Saturday, May 11, 2013

Maxwell St., Tales of Chicago's Lost West Side

Here are a couple of clips that lift up the curtain of urban renewal and give us a look at what used to be. On Chicago's near west side just east of the Taylor Street area is the sprawling campus of the University of Chicago. Before that the area was known as the Maxwell street area from the 1880's to the 1930's it was "Bloody Maxwell" one of the most violent areas of the city as waves of competing immigrant groups battled each other. From the 1940's on it was still a rough area but one more known for the vast open air market and one of the cities centers of blues music that it became most famous for. Anyone that has watched the film The Blues Brothers get a brief taste of the area in the scenes with John Lee Hooker & Aretha Franklin.

Here we offer that a couple of clips that we have just uploaded to our ChiTownView You Tube station. In the first our recent walking tour of the near west side takes us to the old Maxwell St. police station used in Hill St. Blues and the nearby "Dead Man's" corner. The other film is a 2001 documentary that focuses offers some history and tells of the struggle to preserve the area before it was gentrified.

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