Do You Remember These Chicago Name Changes?DuSable Drive will be just one more.

Chicago Name Changes. Photos Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

My family always called it the Outer Drive. As a five-year-old, I remember the traffic jam around the S-curve as my uncle swore his way to Hyde Park for a Passover Seder as the Palmolive Building beacon glowed on us.

Aliotta, Haynes, Jeremiah romanticized it and immortalized it–there ain’t no road just like it…slippin’ by on LSD.

And if it changes–if it becomes DuSable Drive, c’est la vie. I will learn to live with it. After all, it is not the first landmark in Chicagoland to endure a name change, and it will not be the last.

Here, in no particular order, are 10 more-or-less successful name changes in our history.

  1. First, the boomerang: The above mentioned Palmolive Building was renamed Playboy Tower in 1965, but is back as Palmolive since about 2001.
  2. The AON Building, that drab white tower downtown? It started life as the Standard Oil Building, and was AMOCO for awhile, too!
  3. Guaranteed Rate Field, quite a mouthful, was originally New Comiskey Park, but is most fondly remembered as The Cell (U.S. Cellular Field,) home to the World Champion White Sox of 2005.
  4. One exception to c’est la vie. Willis Tower will be Sears Tower FOREVER. ‘Nuf said.
  5. Wonder why O’Hare International Airport’s designation is ORD? Goes back to humble origins as Orchard Field. Though shouldn’t that have made it ORC?
  6. What exactly did Mayor Jane Byrne do to justify renaming the Circle Interchange as the Jane Byrne Interchange. Perhaps she could look down on the jammed junction during the month she “lived” in Cabrini-Green.
  7. Northwestern University’s Dyche Stadium, named in perpetuity for the Dyche family, is now Ryan Field. Go ‘Cats!
  8. Will Boystown really become Northalsted? I’m not betting on it.
  9. Been to 875 N. Michigan Ave lately? What a naming comedown for the late John Hancock Building. Why not talk to Lin-Manuel Miranda and sell him the naming rights to Hamilton Tower?
  10. Drive down Pulaski Avenue much. That was once Crawford, a name it retains as it goes through the northern suburbs.

Names come and go. I won’t fret about another name change in the City of Big Shoulders, Windy City, Second City. It’s how you live it, not what you call it.


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