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It is common for streets that go through Chicago and beyond into the suburbs to change names once they pass the Chicago city limits. Within the city, however, most (not all) streets typically have the same name when crossing between the east and west or north and south sides. However, nearly every north/south street meeting the following criteria changes names when it crosses between the north and south side of chicago, south of roughly Division:

Any north south street, east of Ashland, which is not a thoroughfare (ie, a street who's E/W coordinates are a multiple of 400):

1600W:Ashland<=>Ashland
1500W:Laflin<=>Greenview
1400W:Loomis<=>Southport
1300W:Lakewood<=>Throop
1200W:(Racine<=>Racine)
1100W:Kenmore<=>Aberdeen
1000W:Sheffield<=>Morgan
900W:Dayton<=>Peoria
800W:(Halsted<=>Halsted)
700W:Orchard<=>Union
600W:Larrabbee<=>Jefferson
500W:Cleveland<=>Canal
East of 500W the north end of streets is in or just north of downtown, but even those change
400W:Sedgwick<=>Stuart (I don't believe Stuart is a thoroughfare)
300W:Franklin<=>Princeton
200W:Wells<=>Wentworth
100W:Clark  (doesn't really exist south of 22nd)
0E/W (State<=>State)
100E:(Michigan<=>Michigan) (Michigan is a thoroughfare)
200E:St Claire/Mies Van Der Roe<=>Indiana
300E:Fairbanks/Columbus<=>Giles/Calumet
400E:McClurg<=>King (McClurg isn't really a thoroughfare)
500E:Streeter<=>Vincennes

Nothing east of Streeter exists on the north side due to the curvature of the lake.

Now, west of Ashland, this is not observered at all, to just name the starting few:

1700W Paulina<=>Paulina
1800W Wood<=>Wood
1900W Wolcott<=>Wolcott
2000W Damen<=>Damen

...etc

Why do the streets east of Ashland (~2.5 miles) all change names between the north and south sides, but the rest of west of Ashland (using roughly Harlem as the west edge: ~7+ miles) not observe the same convention?

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    I'm no expert on Chicago but I would think that it's because as Chicago grew, and new blocks of streets were named, different conventions were applied to naming new sections of streets. The Chicagology site seems to have lots of info regarding street naming and name changes over the city's history. – Steve Bird Dec 9 '16 at 6:38
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    I also am no expert on Chicago, but the first thing that comes to mind in a situation like this is two towns growing together, and keeping the original names? – Ghotir Dec 9 '16 at 14:58
  • @SteveBird that site is great! I haven't yet found the answer to my question but they reference a book called Streetwise Chicago by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee that might have the answer – chiliNUT Dec 10 '16 at 21:30
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    The answer is between 1909 and 1911 as Chicago tried to standardize addresses and street blocks, they also tried to standardize street names. This meant consolidating 100's of street names. Only they weren't consistent. Older better established parts of the city closer to the lake were more successful in resisting the name changes than were the more recently settled western parts of the city. – JMS Dec 12 '17 at 22:40
  • @JMS interesting, do you have any source? – chiliNUT Dec 12 '17 at 23:43
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Really interesting question....

I went through about 8 sources. There are a lot of cool sources on how Chicago laid out it's north south east and west grids around the epicenter of State and Madison Streets in the heart of the Loop. I used to live off of Erie right across from the Playboy skyscraper. I ultimately had to google map the intersections you were talking about so I could visualize the question.

The answer is between 1909 and 1911 as Chicago tried to standardize addresses and street blocks, they also tried to standardize street names. This meant consolidating 100's of street names. Only they weren't consistent. Older better established parts of the city closer to the lake were more successful in resisting the name changes than were the more recently settled western parts of the city.

  • the domu was an interesting read also, had no idea about the madison-roosevelt-cermak-31st 1 mile thing and Ive been living here all my life – chiliNUT Dec 13 '17 at 2:17
  • this site lets you type in a pre-change streetname and returns the new one, and vice versa rootsweb.ancestry.com/~itappcnc/pipcnstreetfind.htm – chiliNUT Dec 13 '17 at 2:18
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    Cool hours of fun. :) – JMS Dec 13 '17 at 3:46

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