from the old Chicago Board of Trade Building
(May 15, 1916)
|North end||Lake Shore Drive at 1700 North|
|South end||147th Street, Riverdale|
LaSalle Street is a major north-south street in Chicago named for Sieur de La Salle, an early explorer of Illinois. The portion that runs through the Chicago Loop is considered to be Chicago's financial district.
South of the Financial District, LaSalle Street gets cut off for a while by the Amtrak/Metra Rail yard from Taylor St to 1600 South. It runs parallel to the Rock Island District Metra line. South of 26th Street, it serves as a frontage road for the Dan Ryan Expressway until 47th street, where it merges with Wentworth Avenue. South of 47th, it starts and stops as a local street until it finally terminates at West 147th Street in Riverdale.
In the Loop
The stretch of LaSalle Street and its adjacent buildings in the Loop is recognized as the West Loop—LaSalle Street Historic District. The south end of LaSalle Street terminates at the art-deco Chicago Board of Trade Building, a Chicago Landmark and National Historic Landmark. The LaSalle Street Station commuter terminal is located directly south of the Board of Trade. An art deco skyscraper at 135 S. LaSalle and a modern skyscraper 190 S. LaSalle line the street. One North LaSalle, the former Field Building, Chicago City Hall and the James R. Thompson Center are located within the Loop on LaSalle Street.
The street was nicknamed "The Canyon" due to the tall, steep buildings that lie on both ends of the relatively narrow street, with the Chicago Board of Trade Building as the abrupt end of the apparent box canyon.
The Rookery Building is a historic landmark located at 219 South Lasalle Street. Completed by John Wellborn Root and Daniel Burnham of Burnham and Root in 1888, it is considered one of their masterpiece buildings. It measures 181 feet (55 m), is twelve stories tall and is one of the oldest standing high-rises in Chicago. It has a unique style with exterior load-bearing walls and an interior steel frame.
LaSalle was one of three streets in Chicago to have a tunnel under the Chicago River, the other two being W. Washington St. and W. Van Buren St. Constructed in 1869-71, the 2000 foot long tunnel alleviated interruptions from bridge openings due to heavy river traffic and served as an escape route during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Originally open to only pedestrians and private vehicles, the LaSalle tunnel was turned over to cable car companies in the 1880s, since it was impossible for cable car systems to span the movable bridges. Closed in 1906, the tunnel was deepened and reopened to electric street car traffic in 1911-12. The tunnel was closed permanently in 1939 to make way for subway construction.
North of the river
Moving north from the Loop, the street crosses the Chicago River using the La Salle Street Bridge. In the Near North Side, 300 North LaSalle is located on the north banks of the Chicago River, one block east of the Merchandise Mart. On the corner at Chicago Avenue, LaSalle is adjacent to the entrance of Moody Bible Institute. The street ends 10-blocks north, in Lincoln Park, just passed intersecting North Avenue, where Moody Church stands on the east side of LaSalle. North of the river, the city's signage refers to, "LaSalle Boulevard," between the river and North Avenue. Between North Avenue (where it picks up Illinois Route 64 until its north end) and Lake Shore Drive, the signage refers to, "LaSalle Drive."
In popular culture
The street, Chicago Board of Trade Building, and 200 North LaSalle were used in the 2005 film Batman Begins and its sequel The Dark Knight. The view facing south down the canyon has been used in the movies The Untouchables, Public Enemies, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Road to Perdition. The canyon was in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
- LaSalle Street Council
- McClendon, Dennis. "Tunnels". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- "Filming Location for Batman Begins". Retrieved 2007-02-25.
- "The Buildings of Batman". Retrieved 2007-03-14.
- Media related to Financial District, Chicago at Wikimedia Commons