If you’ve ever driven the Kennedy Expressway to O’Hare—or to the far Northwest Side—you know about this bottleneck. You sail through the Edens junction, and suddenly everything comes to a screeching halt. Traffic crawls along for the next few miles, until you pass Harlem Avenue. Then the highway opens up again.
Why does this happen? It all goes back to the original design.
In the 1950s, when Chicago’s expressways were being built, they were geared toward moving traffic to and from the center of the city. Crosstown travel was rarely factored into the planning. Therefore, there was no ramp from the inbound Edens to the outbound Kennedy. Likewise, there was no ramp from the inbound Kennedy to the outbound Edens.
The Kennedy-Edens junction was complicated enough, with three railroad lines and busy Cicero Avenue right there. Building two additional ramps would involve additional land clearance and be wildly expensive. Therefore, the planners didn’t bother with them.
During the 1960s, a Crosstown Expressway was proposed as an extension of the Edens south along Cicero. This meant that a full Kennedy-Edens interchange would be built.
Chicago's Pilsen is named for a city of ancient Bohemia, what is now the Czech Republic. In the course of 66 years this neighborhood has changed from Czech to Mexican. Meanwhile, the streetcar has been replaced by a bus, the cars look different, and the 'L' station has been renovated.
And yet all of the buildings are still in place. Film-makers searching for a 1940s streetscape would do well to consider this stretch of 18th Street.
For 120 years, the Opera House in Woodstock has stood at the southern end of the town square. In 1934 entertainment history was made there. That’s when a 19-year-old prodigy named Orson Welles scored his first triumph.
Welles started acting as a student at the nearby Todd School for Boys. After that he bounced around the theatrical world for a few years. Meanwhile, back at Todd, headmaster Roger Hill was making tentative plans for a summer drama course.
Now Welles returned to Woodstock, took the idea, and proceeded to “jazz it up.”
This section of Michigan Avenue runs along the top of a ridge, and was originally a trail used by the native peoples. In the early 20th Century, the State Street streetcar line was extended via Michigan to 119th Street, and a shopping strip developed. That's a postwar PCC streetcar in the 1955 photo.
Gately's Peoples Store, long a fixture on the Michigan Avenue, closed during the 1980s. The streetcars have been replaced by buses, too.
In 1869 the West Side Park Board created three major parks. One of them, Central Park, was later renamed Garfield Park. The neighborhood immediately west of this park is Community Area 26–West Garfield Park (WGP).
Settlement here began in the 1840s, when a plank road was laid along the line of Lake Street. Chicago’s first railroad came through the area in 1848. The railroad became the Chicago & North Western, and later built train shops near today’s Keeler Avenue.
But it was the park that really got the community going. New construction sprang up in the area around it. There were single family homes and some large apartments, though two-flats were predominant. Graystone was popular.
A gentlemen’s trotting club operated along the east side of Crawford (Pulaski) south of Madison. Gambling kingpin Mike McDonald took over the track in 1888. The Garfield Park Race Track became the center of controversy, as neighbors feared for their property values.
Today's pictures are from the North Side Edgewater community. The 1948 photo is dominated by the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Before Lake Shore Drive was extended north in the 1950s, the hotel had direct access to the lake, and really did have its own beach.
The hotel closed in 1967 and was torn down a few years later. The double-deck buses are long gone, too.
When bowling was big and Chicago was the bowling capital of the world, the greatest bowler in Chicago was Paul Krumske. And there’s one story about Paul Krumske they always tell.
During one close match, Krumske suddenly keels over on the lane, grabbing his chest and gasping for breath. The match stops. Medical help is summoned, and Krumske is revived. He gamely declares that he will go on.
By now the opposition is totally unnerved–especially when Krumske rolls the next half-dozen strikes.
This incident happened during the famous match Krumske bowled against Ned Day . . . or in a team match in the Chicago Classic League . . . or in a tournament in Detroit . . .