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Ryan81 Mar 22, 2008 2:09 AM

Historic Chicago
I am creating this in hopes that people will contribute other historic pictures of the chicago skyline. I found most of these (on my first post) at where they may be purchased. There are also a couple by Art Sinsabaugh.

I'll get it started...please post any historical skyline shots you have or can find.

Ducov Mar 22, 2008 4:54 PM

Yay!!:hyper: been waiting to find a thread like this for so long!

Here's my contribution, all photos from the Charles W.Cushman collection from the the good people at Indiana University Archives.
Taken mid forties.

These are from the late 50's.

Early 60's:

Ryan81 Mar 23, 2008 3:55 AM

:previous: AWESOME!!!!! Thankyou For that!

A few more......
Comisky Park 1913
Lincoln and Robey 1910
State Street 1905
Wacker 1928

Grumpy Mar 23, 2008 4:11 PM

:eek: this is a mind blowing thread :eek:

Ryan81 Mar 23, 2008 5:14 PM

Tribue Tower 1924
Originally Posted by ethereal reality in the Chicago Spire Thread.
1930 shot before Lake Shore Drive Built.
Wacker and Dearborn 1950
1964 From Van Buren L Stop
Marina City Construction

GioFX Mar 23, 2008 7:40 PM

WOW, Chicago is such an amazing city, I love old pics of supercities like Chicago.

Beautiful pics!

:tup: :worship:

SolarWind Mar 23, 2008 8:43 PM

This is nearly the same vantage point 78 years later. I took my picture last Friday.

treras93 Mar 23, 2008 9:27 PM

Not to many but here's a few i found

Sorry they're not bigger

here is link to where i got most of them

Wrightguy0 Mar 24, 2008 1:11 AM

Amazing town, but very gritty, I know many of those towers started out white, the Mather tower looks almost black in one picture

NewDetroit1 Mar 24, 2008 2:32 AM

how many of those old towers were torn down?

Ryan81 Mar 24, 2008 2:58 AM

Another Set...
The FIRST City
1893 Worlds Fair
McCormic Plant 1907
From Majestic Building c1907
1908 Jackson Park
US Army Tournament, Grant Park 1910
1918 Sept 8
1918 Sept 15
1921 Soldier Field...Not a skyline, but interesting...
1929 July 27 Cubs Field
1933 Century of Progress

cbotnyse Mar 24, 2008 3:15 AM

awesome thread. I love it.

Thundertubs Mar 24, 2008 4:39 AM

Ridiculous thread.:worship:

My parents wedding reception photos from 1972 prominantly feature the skeleton of the Standard Oil (Aon) building going up in the background out the windows.

aaron38 Mar 24, 2008 2:04 PM

Damn this is a massive thread, it's going to take a while to go through it. Kudos to everyone who's posted.
And I've never seen a picture of the Hancock under construction, thanks for posting that one Cbot.

One of the things that struck me was, I've stayed in the Allerton Hotel before, now it's a small building that's lost among the skyscrapers, but it used to be one of the tallest in Streeterville. A building you never even notice anymore used to be a fixture of the skyline.

cbotnyse Mar 24, 2008 2:22 PM

Nowhereman1280 Mar 24, 2008 2:26 PM

Are they dumping extra snow into the river?

cbotnyse Mar 24, 2008 2:43 PM

ethereal_reality Mar 24, 2008 9:12 PM

Marina City 1968, pre IBM

ethereal_reality Mar 24, 2008 9:17 PM

the beginnings of Illinois Center 1968. above: notice the lights for the Wrigley Building on the small brick building in the foreground.
a rare shot of the northern side of the Prudential Building. You can see a
South Shore Line train emerging from beneath the building.

ethereal_reality Mar 24, 2008 9:28 PM

Looking south towards Grant Park,
the future site of the Aon Building (Standard Oil Building)
You can see a bus traveling elevated Randolph Street
This would almost be your view from AQUA (in 1968)

Soaring_Higher Mar 25, 2008 12:03 AM

January 1943. The waiting room of Union Station in Chicago
Jack Delano -

South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago. May 1, 1943
Jack Delano -

UNION STATION - Adams and Canal

State Street in 1907

Navy Pier 1915
Public Domain


Soaring_Higher Mar 25, 2008 12:41 AM

much of these are from the SSC threads

1915 South Water Street


Chicago River 1937

Civic Opera - 1930's

Late 1930's or 40's

State Street - 1941

Disco Dance Night – Comiskey Park 1979
May not count as ‘historical’ but it happened several years before I was born, so its historical to me.


GVNY Mar 25, 2008 6:22 AM

bnk Mar 26, 2008 12:50 AM

Looking back 50-80 years or so the buildings had an awefull amount of soot on them, most likely due to coal burning. Just look at the older white buildings like the Mart and compare them to today. Were they washed or were they cleaned by nature?

BigKidD Mar 26, 2008 12:58 AM

Great thread. Yet, does anyone know what the dome building is that is nearly in the center of the photo below?

spyguy Mar 26, 2008 1:12 AM

^Chicago Federal Building, demolished in the 60's.

Pru Mar 26, 2008 5:42 AM


Originally Posted by bnk (Post 3439247)
Looking back 50-80 years or so the buildings had an awefull amount of soot on them, most likely due to coal burning. Just look at the older white buildings like the Mart and compare them to today. Were they washed or were they cleaned by nature?

They were sandblasted if I'm not mistaken. (Used to see that a lot back in the day; haven't seen that done in a long long time; I guess there's no need anymore.)

BigKidD Mar 26, 2008 8:35 PM


Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 3439307)
^Chicago Federal Building, demolished in the 60's.

Thanks for the reply. It looks like it was quite a building,

Goody Mar 26, 2008 9:42 PM

damn that's cool

everything is sooo dirty, christ thats creepy looking

SJPhillyBoy Mar 27, 2008 12:08 AM

Fantastic Pictures! Love the housing photos in Ducov's post.

cbotnyse Mar 28, 2008 7:32 PM

I wanted to link this thread from SSC. some really amazing Old Chicago photos in there.

Whynottaller Mar 28, 2008 11:12 PM

What is the name of the white, boxy building?

cbotnyse Mar 28, 2008 11:42 PM

^^ Unitrin building. I dont really care for it.

ethereal_reality Mar 29, 2008 12:04 AM

Unitrin.....absolutely awful.
...on the far right in the 2nd photo is The Executive House,
same time period....kinda cool.

Wrightguy0 Mar 29, 2008 1:19 AM

Executive house kind of made Mather look less slender, It's too big for what's next door IMO

i_am_hydrogen Mar 29, 2008 4:51 AM

River North before it was wiped clean in many areas by the scourge of urban renewal (unknown photographer):

Jibba Mar 29, 2008 8:55 AM

^You REALLY need to stop posting photos like that unless you want me to tear every last hair out of my head. Man that is just achingly beautiful.

Bergenser Mar 29, 2008 2:34 PM

This thread is gold, it has showed me how great Chicago's skyscraper
history are.

harryc Mar 29, 2008 2:54 PM


Originally Posted by cbotnyse (Post 3447116)
^^ Unitrin building. I dont really care for it.

I like the UNITRIN building - I had offices there back in the dot-com boom. The lobby is gorgeous marble and connects(ed) through to the Jewelers building ( a real gem ). It also has a usable ( as in sitting ) facade on the front. We had 3/4 of a floor, with it mostly open ( no cubes !) and the views were spectacular. The penthouse floor ( with it's own elevator for the last floor up ) is laid out with a hallway around the outside, and glass walled office or conference rooms which have a view out, without blocking it from everyone else. Sadly this was storage space in the 80's.

The Jewelers building does not allow photography in the lobby, so shoot quick.

harryc Mar 29, 2008 2:57 PM

From soaring higher

Unbelievable that these gems are all still with us, looking better after switching from coal to gas, and a cleaning. These are what makes Trump Tower look soo good.

Ducov Mar 29, 2008 6:40 PM

From the National Library of Congress,

Photographs by Jack Delano, 1940's.

Soaring_Higher Mar 31, 2008 2:33 PM

I am very fascinated with old trains and Chicago. Delano's photos really capture it perfectly.

Complex01 Mar 31, 2008 6:26 PM

These pics are just amazing. What a city i have to say. A very awesome thread...


cbotnyse Mar 31, 2008 7:37 PM
^^I think Aero Park is now Midway airport, not sure though.
^^ Jim Colosimo was Chicago first organized crime head. He was murdered by Jim Torio, would brought in Al Capone from NYC to take over.

ethereal_reality Apr 1, 2008 2:57 AM

Here is an aerial view of the Loop in 1938. The dome of the Federal building
(destroyed in the late 1960s) can be seen in the center of the photograph.

...and also the lakefront 1938.

if you see RED Xs for these photos....hit the refresh button. They're quite large.

James2390 Apr 1, 2008 6:49 PM

This is the best thread of all time. It's amazing.

I was going to ask about that domed building (Chicago Federal Building). I've never seen pics of it before. It's a shame they tore it down.

Rusty Staub Apr 2, 2008 1:19 PM

Are those two huge structures (one west and the other northwest of downtown) water tanks or towers? Those things are a couple of hundred feet tall!

Ducov Apr 2, 2008 3:53 PM

^ Gas works I guess.

Aerial skyline shots from this time are always amazing.

Soaring_Higher Apr 2, 2008 5:29 PM


awesome shot

ethereal_reality Apr 2, 2008 6:43 PM

Rusty Staub and Ducov
Here's a photograph of one of the tanks you guys mentioned, taken in 1929.

...and this is the reverse of the photo.

You guys should check out the thread I started under
buildings and architecture:

I think its cool that you noticed such a small detail (the tanks)
in that 1938 aerial shot.

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