WIN: Motor Row Historic District Streetscape Upgrades Complete

WGN interview regarding Chicago’s historic Motor Row – A new book about a lesser known part of Chicago’s rich history. Image credit: Chicago’s Motor Row by John Hogan and John Maxon

“A South Side neighborhood once known for its fancy auto dealerships now has a pedestrian-friendly look thanks to city investments.

“Michigan Avenue between Cermak Road and 24th Place — part of the area known as Motor Row — has been reduced to three lanes, had its sidewalks widened and received landscaping, LED smart lighting and improved crosswalks as part of an $11 million, multi-year project that recently wrapped up.

“Motor Row also has new benches, trash receptacles and bike racks as part of the project; they’re upgrades that will benefit walkers and neighboring businesses, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday at Revel Motor Row, 2400 S. Michigan Ave.

“Investment in the infrastructure of our neighborhoods is an investment in improving public safety, encouraging economic development and deepening racial equality. They are all intertwined,” Lightfoot said.

“The city wants to install and improve 10 other streetscapes in neighborhoods across Chicago; $584 million will be set aside for streetscapes, from which $146 million will be focused on traffic safety efforts, officials said.” (Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago, 7/7/22)

Motor Row is comprised of a collection of early 20th Century automobile architecture by architects including Holabird & Roche, Alfred Alschuler, Philip Maher, Albert Kahn, and Christian Eckstorm. It was also home to The Chicago Defender, a important newspaper which served Chicago’s African American community.

As a vibrant music hub, Motor Row was home to Chess Records which during the 1940s recorded blues and rhythm and blues and later gospel, soul, jazz, rock and roll. Motor Row was designated a Chicago Landmark on December 13, 2000.

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

South Loop’s Motor Row Gets $11 Million Facelift; Mayor Lori Lightfoot championed the project as one of the city’s tools to “enhance public safety” by protecting pedestrians, Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Block Club Chicago, 7/7/22

Chicago’s historic Motor Row – A new book about a lesser known part of Chicago’s rich history, Ashley Bihun, WGN Radio, 5/12/22


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