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Old 01-07-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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From what I read recently, in Chicagos early days, the city sort of grew as three somewhat separate riverside settlements, on different sides of the river, and thus the perception of Chicagos "sides".

Now granted, no one today thinks of the Loop as being part of the south side, even though it is on the south side of the river.

But yet, it wasn't until the building of bigger, better, industrial strength bridges that north Michigan ave. took off.

The early days, and early architecture of the loop grew up with Prairie Ave, and fancy houses further south. So, in a way, I can almost see the entire loop as being "south side"

Likewise, no one confuses the northwest side with the west side, in that the northwest side, is not in the bad shape of the directly west side.

However, most everything west of the two branches of the Chicago river, seems to have always been the most changing, most dynamic/transient parts of the city taken as a whole, with imigrants moving in, and moving out (Polish, Italian, Jewish), etc. Regardless of the condition today.

Do you think the river branches played a larger role in steering neighborhood change, throughout the cities history, more than we realize.
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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Huge, because they weren't just rivers. They were corridors of industry, with railroads on both banks. That meant a huge barrier between the residential districts on both sides. The streetcar lines were originally different companies in the three divisions, and there were a lot of gaps in crosstown service across the river corridors. What we think of as the arterial framework of the city wasn't really very noticeable before 1900 and wasn't complete until the 1930s.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Kent, Washington
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Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
Likewise, no one confuses the northwest side with the west side, in that the northwest side, is not in the bad shape of the directly west side.
No one? Where do you come up with this? No one?!? The boundry between the West Side and North Side is quite ambiguous and lots of people can get confused; Hell, I grew up on the West Side and I'm not sure where the West Side ends and Northwest begins.

I'll betcha we could get a decent thread going here on it.

Anyway the South Branch defines the southern boundry of the West Side. For instance Pilsen and South Lawndale are the West Side and the neighborhoods just south of the them across the river like Bridgeport, McKinley Park and Brighton Park are the South Side.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
No one? Where do you come up with this? No one?!?
No kidding. Particularly newcomers to the city and suburbanites have no idea on the divisions by sides. I mean a week or two ago there was a shooting at like 1500 N. Mason or something and the online article said it was the Northwest Side. Sorry,when did North Austin become the Northwest Side? The author must have been a recent transplant.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:09 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
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I still know people that consider the Loop the Southside...
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
The boundry between the West Side and North Side is quite ambiguous and lots of people can get confused; Hell, I grew up on the West Side and I'm not sure where the West Side ends and Northwest begins.
I always thought once you got west of the river the border was Armitage and once Armitage meets with Grand, Grand takes over as the boundary the rest of the way. Of course, there is no West Side east of the river and north of Madison.

What do you think?
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by grapico View Post
I still know people that consider the Loop the Southside...
Yeah its funny, because City Hall is north of Madison.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Kent, Washington
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Originally Posted by tonythetuna View Post
I always thought once you got west of the river the border was Armitage and once Armitage meets with Grand, Grand takes over as the boundary the rest of the way. Of course, there is no West Side east of the river and north of Madison.

What do you think?

I don't know really. Farther east I always thought of North Ave. as the beginning of the West Side with kind of a sliding scale as you went further west. Your notion is about as good as any; I had buddys who were in the Spectors from Armitage and Crawford and I considered them West Side; kind'a. I mean they wore baggy blues, short gray Cabrettas and trim hair like other West Side guys at a time when North Side guys were still wearing stove pipe pants and duckass haircuts.

Your notion about Armitage and the Grand is about as good as any; without a doubt by the time you got to Diversey you weren't on the West Side anymore; probably Fullerton actually. Like I said, it depended how far west.

Another thing that added to the ambiguity was that it was easier to get to the North Side from the West Side because going south from much of the West Side you ran into Cicero and Berwyn and the busses stopped at 12th St. And to get farther east to buses running south you'd have to go into a Black neighborhood and who wanted to wait for a bus at Madison and Western? And you sure as Hell weren't gonna take the Jackson Park EL anywhere. So the isolation one had from the South Side gave it a stronger definition. But there is a seamless flow from the West Side to the North Side. I could get anywhere on the North Side on the CTA but got lost once trying to get to the Back of the Yards fair.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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I generally use the north branch north of Chicago Ave to distinguish the north side from the northwest side.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Nort Seid
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Originally Posted by tonythetuna View Post
Yeah its funny, because City Hall is north of Madison.
not to derail, but this reminds me of one of the stranger pieces of urban lore I received when I moved to the northwest side from just the plain old north side. anyone else ever heard that property owners are responsible for fencing on the side of their lot closer to City Hall? I'm guessing a century this was the best logic some guy trying to convince his neighbor to build a fence could come up with.

as for where the northwest side begins, let's just go south until we hit gray areas. IMO, Fullerton is a demarcation line which is clearly north or northwest side on both sides, I'd imagine we all concur? Armitage as well IMO, but potentially more debatable as you get further west of Logan Square (at Armitage and Pulaski the city starts to lose a northwest side feel for me, but I don't spend a ton of time around there). I think around North Avenue is actually where it stops feeling north side and transitions into solidly west side, just looking at the architecture and neighborhoods. But I can see Division being a dividing line (and Grand, as is mentioned above I think).
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