Streets of Chicago: Midway Plaisance

Midway Plasance Source: National Map

Chicago has its share of unusual street names. For example, nobody quite knows what Agatite Avenue means. The origins and history of the name Midway Plaisance are also more mysterious than commonly assumed. It is the name of both a street and the park contained within the street’s northern and southern branches. According to the […]

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Who’s That Google Doodle? Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells portrait

Any chance you noticed today’s Google Doodle? The technology company chose to mark the 153rd birthday of civil rights activist and Chicago resident Ida B. Wells. Wells began her career as a journalist in Memphis in the 1880s. There she tirelessly devoted her attention to segregation, women’s rights and suffrage, and launched an anti-lynching campaign. […]

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Lake Shore Drive

North Lake Shore Drive from Hancock Building, 2014. Photo credit: Romanbeod Flckr

Lake Shore Drive is a choice, if not particularly exclusive, street. According to the U.S. Census, more than 10,000 of the Near North Side’s 80,000 residents live within a block west of Lake Shore Drive. Another 774 live in Lake Point Tower at 505 N. Lake Shore Drive (the only odd numbered address and the […]

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Winneconna Parkway: Venice in Chicago

silohetted trees and houses, with reflections in the lagoon

No need to move to Italy or California to live on a Venetian canal. You can live on Chicago’s own Winneconna Parkway. The houses surrounding Auburn Park overlook the lagoon and its beautiful stone bridges. The name Winneconna is ...possibly derived from Ween-kan-ing, Algonquin for "place where marrow is obtained,” according to one authority, in […]

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Amusement Park Fun

Ferris wheel

This is the time of year when I start thinking about packing up the family and heading to an amusement park. The lure of funnel cakes, roller coasters and log flume rides beckons me. Amusement parks have been around for centuries, with the oldest one, Dyrehausbakken—Bakken for short—located near Copenhagen in Denmark. Bakken began in […]

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Everybody Loves State Street

Street Scene

State Street is celebrated in song—Frank Sinatra croons, “State Street, that great street” in the song "Chicago." Blues master Jimmy Yancey performed the "State Street Special." Although unnamed on the original plat map, State Street formed the eastern boundary of Chicago when the town was incorporated in 1833. The street originally was an Indian trail going […]

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The 606 Revitalizes Bloomingdale Trail

The 606 trail

So The 606 opens on 06/06. What is The 606? Excellent question! Essentially, The 606 is a public space project, akin to Manhattan's High Line, centered around the Bloomingdale Trail. What is the Bloomingdale Trail? Again, a most excellent question! The Bloomingdale Trail is an elevated pedestrian and cyclist thoroughfare that runs along West Bloomingdale Avenue […]

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Bright Lights, Big City, Great Books

Source: sfgamchick, Flickr

Neon signs—they put the bright lights in our big city. Garish and brassy, they beckon with color and light and martinis and stars. Subtle they are not. But still, I love them. Back in March, though, Preservation Chicago named neon signs one of the most endangered “architectural treasures” in Chicago. Since May is Preservation Month, it’s […]

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Wentworth Avenue 街決永

Gate

Chicago’s Wentworth Avenue runs south from 16th Street all of the way to the far southern suburbs. It is one of several south side streets that do not continue to the Loop. Wentworth is mostly in line with Wells Street in the Loop, but Wells Street continues south, jogs a bit and runs parallel to […]

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