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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 3:42 PM
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Chicago: Printer's Row

Printer's Row is the area south of the Loop in Downtown Chicago. The neighborhood was originally called the "Levee District", since river trade stopped at the Custom House Levee, and the Custom House Levee Road went through the area. The Levee District was Chicago's red light district, and city officials turned a blind eye to the district as long as people people of good stature were not bothered or harmed, and also if the gambling, prostitution, dog races, and other vices were kept within the district. In the late 1800s, the agreement was broken enough that the mayor chased out the trades, and printing companies began moving in and building structures for their printing houses and bookbinding operations. By the first decade of the 1900s, the area had become known as Printer's Row. When printing became simpler with automated presses and shipping of raw materials in and finished good out became easier through trucking, the district began to decline. In the 1970s, the buildings were rehabilitated, and the neighborhood became a residential and commercial area, with artists moving into the old printing houses, and shops and restaurants opening up on ground floors and in the abandoned Dearborn Station.


Buildings on Dearborn Street at Van Buren Street. The Fisher Building, built is 1896, is on the left, and the Old Colony Building is on the right, on the other side of the elevated tracks.



The Old Colony Building, on Dearborn Street at Van Buren Street. The structure was built in 1894.



Buildings on Dearborn Street. The Manhattan Building, built in 1891, is on the right.



The facade of the Manhattan Building. The Manhattan Building is the oldest surviving skyscraper in the world to use a purely skeletal support structure.



Buildings on Dearborn Street, from Congress Parkway. The Terminal Building is the tallest building in the center.



The Chicago Stock Exchange, on LaSalle Street, with the LaSalle Street Station over Congress Parkway. The Chicago Stock Exchange was founded in 1882 and is the largest exchange in the United States outside of New York City.



The Harold Washington Library, on Congress Parkway. The library is the central library in the Chicago Public Library System, and was built in 1991.



Buildings on Plymouth Court.



Looking up at the Pontiac Building, on the corner of Dearborn & Harrison Streets. The Pontiac Building is one of the four oldest skyscrapers in Chicago, and the oldest skyscraper by architects Holabird & Roche. The Pontiac Building was built in 1891.



Buildings on Dearborn Street. The Donohue Building, built in 1893, is on the right.



The facade of the Donohue Building. The Donohue Building was built by a children's book manufacturer.



The Borland Building, on Federal Street. The one building was built with four separate towers to allow for sunlight for the Transportation Building, and to prevent a skyscraper canyon on Federal Street. The Borland Building was built in 1913.



Dearborn Station, at the foot of Dearborn Street on Polk Street. Dearborn Station was built in 1883 and was functioning by 1885. The station was used by the Santa Fe Railroad and provided service to Los Angeles. Other railroads to use Dearborn Sation were the Erie Railroad, Grand Trunk Railroad, Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, Wabash Railroad, and the Monon Line.



The clock tower of Dearborn Station. Dearborn Station served as the entry point for most of Chicago's immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s.



Printer's buildings on Dearborn Street. The Rowe Building, built in 1891, is in the center, and the Transportation Building, built in 1911, is on the right.



The New Franklin Building, on Dearborn Street at Polk Street. The structure was built in 1912.



The Lakeside Press Building, on Plymouth Court at Polk Street. The structure was built in 1897.



The New Franklin Building, on the left, and the Rowe Building, on the right, on Dearborn Street from Dearborn Station.

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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 4:00 PM
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wow... no settlement is safe from you, matt! this is a really neat area... I love the 1890s skyscrapers!
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 4:29 PM
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great job zxmattzx, I loved Chicago when I went there. The Harold Washington library was only built in 1991! Wow, they did a great job at fitting it in with the city architecture and not making it look one of those ugly 80s retro buildings going on at the time.
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Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 4:34 PM
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Great tour - thanks for the specific call-outs of significant buildings. Nice to see an area that isn't as well-represented as it probably should be on these boards. Can't wait for the Congress streetscape project to get underway to hopefully turn the artery into something other than a stark dividing line rammed through otherwise continuous urban fabric.
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Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 4:37 PM
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I used to work in the building in the first picture. Very cool. I felt like Al Capone.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 5:48 PM
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Chicago is just plain sexy
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 7:02 PM
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The Harold Washington is also the largest public library in the world.
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 8:57 PM
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I spent a lot of time on Plymouth Court back in my college days. My oh my, how the neighborhood has changed!
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Old Posted Apr 8, 2009, 10:01 PM
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interesting tour!
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2009, 3:23 AM
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Printers Row

I lived in both the Lakeside Press Building on the top floor with those huge 1/2 moon windows and on the 2nd floor of the New Franklin Building from 1986 - 1991. Great neighborhood then and now. There is a narrow gauge rail road in the sub basements of all of the buildings that connected each of them and then to Dearborn Station. Moving printing and books. The floors in most of these buildings are 2 feet thick cement to hold the weight of the printing presses. Thanks for the tour - brought back alot of good memories.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2009, 2:55 PM
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Thanks for all the details! Love to know what it is I am looking at the history is the cherry on the cake!
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2009, 6:14 PM
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Nice tour!
This was always my favorite part of downtown Chicago, but I hardly ever went there because you have to cross the awful Congress Street car sewer to get there.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2009, 2:36 AM
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Love the architecture.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2009, 6:46 AM
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Chicago always rocks!
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Old Posted Apr 10, 2009, 6:13 PM
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nicely done sir
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  #16  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2009, 6:47 PM
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Nice pics. . . I lived there for a few years around the turn of the millennium. . .

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Old Posted Apr 11, 2009, 11:33 PM
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Lots of oldie but goodies in this thread! Thanks for the tour!
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2009, 4:37 AM
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Great detailed coverage! In the mid-'80s one of my best friends lived on Dearborn near Congress, and I used to stay with him on my visits to Chicago. His building was right next to a Blue Line station, so it was handy for getting around.

My first train ride to Chicago went into Dearborn Station. It was in 1944 when I was only five years old. My dad worked for General Electric in Decatur, Indiana, and we lived in a tiny rented house there. On occasion he had to make day-trips to Chicago on business, and one time he got me excused from school (kindergarten) for the day and took me along. It was the first time I'd been out before daylight, and we caught the train at the Erie station in Decatur.

It was in late winter and cold, and I have vivid memories of the swirling clouds of steam and the smell of coal smoke and hot brakes as the train pulled up, and of Dearborn Station's high-roofed trainshed after we got off the train, walking past the locomotive as it made sizzling and panting noises from the air pumps.

I even remember my breakfast on the train; it was oatmeal, already congealed to a near-solid lump in the bowl by the time it was brought to me, served with skim milk. For years Dad reminded me of how I called it "blue milk" because of the thin, bluish, watery consistency compared with the whole milk I was used to.

Forty years of memories associated with those photos. Thanks.
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Last edited by Robert Pence; Apr 13, 2009 at 12:09 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2009, 6:23 AM
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I love how heavy those buildings feel when walking around in the area....just over a month and I will be in Chicago for a weekend to enjoy the Cubs and the city...should be just as much fun as last time.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2009, 5:37 PM
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Those buildings all look so solid but still with a gentle touch
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