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Old Posted Sep 22, 2013, 4:27 AM
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Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Originally Posted by DuluthJon View Post
was there ever a 'skid row' in or near downtown Chicago?
The largest Skid Row was on West Madison (and spilled over to nearby streets) between North Western Station and about Racine. It may have been the nation's largest such stretch of residential hotels, dive bars, and junk shops. The last remnants made way for Presidential Towers in the 1990s.

A somewhat smaller row was on South State between Congress and Roosevelt, again with nearby spillover (including the Blues Brothers hotel at Van Buren & Plymouth). The last "cage hotel" in the South Loop, the New Ritz at 1005 S. State, was finally torn down about 2011. There are also remnants of a smaller district on Clark in what we now call River North.

These areas are extensively documented in Donald Bogue's 1963 book Skid Row in American Cities.

There are outliers still, such as the New Jackson Hotel at Jackson & Halsted, or the SROs on Clark south of Van Buren.

The vice districts, such as the 19th century Levee mapped in If Christ Came to Chicago, or the New Levee described in Sin and the Second City, were something a little different, though they were nearby and there was a lot of geographic overlap between cheap hotels for single men and the "rooming houses" where several "actresses" lived.

West Madison Skid Row:

Last edited by Mr Downtown; Sep 22, 2013 at 4:47 AM.
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