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Monday, March 19, 2012

Chicago in the 1930s...The Sheridan Road Pictorial....(a little 'mash note' to my stomping grounds, if you will)



Photos courtesy of the excellent IDOT Chicago Traffic Photographs collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_uic_idot.php?CISOROOT=/uic_idot  




Today I'm going to try a little photographic project just for fun.....


Fellow Chicagoans (and guests, groupies, whatever)....let's imagine that we could travel back in time and see our beloved Sheridan Road exactly as it was in the mid to late 1930s. 


We'll start at the "Calvary Curve" (The Evanston border-Calvary Cemetery/Juneway Terrace), and start working our way south, street by street. Today we'll start with just a short drive, just down to the intersection of Sheridan, Devon, and Broadway.....that's still a lot of pictures. :) 


Woohoo....


Sound like fun? I thought so.


Soooooo....get your hat on straight, Maude, climb in the Wayback Machine (for the sake of shear comfort we're driving a 1935 Packard Twelve Sedan).....And, Hey.....let's drive South, shall we?








We start our drive at the last curve....the South end of Calvary Cemetery. We're just coming into Chicago from Evanston, Illinois. You're looking north east here....Lake Michigan in front of you, to your left Calvary Cemetery, to your right and south is Eastlake Terrace.....the year is 1936.




Still looking North, we see on our right the beginning of Eastlake Terrace, to our left the HC logo of a Sinclair Gasoline station. (Hey, while you're looking at the Butterfinger Billboard, be careful of that rainy, slippery pavement, as the period "guardrail" on the curve doesn't even remotely look like it would keep us from swan diving into Lake Michigan at even a very slow speed wipeout). And, no.....you can't TEXT AND DRIVE, 'cuz it's 19-FREAKING-36...so BwaHaHaHaHahaaaaa!!!


Let's look north for a moment, from Eastlake Terrace....wow, there's Dino over at the Sinclair Station (Maybe we should get some gas....it's only TEN CENTS A FREAKING GALLON!)


So let's glance south again....Eastlake is off to our left, we're just passing the Sinclair as we 'round the curve south....


Let's take a last glance back up north as we take the big curve on into Rogers Park. We've just passed the Sinclair, so maybe we could grab a BBQ chicken sandwich from the "Demetre from Wilmette #1" (Not to be confused with the #2-Villa Demetre, in "No-Man's Land"-an unincorporated zone-now known as Plaza del Lago, in Wilmette. No-Man's Land was a notorious area of drink and debauchery in a "dry" area. The North Shore was "rather mortified", if you will, by the popularity among students, etc...and it suddenly all "burned down" in a 1932 fire...truly another novel for another time, indeed ;) . Getting that BBQ might be a good idea, 'cause all of this will get torn down eventually....you'll only be able to view the cemetery for several decades, which will then lose most of the beautiful trees to Dutch Elm Disease and eventually there will be this horrid giant condo to obscure your view..I'm rambling on, I know, but, trust me, I'm psychic or whatever... ;)




Right now, we're actually standing on Juneway Terrace, which goes off to the west of southbound Sheridan, and you can still see the Sinclair, and the BBQ Joint, and...(well...a lot of words, but work with me here, and you'll see several views from different directions on the curve....k?)




We're looking north at the curve (Juneway to your left) , and now....four more views looking south and west...Fine, I know that The Fireside Theater isn't on right now, but we CAN set the radio to WGN.......Hey, is that Leo Reisman? I just lovvve "It ain't necessarily so"...yeah, do keep that radio on, babes....




Here's a last view looking from Juneway  toward the lake and Sheridan.


Ok...let's drive 'round that curve and go south, already...




The next street south off Sheridan is Jonquil Terrace, that's it off to your left as you look north back at the Bowman Dairy sign....




And here's a view looking east to Sheridan from Jonquil....




Next south is Rogers, it actually runs from west of Sheridan to east, ending at Eastlake and Rogers Beach Park. Here's a view looking east toward Sheridan and the lake....




And looking back north from Rogers on Sheridan...




So now we're at Howard Street....It's really considered the dividing line between Evanston and Chicago....the first major cross street in the North Pole of Chicago....this is the view looking east on Howard to the lake across Sheridan: (We COULD go west on Howard, Ya know.....TONS of bars, there. Evanston is still "Dry", being home to the WCTU and all. In fact, it will stay "dry" 'til about the '70s. Howard is incredibly "Wet"....great music, too....just sayin'). Fine, you don't get to TEXT, so I can't have a DRINK....*sigh*.....fair enough.  Onward, Jeeves.......




If you look in your rear view mirror, you can see north from Howard all the way back to the Bowman Dairy sign!




It looks like we're finally south of Howard.....next up is Birchwood Ave. Here's a view east to the lake:




Meh...maybe you're getting tired of looking behind you, but here's the view north from Birchwood....




Now Fargo Ave....looking east...




Looking west on Fargo...




And (of course) looking back north from Fargo on Sheridan.... ;)




Now we're south to Jarvis Ave.....this is the east view...




Et Voila!!!! ......north from Jarvis (of course)...Teehee.... ;)




Next on our journey south is Sherwin Ave....Here's east to the lake:




And two views looking back north on Sherwin..




Next to the south is Chase Avenue.....here's a view east toward the lake:




Another view to the east...less leaves on the trees...easier view :)




Here's the view from Chase looking north....




Touhy Avenue...really next large east/west cross street you encounter going south on Sheridan. Here's a view going toward the lake and what is now Leone Park and Beach.




And the view North on Sheridan from Touhy:




Next South is Estes Avenue. Here's a view east to the beach:




And here's a view looking north up Sheridan:




Here's the next southbound Sheridan cross street: Greenleaf Avenue. This is a view east toward the lake and beach:




And......yeah.....NORRRTTTTHHH....lol!!




Lunt Avenue....another of the larger streets of the Rogers Park area of Chicago as it meets Sheridan. An Eastward view..




A view north:




Morse Avenue....next up, and here's a view to the east:




And a view from Morse Ave. to the north:




The next street to our south is Farwell Avenue....a view east:




And a view from Farwell to the North:




The next large cross street going south on Sheridan is Pratt Avenue. Here's a view looking north up Sheridan from Pratt:




Wow...just a couple more streets and we'll be at Devon Avenue. That's where Rogers Park ends, and the Chicago neighborhood that we call Edgewater begins. 


Sooo.....this is Columbia Avenue. Here's a great view looking east: Oh, and by the way....Walgreens.....so there! Not that damn Starbucks we now have on the corner. Sorry, but you'll just have to live with the CHASE AND SANBORN'S from my damn Percolator back at Chez Laura......Come to think of it.....there's no fast food OR Starbucks on this drive....I really HAVE died and went to heaven!!




And now two views looking north....both show the wonderful "400 Theater" to the left. It was originally built as the Regent Theater for vaudeville and movies, in 1912. It  was renamed the "400" in 1930, just a few years before our pictures were taken (1936-37)






Next up: North Shore Avenue.....a view east (Bowman Dairy is stalking us, methinks...Meh, I prefer soy milk, personally).....




A view north from North Shore:




Now we're at Albion Avenue. Here's a view east:




Two views south on Sheridan from  Albion: the first in 1938, the second in 1936...(Thanks for the correction, emerald772!!)




Lastly, here's a view north from Albion, again from 1936...




Ok....Loyola Avenue.....ALMOST the last street before Devon Avenue. It's Loyola, as in Loyola University, and St. Ignatius Church, which is just over to the west on Glenwood Avenue. You're in JESUIT LAND, now, Kiddo....put your Thinking Cap on.....Jesuits like thinking....just sayin'.....trust me ;)


Here are two views looking north up Sheridan....the Elevated line crosses Sheridan just south of us.  Loyola University and Loyola Academy (well back in '36, anyway..the academy is now co-ed, and in Wilmette, Illinois) are to your right/east.






Here's a view very similar, and north of the elevated, looking west:




Now, lastly....two views of Sheridan, first one of Loyola Ave. looking southeast onto Sheridan (note the Grenada Theater in the upper right of the pic), and next a view looking back north at the elevated line from Sheridan to Loyola Ave.




Here we are at Arthur Avenue.....the last street before Devon. Just a spit from Loyola Ave. to the south, and kinda hard to notice if you don't know the neighborhood around the university. The views are very similar to the two pics just above this one. First, a view east:




And here's a view to the north:




Ok.....the end of today's ride: Devon Avenue. A large cross street. Sheridan Road branches off east, and then south again along the lakefront.  Broadway continues directly south from where Devon Avenue ends as it turns into Sheridan going east.


Here are two views looking north from Broadway just before crossing Devon, and turning into Sheridan Road. (Note the Balaban and Katz -Grenada Theater, once one of Chicago's grandest movie palaces, unbelievably demolished in 1988, still structurally sound, at least until halfway demolished and left to decay....You can blame the Senior Life Styles Corporation, they demolished it to build a hideous apartment/commercial structure they insultingly named "The Grenada Center". It was later purchased by Loyola University for student apartments).






The glorious Grenada:




Here's two views looking west toward Devon Avenue (the first in 1937, the second in 1943):




Here are two views looking east, as Devon becomes Sheridan (the first in 1937, the second in 1943):




Here's the last view on our ride today. This is Sheridan as it turns off east toward the lake. To your right it becomes Devon Avenue, and if we keep going south, it's now Broadway.....we'll officially pass out of the Rogers park neighborhood into what we call Edgewater.


 This is a view from 1943.




Wow....that seemed like a really long drive... Must've been rush hour ;)


Thus ends my little experiment in time travel. I had fun, I really hope you did, too.....(even if you aren't a Chicagoan and know the journey, let me know if my experiment worked for you).


Maybe we can drive farther south next time!!!!! 


Gas is cheap (well, use your imagination, we are time traveling after all).


And.....NO.....you can't borrow the Packard Twelve for your date this weekend !!


61 comments:

  1. Oh, God love you, Laura. This was just a wonderful ride--thanks for taking me along. And, man, the seats in your Packard are the nertz! During the mid-'60s I was going to Roosevelt and living on east Division; everybody I knew was at Northwestern (some of them living on Juneway, some on Jonquil). So I knew every apartment building, drug store and brick bungalow all the way up Sheridan to Evanston and The Hut. Amazing how much looked the same then as back in the '30s. Just looking at that intersection of Sheridan & Devon makes me want to drive west--to Paulina, I think--and get a nice fresh bagel at Litberg's. They used to let you come in the back door after midnight, and watch them make the bagels and sell them to you right off the cooling rack. My, my. Wonderful town, Chicago. All best, Joel

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Laura;
    thanks for the wonderful ride!
    DEE

    ReplyDelete
  3. Saw a marquee advertising a performance by Benny Meroff.

    http://www.archive.org/details/BennyMeroff-SmilingSkies1928

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love you guys! I'm glad this was well received! I am starting to regain some momentum in posting again, and have decided to try some things a bit different than just posting music, as it has been so difficult with the demise of many of the file sharing sites, and the major loss of so many posts that I did, which all disappeared from Megaupload. I'm going to keep the site going, but am trying to approach this from some other directions, and not just about the music alone......let's see where it goes...feedback is always appreciated, really!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is Amazing. Thank you. I moved into Rogers Park in 2006 and love walking around taking in the sites. One question though, it seems that the 2 images you labeled as "Two views west on Albion: the first in 1936, the second in 1938..." seem more like they are looking south on Sheridan from Albion. You can see the giant billboard atop a building that's on Sheridan opposite Loyola in both shots . .

      Delete
  5. Meroff played the Grenada quite a bit from what I've seen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good Lord, you're right! I wrote my directions in wrong! I'll correct that right away!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great Photos. Thank You

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  8. Thank you so much for this! I grew up on the corner of Jarvis and Sheridan and spent a lot of time in the buildings next to the Granada Theater, not to mention the walk between these two places. What a trip! I can't thank you enough--LOVE time travel.

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  9. Great photos any one know of any photos of no man's land the Teatro Theater and Sheridan going south from the Diary Bar?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I do, actually have several. I'm in the middle of a big spread on Evanston. (It takes awhile to do the research to get these things together)....soon...soon. :)

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  11. What a great photo spread! I traveled that route most every day since 1977, and it is amazing how much has changed -- yet how much remains the same. Before the giant condo development went up by the cemetery, the Sinclair had morphed into a Shell station, and I bought lots of gas there. I wish there were more pictures of Loyola, but they may be scarce. Many thanks for the pictures and memories. I look forward to your Evanston project!

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  12. As a Rogers Parker I thank you! This is great.

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  13. I lived in Rogers Park, first at Morris ave and Lakewood in 1940, and then at Touhy and Sheridan in 1942. The turn where the Bowman Milk sign is before entering Evanston was a Standard Service Station in the 1940s. I used to go to the 400 and remember seeing "DRUMS along the Mohawk" there. In the background down the street is the Rogers Park Hotel. I wished there was a photo of the old boathouse at Touhy Beach. In the winter, it had a potbelly stove and the softball diamonds became ice skating rinks.

    On the Corner of Sheridan and Morris was the TOWN PUMP where Leona's is today. They always had chickens on a spit in the windows. There was a Citco on the corner of Touhy and on the corner near the lake they had scrap metal drives . During the war, the Granada were not allowed to have their signs lit upduring WWll. We used to go to Farwell Beach, and they was an old pre-WWl canon on a hill, once the war started... it was melted down for the war effort. Thanks for bringing back memories of my youth.

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  14. This is so GREAT. Seriously. Mind is BLOWN. Thanks for posting these great shots...

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  15. Thanks for the trip down Sheridan Road. Love east Rogers Park. I lived on Loyola Avenue with Albion beach as my back yard.
    One correction...the theater is Granada with an ”a", not "e".

    ReplyDelete
  16. I especially like seeing the now-demolished Frank Lloyd Wright house at Sheridan and Rogers!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome ride. I got to see my apartment building on Sheridan, which looks exactly the same as it does now!

    ReplyDelete
  18. As others have written, I too lived in Rogers Park, from birth (living over the Edwards' Toy Store, 6710 N. Sheridan)until I was 11 1/2 in early 1964. I would give big money(joke!)to see a clear head-on photo of 6710 N. Sheridan anytime between 1952-1964.
    Thank you SO much to Barbarella or posting these photos!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a trip! I remember that stretch of Sheridan road so well, but from the fifties and sixties. Dated a girl who lived on Loyola Avenue in that old high rise and we frequented Albion Beach

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  25. Great stuff! Just FYI - I lived right around that corner by the cemetery on the east side of Sheridan between Juneway and Jonquil 1999-2008 and the condo building replaced the Shell gas station in the early 2000's. When I decided to buy a vintage rehab condo east of Sheridan on Pratt in 2008, they were still a few open units in that new condo building on the curve, including one of the townhouses on the east end. I'm also amazed at how much HASN'T changed on that stretch of Sheridan since the 30's! LOTS of familiar building still standing and in use. I remember the Granada being finally torn down, as well as the building on the SW corner of Devon/Sheridan/Broadway in the late 80's. That SW corner building used to have a killer punk club in the early-mid 80's that I used to see Steve Albini play in when we were both students at NU. Great stuff!

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  31. Thank you so much for your time-traveling photos! My folks and family lived in east Rogers Park starting in the 1930's. I now live in West Ridge; "The apple didn't fall far from the tree" my father once said to me many years ago. So many memories! I was born in 1957, so with your photographs I was able to try to imagine what it was like for my parents back in the 1930's and '40's.
    I recognized every intersection; many of the same buildings now, except that, back then, there were more billboards and different streetlights. Love it!!!

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  47. I remember my first real high school date going to the Granada, and having no problem finding a parking space...probably early 1950...what fun...

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  48. I moved to Loyola Ave in 1970 and I'm still there, overlooking Albion Beach and Hartigan Park after all these years. My two kids grew up here. In the early 1970s I took pictures of the interior of the Grenada, in an effort to save it, a couple years before it was demolished.

    Where did these pictures come from? You mention the U of I, but where, there?
    I notice that all the pictures are shot from an elevated vantage 20 feet in the air above the streets, like from a cherry-picker. They're probably 8x10s. Those shots weren't taken for art or memories, they were taken as part of traffic studies. But how and why did they need to take them over and over again? They were probably all taken by the same photographer or photo company, like Heidrich Blessing, who did a lot of architectural work back then. What do the code numbers reveal about who did it or what use they were?

    I like the pictures, but much of the commentary is childish nonsense.
    Dig a little deeper and tell the real story.










    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I noticed that Sheridan Road had no striped crosswalks or center lines in some of the earlier photos while other photos appeared to show freshly painted center lines and crosswalks. Perhaps these photos were taken to illustrate the effect of pavement striping on traffic flow.

      Delete
  49. The June 24th Anonymous commenter was on Loyola Ave.at the same time I was there.

    I enjoyed your pictures. I wish I had more photos of the places where I grew up! Thanks for posting. By the way, it is Granada with all "a's", no "e."

    ReplyDelete
  50. Yes it was a wonderful ride which could of gone more south toward sheridan and broadway

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  51. Thanks so much! I went to Northwestern and I've driven this stretch a million times. Now I live just south of here in Edgewater. The Granada was special. I did a photo shoot and article on the theater for the Daily Northwestern back when there was a chance that it could be saved. The owner was so kind to turn on all of the interior lights for me. I wish the neighborhood was still as clean as in the pictures!

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  52. amazing photos! thank you for the ride!

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  53. Thank you! This is a great tour of a neighborhood I've called home for twenty-odd years.

    Do you happen to have a photo of Touhy and Sheridan looking West? If so, I'd love to see it.

    Marc

    ReplyDelete
  54. This was a great trip. In the last couple of photos of Sheridan turned east, the tall graceful building on the left at the lakefront is Mundelein College which opened in 1930. My aunt, Mary Cramer was one of the early students there. When I attended in the early 1960's she was then Dean of Students, Sister Mary Assissium.

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  55. What a wonderful ride along Sheridan Rd. I initially lived in the neighborhood during the 50s on Morse ave a few blocks west of Sheridan. Have fond memories of the Granada, 400, Pink Phynk, Morse Beach, and the jazz joint at Sheridan and Rogers Ave.
    Thanks for the memories!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Fantastic! I'm writing a story based in 1930s Chicago - so very very helpful in seeing the atmosphere of Edgewater and Uptown! Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  57. I lived at 7758 Eastlake terrace from 1945 to 1958. I wished I had some photos of the neighborhood because I only had people photos.These pictures of yours are just what I always wished I had.I stumbled on this site looking for information on two boathouses that washed away in some storm in the early 50's that were near Sheridan and Eastlake.I watched them wash away from my window that night and the next day I played among the boat debris on the beach across from my house.I also remember watching a parade for General Macarthur go around the Sheridan road curve toward Evanston. Thanks for the memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my! Mike do you remember the janitor for that building? My dad started there in 1940. I was his little four year old in the basement apartment. WE stayed in that building until 1946 when I was in 6th grade. I am surprised I did not know you.

      Delete
  58. Great pictures. I walk down most of the streets shown on a daily basis and often wonder what RP used to look like. Know I know. Thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete