A famous street
running south from the Gold Coast
through the near north side
and the Loop
, all the way to the city limits
at the Calumet River
. Referred to as "State Street, that great street" in a Frank Sinatra
lyric. Within Chicago, the street has addresses in 13 zip code
s and extends some 17 miles (27 km).
During its retail heyday in the early 20th century, downtown State Street was the second department store capital of the United States (after New York's Fifth Avenue), and today it remains home to many landmarks including the Chicago Theater, Marshall Field's, Carson Pirie Scott (designed by Louis Sullivan) and the Chicago Public Library's striking new home.
Following the street further south, through what was a railroad yard until the 1990s one passes Dearborn Park, and Central Station, two enormous residential/commercial developments deliberately built like subdivisions with limited access by road (in stark contrast to the rest of the city's open grid streets. These are so different from their surroundings that to older Chicagoans they look as if they might have been dropped there from outer space.
Continuing south under the viaduct of the St. Charles air line we pass close to Chinatown and across the Rock Island Line viaduct from Hilliard Homes (the first of many high-rise housing projects along our route, now all tenanted almost exclusively by destitute African-Americans). These are being systematically demolished in favor of scattered-site developments and voucher programs. The list includes Stateway Gardens, Robert Taylor Homes as the largest of many others.
The area south of Chinatown is known as Bronzeville. It's the home of the Illinois Institute of Technology, a private postsecondary institution which maintains a large campus complete with residence halls and lots and lots of cops. We're alongside the Dan Ryan expressway now (and will remain there for many miles to come.) In Bronzeville we also pass close to Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox.
The neighborhoods south of Bronzeville are less well known to the city's visitors, and to me, owing to the poverty and high crime rate...but I will node more as I learn, so check back.