Chicago Relocation
 

Books, The Levee, and a High “Walk Score” – The always evolving South Loop, part I

September 9, 2013

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Chicago neighborhoods
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John D’Ambrogio

So I went for a run through the South Loop, my current stomping grounds.  I live in a loft in a very cool part of the South Loop known as Printer’s Row.  Yes, Printer’s Row is like a neighborhood within a neighborhood.  As you get to know Chicago you’ll learn that you’re usually standing in two or three neighborhoods in any given moment.  You know, the Lincoln Park/DePaul or Lakeview/Wrigleyville/Boys Town thing.  I think it can kind of depend on your mood and how you want to describe your location.

Anyway, once you’re standing in the South Loop it’s easy to see how it’s much different  it is from many of the hoods in Chicago.  It’s true “urban living.”  Being adjacent to THE Loop it’s literally as close to downtown as you can be. Yes, I’ll say that about the North Loop in a few weeks, but it’s true.  For both.

It’s a neighborhood mixed with high rises and lofts.  25 years ago you might have said warehouses and parking lots.  But much, MUCH has changed.  People realized how great this area is.  You can walk to work.  My walk is 6 minutes, about as long as my run to the lake shore.  South Loop kisses the lake, the loop, Soldier Field, museum campus… it’s simply glorious!  Being right in the thick of it means you truly have access to everything – every major highway that runs downtown; trains and El lines; shopping; dining; nightlife.

Former Mayor Daley moved to the area in ‘93- specifically the Central Station district.  In addition to our mayor, the South Loop has a history of famous (or at least colorful) residents.  It’s home to the 2nd oldest standing Chicago home, the Henry Clarke Home, located at 19th and Wabash (it’s very cool visit I have to say).  Neighborhood residents in the 19th century included William Kimball (of keyboard fame), Marshall Field (no description necessary for Chicagoans), even railroad mogul George Pullman.  

The far south side (as you enter Chinatown at 20th and Michigan) was known as “The Levee.” Back in the day this  was Chicago’s most infamous red light district, created in response to the opportunities provided by The Colombian Exposition.

Boy, wish I could have visited the original Everleigh Club (for research reasons, of course).  Speaking of politics, the area is also known as the home of organized crime in Chicago.  But that story is for another day.  Let’s focus on the happy things!

Let’s chat about the south loop some more….next time!

 

 

 

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