Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Uptown History That Will Blow Your Mind

Joanne at the Uptown Chicago History Blog did a little digging after a reader sent in a photo we ran yesterday of the Sheridan and Montrose intersection. They told us it came from an "automobile site." They were right, the IDOT Chicago Traffic Photograph collection.
Joanne has done most of the digging but if you go on the actual site and pull up each photo, you can zoom in for extra detail.
If you are short on time, go on the Uptown Chicago History blog and look through the treasure trove that has been discovered. Absolutely amazing.
The photo above is from the collection. It is the intersection of Sheridan and Leland, an intersection that has become quite infamous as of late, but back then it was quite different. Our favorite building on the SW corner with the "faces" is the only building that remains.


  1. THis is awesome.. btw, a few weeks or so back (maybe even months) you asked if anyone knew what the sidewalk portion of what was left of a mosaic entry way in from of the thai restaurant on Sheridan just north of leland. My bet is if you can figure out the name of the store on the northwest corner, you have the looks to be similar initials and I bet the stores footprint probably stretched that far ...

  2. I bet you're right Rob.
    If you go in the IDOT site and enter "Leland," you can zoom in on the photos. It is so sad to see the amount of buildings in Uptown that are no longer with us. They could never be recreated.

  3. Dear Uptown Update,

    Please post this sort of FASCINATING history stuff only after work hours. I am fairly sure that I will be looking at this all day and will likely lose my job :)

    This is the coolest set of pictures I've ever seen. Look at Sheridan and Buena for a glimpse of the El station that used to be there!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  4. I love it - almost every corner had a Walgreens or some sort of drugstore. Who knew Jake's (Sheridan/Montrose) and the Holiday Club (I.P./Sheridan) were both former Walgreen locations?

    Not that there aren't some sort of drugs on every corner now... just not the prescription kind and not in a store.

  5. Awesome, there used to be a Philips 66 at sunnyside and sheridan! These old photos are amazing.

  6. @ Miss Kitty

    That's funny because Walgreens got its start selling "medicinal" liquor during prohibition. Many drug stores, in fact, were de facto liquor retailers, so it's only fitting that bars now occupy vacant pharmacies.

  7. What is the big building on the west side of Sheridan just north of Irving Park Road? It has 2 giant spires.

    Also look at the big park on the southwest corner of Buena and Sheridan. Maybe thats why the area is named Buena Park. Its a shame that now there is only the smaller Buena Circle Park.

  8. Cowboy, that was the Sheridan Theater. You can google lots of images of it. Also, on the SW corner of Buena and Sheridan sat a large house used for years as a funeral home. It was torn down around a decade ago. There was not a park there.

    Buena Park was the name given to the entire neighborhood when it was first subdivided into large (really large) residential lots.

    Buena Circle was a private green space controlled by the original residents of that intersection.

    In one of the pictures you can see the El station that sat up on (and under?) the tracks. At some point the circle was closed off at the western edge, so that the two western ends of Buena meet the alley.