Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Astor Street District [Wood block alley: then and now]



Wood block alley ...
In the landmark Astor Street District in the Gold Coast area, directly behind Archbishop's Residence [at 1555 N State Parkway] ... is the wood block alley running east and west between State St. and Astor St ..

A reminder of the days when the streets of Chicago were paved with wood blocks and covered with tar ... which led to the fact that "streets were burning" during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The Gold Coast Wooden Alley is one of two remaining wood block alleys in the city; the other is on the 2100 block of North Hudson Avenue ...

POSTSCRIPT..
Woodblock Alley is now gone..

Image taken June 3, 2011..


Woodblock Alley now gone replaced with brick and concrete..
The woodbloack alley has been torn away.
It happened someday in the end of May 2011.

# For Archbishop's Residence.. click here..
# For more on Astor Street district.. click here..
# For more on historic Gold Coast District.. click here ..

12 comments:

Jim Iska said...

Glad you found the wood block alley. It has intrigued me for years.

Great blog, I'm enjoying it very much.

Jyoti said...

Thanks for your comment ... and I am glad this photo could meet your curiosity ...

The City said...

Were these wooden block alleys pre Chicago fire, or post?

Anonymous said...

i have a hunk of this alleys wood !!
i was walkin to my truck after work and there it was .. :)

Anonymous said...

They just tore this alley up yesterday -- I'd love to know why the city tore up something as old and historic as this...

Jyoti said...

Tore up the alley?
That's awful!
Why would they do so?
I would love to know that too

Anonymous said...

There's a plan for restoration of the wood block alley. Good to know it's begun.

Jyoti said...

That's good news..

Why Anonymous though?

Anonymous said...

The City is in the process of restoring the wood block alley. The existing wood blocks that are still usable will be reset in an area adjacent to State Parkway. The remaining area will be replaced with new wood block pavers. Due to new environmental regulations, the new pavers will not be creosote treated and then covered with tar. The new wood blocks will new manufactured form a naturally pest resistant species that will not require preservatives.

Jyoti said...

Why dig it and remove in the first place? Any new develpoments will never be the same as the ORIGINAL wood bloack alley! And original is original is original....

Anonymous said...

WHAT? The alley was a piece of Chicago's history. It predated the Great Fire of 1871. I am from Ohio and searched the alley out to take pictures of it. What happened to the wood blocks?

Norm Kaswell said...

I enjoy reading about historic alleys and streets with Wood Block. My family has been in the wood block business since the early 1940's. We manufactured the new Black Locust blocks for your wood paver alley. Congrats to all those who made it happen, and we're proud to be a part. Norm Kaswell (www.kaswell.com)