Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17, 1905-- Real Estate Is Booming

December 17, 1905 – Looking back over the preceding year, the Chicago Daily Tribune reports that in 1904 the city erected “the equivalent of over forty-seven solid miles of buildings, single frontage, costing approximately $62,000,000.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 17, 1905] Additionally, the real estate transactions for the year totaled approximately $140,000,000.  The construction of apartment houses was double that of 1904, and “despite all these new buildings, builders and agents having them in charge report that they are being filled as soon as completed.”  The southern portions of the city lead the building boom which, the article points out, “simply goes to show what must be accepted as a great sociological fact, that the foreign elements of Chicago’s population, which predominate in the northwest division of the city, are greater home builders and are more attached to the individual home than the more well to do native born element which predominates n the south division.”  Leading the city as far as factory and warehouse construction is the new Sears, Roebuck and Co. plant on Harvard Street on the city’s west side.  In the central business district there were 71 real estate transactions, 30 more than in 1904 and “there is no doubt that they have strengthened greatly, especially in the choicest section of the business district,” where Joseph Leiter refused a $60,000-a-year rental of a small lot at the southeast corner of State Street and Jackson Boulevard which “at the present time … is a trifle startling, to say the least.”  The above photo shows the Sears complex on the west side, designed by Nimmons and Fellows, and begun in 1905.

December 17, 1936 – The Chicago Park District announces a project that will hopefully streamline the traffic flowing through Lincoln Park while providing a new bathing beach and bathhouse for the area as well.  A $1,100,000 grant from the Works Progress Administration is still needed to get the plan going, but when fully funded the project will carry Lake Shore Drive past North Avenue for another half-mile while La Salle Street will be extended from its terminus at Stockton Drive to meet that new section of Lake Shore Drive.  Additionally, a breakwater will be built 1,500 feet from the shoreline at North Avenue, and sand will be used to fill the space between the new breakwater and the shore, creating a new beach.  It is hoped that the new plan will reduce the congestion that has plagued the two lanes of Stockton Drive as it winds through the park, carrying rush hour traffic from both LaSalle Street and Lake Shore Drive south of North Avenue.  The 1934 photo above shows Stockton Drive to the left, winding north past the statue of Abraham Lincoln that today stands below and south of the La Salle Street extension.

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