A total rebirth doesn’t begin to explain what the River North district in Chicago has gone through. Even to visualize the Phoenix, rising from the ashes, doesn’t do justice to its beginning.
Waterways were the most important mode of transportation for our growing country in the early 1800s. The city of Chicago was incorporated in 1837, sitting on the Illinois River and Lake Michigan. The river was crucial to feed the westward expansion. The district saw the first taverns, the first hotel, the first drug store, the first ferry and the first bridges across the river. Here also is where you will find the streets that honor those first settlers; Hubbard, Kinzie, Taylor, Clybourn and Noble, to acknowledge a few.
The Great Fire
The Chicago Fire of 1871 dramatically changed the port city. With rebuilding River North saw more municipal buildings, warehouses, shipping facilities, and the introduction of the railroad, and many, many railroad tracks. With the addition of many factories and forges the area became known as Smokey Hollow. It was indeed a major transportation hub.
The port as it had become was slowly moved, and with it went the concentration of people. The Smokey Hollow district was vacated from the 1920s to the 1960s. The national economy was also staggering which made the neighborhood lose it purpose after the port left. It became deserted and known as a rough area of the city. It even gained notoriety as the red light district.
Here Comes the Change
In 1964 the change began. Two twin condominium towers called Marina City, both located on the north side of the river, began the commitment to the rebirth. With many neglected and abandoned buildings, low real estate prices and large spaces, the revival took off. Beautiful old buildings were repurposed into galleries, studios, offices, apartments, restaurants and shops. The complexion of the district changed with the introduction of lawyers, architects, advertising agencies, design firms and many other businesses. When a real estate developer in the 1970s wanted to make a final break from the previous seedy nature of the area, he told potential tenants to call it River North.
A Successful Comeback
Starting from the first tavern and hotel, through a fire, railyards, a shipping port, industrial factories, to now being the home of the highest concentration of restaurants and entertainment venues in the city. The district is colorful, energetic during the day with the diverse business offerings to a boisterous and cultured night life. It only falls second to Manhattan when you look for a concentration of art galleries. With all those restaurants and entertainment you will find every type of cuisine covered with sleek nightclubs, wine bars and craft cocktails lounges scattered everywhere. When you visit River North, admire its character, the history, and the terrific district is has once again become.
This is just a fun reminder of the amazing history of the place we call home! If your’e looking for high quality chiropractic care, consider us for your next appointment.
No problem traveling a bit? Check out some of Chicago’s awesome restaurants here!