Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If I Could Turn Back Time

Next time you're walking westbound on Wilson from Broadway, stop and imagine this block as it used to be. Check out the photo of Wilson Avenue circa 1914 above, courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society. You can see the Wilson Club Hotel on the right, and further down, the beautiful building currently housing "Nick's on Wilson" and vacant storefronts. What a grand avenue Wilson once was. The second photo shows a view looking south towards Wilson where current day "Truman College" stands with the side of the Wilson Club Hotel visible on the right.


  1. Does anyone know what is on the left in the top photo where Truman is nowadays? I can barely make out some sort of restaurant. Thanks for the photographs! Wilson was quite a street.

  2. Thanks for reminding all of us about the wonderful history of Uptown!

    I did check out the link to the Chicago Historical society and saw more amazing pictures, especially of the Clarendon Beach house.

    Wow, Uptown was the vacation spot for Chicagoans.

  3. Uptown was a wonderful neighborhood.....once upon a time...

  4. Was? Uptown is a wonderful neighborhood.

    I know there are still problems, things we can do better. But not that long ago Uptown was soaked in drugs and out-of-control crime. Scattered site housing meant mattresses and cardboard on the parkways. Investment was marginal, insurance fires were rampant, and guns fired nightly.

    I came to Uptown in 1981 because I could afford it; I continue to live here because I love it. My husband and I chose to raise our girl here not because we thought it would be a nice place someday but because it is now. This is our home.

    And like our home, there’s a feisty, robust energy here. The diversity, the dissent works; it fuels a sort of noisy courage, one that enables us to embrace and struggle with issues---on the street, in the City Council, on this blog---and change over and over again.

    It’s not perfect but it’s my kind of wonderful.

  5. Cool picture, but I am a little confused why the writing at the bottom of the first picture is reversed...

  6. I've seen prints of similar old photos at Truman College (they have about 6 of them hanging on a wall) and at the Jewel on Montrose (near the pharmacy counter).

    Does anyone have any idea how to procure actual prints of old photos like this..?

  7. Jewel also has a couple of cool shots in the bread/cake area too! Love those pix as well as the two here. So sweet! A while back I used to reproduce old photos like these. I miss being in a darkroom. Any old photos of this city is or the Uptown area is just fascinating. You go girl! (Suzanne)

  8. I like your post, Suzanne, and I agree with you on a lot of levels. I just wish that the debate were truer and that one portion of the community weren't systematically marginalized from the official discussion because we are not seen as worthy by the powers-that-be. I love working through the gray areas of issues, but we never seem to be able to get that far. We should never confuse our frictions and factions with vibrant debate.