'Picturing Logan Square' showcases turn-of-the-(last)-century images | Bleader

Thursday, July 31, 2014

'Picturing Logan Square' showcases turn-of-the-(last)-century images

Posted By on 07.31.14 at 02:00 PM

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According to Logan Square Preservation president Andrew Schneider, this was taken in 1915. The Green Star Inn was, in his words, a cabaret of mixed reputation.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • According to Logan Square Preservation president Andrew Schneider, this was taken in 1915. The Green Star Inn was, in his words, "a cabaret of mixed reputation."
Anyone who's lived in Logan Square for more than a handful of years will talk your ear off about how much the neighborhood's changed. A new exhibition of historic photos puts those anecdotes to shame.

"Picturing Logan Square," organized by Logan Square Preservation and opening this weekend at Comfort Station, showcases roughly 150 images that span 70 years, from the 1890s through the 1960s. One of them, a 40x50-inch aerial photo from 1929 that looks east down Logan Boulevard, is so detailed that "you can almost walk down the street and see individual cars and horses on the road," according to Logan Square Preservation president Andrew Schneider.

Taken in 1936, this showcases some of the horse-drawn lines that ran up Milwaukee before the Blue Line was built. You can see the Charles Lange 7 Bros. Buick Dealership in the background.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • Taken in 1936, this showcases some of the horse-drawn lines that ran up Milwaukee before the Blue Line was built. You can see the Charles Lange 7 Bros. Buick Dealership in the background.
The images on display, many of which haven't been shown to the public before, have been acquired over the last few years, according to Schneider, who cocurated the show with David Keel. It's an amalgamation of garage-sale finds, eBay purchases, and a few pictures from institutional collections, such as the CTA's or the Art Institute's. He says while many older buildings are still standing in the square, the photos really give a sense of how much was demolished to make way for the el train.

"Photos give context to what's in Logan Square today and the built environment, and what's gone," he says. "There was a tremendous automobile sales district in Logan Square from Fullerton and Milwaukee, almost every building along Milwaukee north to Logan Square had some auto sales or service use. The Discount Megamall used to be Chevy and Packard dealerships. A three-story dealer showroom with a five-story tall clock tower and a large neon sign that said Buick was torn down to make way for the el station."

Another photo Schneider believes was taken in 1915, this showcases a home on the southwest corner of Logan Square.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • Another photo Schneider believes was taken in 1915, this showcases a home on the southwest corner of Logan Square.
In addition to the photos, "Picturing Logan Square" will also showcase an oak chandelier from the Norske Club, a fraternal organization that was connected to the Norwegian Lutheran Church located at 2614 N. Kedzie. The club, formerly located at 2350 N. Kedzie, was an institution in its own right, at one point hosting Roald Amundsen, the South Pole explorer. (For those wanting to learn even more about the neighborhood's history, the church will be showcasing images and historical artifacts as part of its "Norwegians in Chicago" exhibition.)

"Picturing Logan Square" opens Saturday, August 2, with a reception on Sunday from 3-6 PM at Comfort Station (2579 N. Milwaukee). The show runs through the end of the month and features a variety of tours and special events.

This photo was taken by someone standing just about where the Illinois Centennial Monument is today, facing southeast, after the Metropolitan Elevated was built in 1895.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • This photo was taken by someone standing just about where the Illinois Centennial Monument is today, facing southeast, after the Metropolitan Elevated was built in 1895.

An early photo, estimated to be from around 1900 or slightly earlier, shows a view of Logan Square looking west, before the Illinois Centennial Monument was erected in 1918.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • An early photo, estimated to be from around 1900 or slightly earlier, shows a view of Logan Square looking west, before the Illinois Centennial Monument was erected in 1918.

According to Schneider, the building at the end of the roadway in this image is where New Wave Coffee now stands. The buildings on the right are now condos. This was taken before buildings were demolished to make way for the Logan Square Auditorium, built in 1908.
  • Logan Square Preservation
  • According to Schneider, the building at the end of the roadway in this image is where New Wave Coffee now stands. The buildings on the right are now condos. This was taken before buildings were demolished to make way for the Logan Square Auditorium, built in 1908.

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