The Old Addresses of Chicago

Chicagoans: The next time you give directions to your friends, you can thank this guy - Edward Brennan - for making it a little bit easier.

Before 1909, addresses were generally designated by the branches of the Chicago River. Although it was simple, since the river doesn't flow in a straight line, it would easily confuse people. This got even more confusing as Chicago expanded and annexed the surrounding land. Soon after the turn of the century, Brennan, who was a building superintendent, decided it was time for a change. Finally, after 8 years of planning with the city, the new system was implimented in 1909 (and in the Central Business District in 1911).

Over 100 years after the switch, many residential buildings still display their old addresses (along with their current ones, of course). The majority are in stained glass above the door, but some are set in stone. The largest density of these old addresses is in Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park. Check out this map to see where all of them that are known are located. If you know of any more, please leave a comment!

Some of the streets have also been renamed. Keep in mind that some streets that are currently one name all the way east to west and north to south were sometimes over a dozen different names depending on your location. This 1904 map shows the layout of the city.

Current address Address prior to 1909
1107 S. Racine Avenue 350-52 S. Centre Avenue
357 W. Chicago Avenue 120 W. Chicago Avenue
1729 W. Superior Street 604 W. Superior Street
1805 W. Superior Street 640 W. Superior Street
1829 W. Superior Street 662 W. Superior Street
910 N. Hoyne Avenue 363 N. Hoyne Avenue
1051 N. Hoyne Avenue 464 N. Hoyne Avenue
1115 N. Damen Avenue 486 N. Robey Street
1121 N. Damen Avenue 494 N. Robey Street
1138 N. Wolcott Avenue 532 N. Lincoln Street
1355 N. Hoyne Avenue 632 N. Hoyne Avenue
1363 N. Hoyne Avenue 640 N. Hoyne Avenue
1422 N. Hoyne Avenue 667 N. Hoyne Avenue
1554 N. Hoyne Avenue 727 N. Hoyne Avenue
1559 N. Hoyne Avenue 732 N. Hoyne Avenue
2218 W. Walton Street 564 Cornelia Street
2228 W. Walton Street 572 Cornelia Street
2530 W. Augusta Boulevard 730 Augusta Street
2533 W. Augusta Boulevard 733 Augusta Street
2012 W. Cortez Street 122 Cortez Street
2013 W. Cortez Street 121 Cortez Street
1701-03 W. Division Street 245-47 W. Division Street
1958 W. Evergreen Avenue 97 Evergreen Avenue
2146 W. Caton Street 51 Columbia Street
2159 W. Caton Street 62 Columbia Street
2139 W. Pierce Street 82 Ewing Place
2146 W. Pierce Street 85 Ewing Place
1726 N. Cleveland Avenue 285 Cleveland Avenue
1923 N. Bissell Street 174 Bissell Street
1835 N. Lincoln Park West 709 North Park Avenue
2314 N. Clark Street 1033 N. Clark Street
2943 N. Mildred Avenue 820 Mildred Avenue
833 W. Oakdale Avenue 1529 Oakdale Avenue
858 W. Oakdale Avenue 1500 Oakdale Avenue
1037 W. Oakdale Avenue 1325 Oakdale Avenue
737 W. Belmont Avenue 1662 Belmont Avenue
649 W. Wellington Avenue 1677 Wellington Street
2014 W. Roscoe Street 344 Roscoe Street
1655 W. Byron Street 703 Byron Street
3815 N. Fremont Street 1400 Rokeby Street
1501-03 N. Sedgwick Street 409-11 Sedgwick Street
517 W. Grant Place 57 Grant Place
1820 N. Fremont Street 41 Fremont Street
1908 N. Fremont Street 93 Fremont Street
1931 N. Fremont Street 110 Fremont Street
1932 N. Fremont Street 113 Fremont Street
2039 N. Dayton Street 346 Dayton Street
2044 N. Dayton Street 351 Dayton Street
2053 N. Dayton Street 360 Dayton Street
2117 N. Dayton Street 382 Dayton Street
2218 N. Dayton Street 435 Dayton Street
2227 N. Dayton Street 446 Dayton Street
2231 N. Dayton Street 450 Dayton Street

You can learn more about the old address system at Forgotten Chicago.

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