State Street (Chicago)

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State Street
0 East/West
Location Chicago
From North Ave (1600 N)
To New Monee Road, Crete (25900 S)
The crossroads of Chicago's address system at State and Madison Streets

State Street is a large south-north street in Chicago, Illinois, USA and its south suburbs. It begins at North Avenue, the south end of Lincoln Park, runs south through the heart of Downtown Chicago, and ends at the southern city limits, intersecting 127th Street along the bank of the Little Calumet River. It resumes north of 137th Street in Riverdale and runs south intermittently through Chicago's south suburbs until terminating at New Monee Road in Crete, Illinois. Its intersection with Madison Street (41°52′55″N 87°37′40″W / 41.88206°N 87.6278°W / 41.88206; -87.6278) marks the base point for Chicago's address system.

History[edit]

Chicago - State Street at Madison Street, 1897
State Street in 1907
State Street looking north.

The northern portion of the Vincennes Trace or Vincennes Trail, an Indian trail which ran some 250 miles to Vincennes, Indiana, was called Hubbard's Trace or Hubbard's Trail since it connected Chicago with Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard's more southerly trading outposts. It took on the name State Road after some state-funded improvements.[1] Vincennes Avenue, one of Chicago's rare diagonal streets, is a vestige of the Vincennes Trace, and further south the trail eventually became Illinois Route 1. In its early days, State Road was unpaved and known for having mud so deep it could allegedly suck down a horse and buggy. In the late 1860s, Potter Palmer embarked on efforts to raise the profile and prestige of State Street. He enticed Marshall Field and Levi Leiter to move their prosperous and growing department store, Field, Leiter & Co., to the corner of State and Washington Streets in 1868, and he built his own Palmer House hotel nearby in 1870. The historic Chicago Theatre is also located on State Street. It was lit by Commercial Light Company in 1958, making it – according to the Chicago Tribune – the brightest thoroughfare in the world.[2]

State Street shopping[edit]

Chief of Staff of the United States Army Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and other officials during May 24, 2008 Memorial Day parade on State Street

State Street became a shopping destination during the 1900s and is referred to in the song "Chicago," sung by Frank Sinatra where Frank refers it to "State Street, that great street." In 1979, Mayor Jane Byrne converted the downtown portion into a pedestrian mall with only bus traffic allowed. Mayor Richard M. Daley oversaw the State Street Revitalization Project and on November 15, 1996, the street was reopened to traffic.

During the second half of the 20th century, State Street was eclipsed by Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile as a shopping district. Various projects to restore State Street's glory have been met with some success, and the State Street corridor is gaining residential as well as more traditional commercial development. New York & Company, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters, and The Children's Place have recently opened up flagships on State Street. Borders Books had a flagship on State, but the Borders chain has since shut down. Today, the only two main department store chains that remain are Macy's (the former Marshall Field's flagship store) and Sears on State. The department store chain Carson Pirie Scott closed their flagship store on State Street on February 21, 2007 after over 100 years of business in that location. The Block 37 opened in 2009, bringing with it a large group of upscale retailers to State Street, including Anthropologie, Puma AG, and Zara. On January 12, 2012, Walgreens's opened a flagship location at Randolph Street,[3][4][5][6] where it had previously existed from 1926 to 2005,[7] when construction of Joffrey Tower necessitated its demolition.

Landmarks[edit]

Reliance Building (1890), 32 N. State Street

State Street is the location of many landmarks:

Memorial[edit]

The bridge where State Street crosses the Chicago River is named the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge in honor of the World War II defenders of Bataan and Corregidor including those in the Bataan Death March.

Sources[edit]