Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When The 4800 Block Of Winthrop Was "Honeymoon Row"

click to enlarge

A reader sent in this gem of an article from the Chicago Tribune from January 18, 1903, when all of Uptown was known as "Buena Park" (the name "Uptown" came about in 1915, when the owner of the Loren Miller store, located in the former Borders building, invented it to promote his business).

The article talks about Honeymoon Row, the 11 new residences lining the east side of Winthrop between Lawrence and Ainslie, all occupied by newly married couples, and well-known among the locals, including the firefighters and the drivers of merchants' delivery carts.

A lot has changed on that block in the past 111 years.  Only a few of the original homes comprising "Honeymoon Row" remain, but there are many new residences on the street, replacing empty lots that were there for several decades.  While we doubt it will ever again be known as Honeymoon Row ("Where all the women are newly wed brides"), it's fascinating to see history's cycle happen all over again.

Some excerpts from the article are below.  You can download the graphic above to read the entire article.

"Do you know where Honeymoon Row, Chicago, is?

It is expected that 1,990,000 residents of Chicago do not, but about 10,000 others in the neighborhood at Buena Park, on the north shore, will have it down fine enough to point it out in the dark of the moon, even while the row is newer than some of the marriage certificates in the street. 

Honeymoon Row, specifically, lies on the east side of Winthrop Avenue, between Lawrence and Ainslie avenues.  It consists of ten six-flat buildings, three stories in height, and having from five to seven rooms in a flat.

Honeymoon Row is the result of a real estate boom.  Still it may have been based to a considerable extent in the local antics of a Cupid.  Anyhow, it is there, with steam heat, janitor service, and the modern inconveniences of having all packages delivered at the rear.  It lines up in an almost unbroken wall, three stories high, ranging in color schemes from light yellow through gray, drab, brown, umber and red.

In its intangible atmosphere as felt from the outside, Honeymoon Row is distinctive.  From the walls that rise sheer about twenty feet inside of the curb line, the plots of green, marked by the cement walks, are remarkable for their lack of animation. Here and there a collie or fox terrier may look out between two buildings with a faraway expression on his face.  A grocer's wagon may stop in front and a bustling boy dart from it to the rear of a brown or red or yellow or drab or gray building that is absolutely expressionless in its quiet front of brick or stone.

For two or three years yet, Honeymoon Row promises to be a quiet avenue for the pedestrian and driver who may be in fear of children on such winter days as snow "packs" readily to the schoolboy hand.  In some of the buildings, however, it may be that as time goes on some of the agencies will find tenants who are now eligible have outgrown the terms of the leases with reference to children in the family.

In such an event, will it be possible to keep Honeymoon Row intact?  Is it to be lost to the map of Buena Park?"

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