Chicago's West Loop, Then and Now : People, Businesses, Buildings


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Against the backdrop of a bustling and dynamic global city, cranes dot the sky, jack hammers demolish "solid as a rock" walls, and bulldozers move tons of bricks out of the way on The Near West Side of Chicago, now known as (The West Loop). The transformation of this area over time has been nothing less than captivating. Vacant parking lots, once home to vaudeville acts, became glossy 19-story apartments. Empty buildings that once housed cutlery stores, meat packing rooms, printing companies, and multi-level office buildings have been demolished- common brick by common brick. Some of these bakery supply buildings (or other businesses) have been re-purposed into opulent condos, luxury sofa stores, or restaurants with owner-chefs calling upstairs home.

What once was a manufacturing and wholesale warehouse area in the late 1890’s -1950’s, a fashionable place to live on Ashland Avenue for the "movers and shakers" of Chicago, and later Skid Row on Madison Street, is again where we want to live, work, and play. Corporate America has set up shop in The West Loop, and many of the Union headquarters have stayed put for decades. Meet the pioneers of then and now, learn about a variety of businesses that supplied products during war time, help protect us at the 911 Emergency Communications Center, train our policemen, and see the eye-catching architectural wonders still standing in The West Loop. Read these engaging and timeless stories by Chicago-based researcher Connie Fairbanks in a new 246-page book complete with a collection of more than 150 photos that capture the essence of this areas transformation and brings you back in time in this most dynamic part of the city.

  • Hardcover
  • Written by Connie Fairbanks

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