Piecing Together the Green Mill Puzzle

“Let’s try piecing together same basic facts about the place: Where exactly was it during its early years? And how did that change as time went on? And who owned it?

“What follows is a chronological outline of key moments … supported with cartographic and photographic evidence … and sprinkled with some puzzles and unanswered questions. It’s a tangled and complicated history.

“✶ The pictures above include a photo from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s archives. Taken on June 17, 1930, it shows the Green Mill building. As you can see, a drugstore occupied the building’s corner at that time. And Wolf’s Jewel Shop was at 4802 Broadway, where the front portion of the Green Mill is located today.

“This is one of many pieces of evidence showing that the Green Mill wasn’t located during the Prohibition Era exactly where it is now.

“In the close-up below, you can also see the sign for the Green Mill—above the entrance at 4806 North Broadway, where the Fiesta Mexicana Restaurant is today. That was the venue’s main entrance during this era.

“Let’s begin with a brief orientation on where the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is located today (and where the jazz club has been for nine decades).

“Immediately north of the restaurant, the Green Mill’s iconic façade faces east at 4802 North Broadway. As you walk in, the nightclub’s front portion—including the bar—fills the space north of the restaurant. But as you get farther back, the room widens, extending south to Lawrence Avenue. The bar essentially wraps around the smaller restaurant space.” (Loerzel, 3/4/24)

Read the full story at RobertLoerzel.com


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