chicagoan who played his entire major league career in a Chicago uniform. He was Johnny Mostil--and he was a star, too.
Born in Chicago in 1896, Johnny was a boy when his family moved a few miles over the Indiana line to Whiting.
The Chicago Stadium was a direct outgrowth of the Second City Syndrome.
Whenever New York did something fabulous, Chicago had to top it. In 1925 the First City had dedicated the new Madison Square Garden, an indoor sports arena that could accommodate 20,000 spectators. So now the Second City would do better.
How well did you find your way around the Chicago of the past?
We are just north of Logan Square, where Milwaukee Avenue meets both Logan Boulevard and Kedzie Avenue. The distinctive streetlight on the left was characteristic of streets under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Park District. The #17 on the streetcars signify they are on the Kedzie line, which operated over this portion of Milwaukee Avenue.
Also in the 1934 photo, note the large advertising signs on the building roofs. The signs were set high so they could be seen from 'L' trains at the Logan Square terminal, just south of here.
A strange new vehicle appeared on the streets of Chicago for the first time on March 25, 1917. It was called a “bus.”
Since 1859 public transit in Chicago had been–literally–street railways. The first railcars had been pulled by teams of horses. Then came cable cars, and finally electric streetcars. For moving large numbers of people, streetcars seemed to be the ultimate form of surface transportation.
Meanwhile, the automobile had been invented, and was evolving. Though early gasoline engines were small, they soon became bigger and more powerful. By 1910 full-size gasoline buses were a reality. Since buses weren’t tied to rails, they had more flexibility than streetcars.
The City of Chicago had granted a transit franchise to the Chicago Surface Lines company. But the boulevards and parks were controlled by three separate park district boards. In 1916 the new Chicago Motor Bus Company was awarded a franchise by the Lincolon Park District. Now, on March 25, 1917, their new vehicles were ready to roll.
Mayor William Hale Thompson and a collection of dignitaries boarded the first bus at Sheridan and Devon.
Our subject is Community Area 30, the area of the West Side generally centered around 26th and Central Park. Historically, the neighborhood was known as South Lawndale.
That’s still the official name. But around 1964 community leaders here began referring to their turf as Little Village. North Lawndale was going through some bad times, and the people south the Burlington railroad wanted to emphasize their separate status. To keep the narration simple, I’m calling this area SLLV.
In 1869 the City of Chicago annexed most of the area that would become SLLV. The only hints of civilization then were a few farms and a little settlement near the Burlington tracks. That would soon change.
The Great Fire of 1871 wiped out downtown Chicago. The McCormick Reaper Works on the lakefront was among the properties destroyed. The company rebuilt on the outskirts of the city, at Western and Blue Island avenues.