May 04, 2011

The Outer Drive

 A Lake View Perspective
It was difficult for me to distinguish the story of two major roadways that route through Lake View particular during the 19th century when both North Lake-Shore Drive and Sheridan Road were planned for the future. While Lake Shore Drive would eventually be routed through most of the City of Chicago along the existing lake shore, Sheridan Road would be routed from the northern tip of Lincoln Park, the park to Milwaukee, Wisconsin closely linked to the existing lake shore in only few areas of Illinois and Wisconsin. Lake Shore Drive & Sheridan seem to merge at one singular area of the City of Chicago – Lake View from Belmont Avenue to just north of Grace Street. Names changes complex the story of both roadways particularly in Lake View. After the death of General Sheridan, the city council honored him by changing the name of North Lake-Shore Drive (correct spelling at the time) to Sheridan Road while Lake View Avenue became Sheridan Road from Diversey Boulevard to Belmont Avenue by the late 1890’s. In 1931 Sheridan Road from Belmont to just north of Grace would be called, once again, North Lake Shore Drive – locals call it inner Lake Shore Drive so to distinguish the outer drive from the so-called inner drive. Both roads were meant for leisure travels with a horse & carriage and not for overwhelming traffic congestion of the modern automobile – trucks are banned on Lake Shore Drive.
1942 Belmont Bridge Overpass 
that final link to the 1937-42 WPA project
View of the north side from the Water Tower
19th century photo - Chicago History in Pictures
It Started with a Man and a Dream
photo - Chuckman Collection
Lake Shore Drive postcard 1905 - CardCow
Potter Palmer & Bertha Honore Palmer
photo - Chicago History Museum
Lake Shore Drive began as a self-interest dream of a man who dominated the business community in Chicago throughout the mid to the late 19th century owning most of the property on State Street. His name was Potter Palmer. His wife, Bertha Honore, was a personality of her own right.
Map view of the land north of the City of Chicago
photo - University of Illinois Digital Maps 1872 
showing the existing shoreline before the construction of Sheridan Road & Outer Drive
The Township/City of Lake View (1857-1889)
with Fullerton Avenue as its south border with Chicago
The Dream
A Drive along the Shoreline in 1857 
(click to enlarge article)
A Proposed Route is Discussed in 1867
Meeting to Extend LSD to Diversey 
through Township of Lake View in 1871
(click to enlarge article)
North-Lake Shore Drive Northward
I will try to map out an evolution of the first Lake Shore Drive that began at the Palmer Potter Estate to Lincoln Park, the park and then to Grace Street in Lake View Township that would later involve a Midwest storm in 1929 that destroyed the original road and lakefront property. From that storm (there were two that year) and from Great Depression a new and wider/longer Lake Shore Drive would emerge. The evolution of the Outer Drive still continues with plans to extend it further south as well as re-inventing it for modern mass transit. 
In the late 19th century until the Depression era of the 1930's North Lake-Shore Drive was piecemealed together. The most noticeable division was in the park, Lincoln Park. There was no direct route from south of the park to the north of the park. the meandering roads were narrow & meant for leisurely strolls and horse drawn carriages. The encroachment into the park and into Lake View Township from Fullerton Avenue to Diversey Parkway allowed both representatives of both Chicago and Township (1857-87) and then City of Lake View (1887-89) to join the Lincoln Park Commission that was established by the State of Illinois in 1869. The commission mission was expand the park, Lincoln Park and the Drive northward. This commission was charged to negotiate with private lakefront landowners for permission to landfill along the existing shoreline and later construct Lake Shore Drive through and north of the park. 
Below are some map images of the of the encroachment into Lake View Township. 
These images below are from 
University of Chicago Collection 1888.
 notice the park north Fullerton Avenue which was the southern border with the City of Lake View (1887-89)
The Park's Views
Lincoln Park, the park, in the 19th century
image - Detroit Publishing
Before the Park Expansion in 1872
The northern border of the City of Chicago at the time was Fullerton Avenue, the southern border 
with Lake View Township
 a split view image showing furture northern border of the park and below the future southern border of the park
If you look on the right along the black wave (the lake) 'Boulevard Proposed' is marked indicating a planned extension road along the lakefront as of 1872.
In the Beginning 
Shortly after 1882 Potter Palmer finally coerced the city to build a street adjacent to his lakefront estate so to enhance his property's value located at 1350 North Shore Drive. No one ultimately refuse one of the wealthier members of Chicago social scene. Initially, Mr. Palmer petition the city to name the drive after him and ... failed but he did get his Drive that began at about Oak Street & ended near Division Street,
The Palmer Estate
1250 North Lake Shore Drive 
1885 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
Illustration - Wikipedia
the horse and carriage by entrance
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Chicagology
 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Art Institute of Chicago 
Description of the House in 1882
His workplace
This is what Mr. Palmer owned - The Palmer House 
1909 photo - Chuckman Collection
Potter Palmer
image - Art Institute of Chicago
The Chicago Tribune article below indicates the Town(ship) of Lake View was interested in connecting North Lake-Shore Drive through the township via Lake View Avenue with a narrow strip of land-road called 'New Breakwater Carriage Drive and Sidewalk' - View the map below this article.
1882 Discussion to link the new drive to the 
Lake View Township via Lake View Avenue
image - University of Chicago Digital Maps zoomed
with a reel footage from Digg (at 50 seconds into it) 
of what I believe heading north on to Lake View Avenue
Views of the park 1887 the year annexation - Ebay
The 'Breakwater Carriage Drive and Sidewalk' was later bridged so to link LSD beyond the park to the northward
1905 photo - Ebay 
1886 Meeting to extend Lake Shore Drive into 
Lake View Township toward Evanston Township
At the time Devon Avenue separated both townships
The original plan was to link Lake Shore Drive to Fort Sheridan in Haywood, Illinois. By 1893 this linked road from Lincoln Park north to Fort Sheridan was renamed in honor of General Sheridan who died in 1892. The Lincoln Park Commission, established by the State of Illinois who had Board of directors from both the City of Chicago & the now District of Lake View was to not only to plan for the park's expansion northward but the roadway that would be built along side it. 
An Account of 'the lake shore drive'
Chicago and its Suburbs by Everett Chamberlin 1884
“The lake shore drive is one of the finest improvements in or about Chicago and when completed will afford a carriage way 200 feet wide extending from Indiana street to Evanston twelve miles The whole surface will be graveled and as hard and level as a floor It is already completed as far north as the Marine Hospital in Lake View The superior advantages of this magnificent the pleasant scenery along its borders its elevation overlooking the lake and course near some of the most interesting improvements in the city and country these and other attractions will induce those who wish and can afford handsome sites to settle along its borders Already quite a number of our wealthier class have tracts on which they will build superb houses and it will be but few years before nearly all of the available ground will have been improved in the manner. Land along this drive has doubled in value in a short time It will increase four fold in the neighborhood of the city within a few years more.”
1899 The Other Residents along the Original Drive 
South of Lincoln Park, the Park
(pre 1909 addresses)

- Chicago Daily Tribune via Chicago Public Library online

The Original Homes along the Drive
Another resident on Palmer's North Shore Drive was 
William Wrigley, Jr., chewing gum manufacturer & owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. His family estate was located at 1200 North Lake Shore Drive. 
1927 photo - Chicago History Museum 
The Drive south of North Avenue in 1907 from Ebay
Estate of Edith Rockefeller McCormick
1928 photo - Chicago History Museum
The Franklin MacVeagh Residence
1400 N Lake Shore Drive
 built between 1885-87
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
The George Woodruff Apartment
1500 N Lake Shore Drive
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
The North Lake-Shore Drive 
probably between Oak Street to North Avenue-1885ish?
photo - Chicago History Museum
 towards Fullerton Avenue, the end of the line
both photos - Chicago History Museum

photo 1900-ish from Suicide Bridge

 The High Bridge later referred to as Suicide Bridge was built in 1894 until 1909 - Man in Five  
North Lake-Shore Drive and its boardwalk - Ebay

postcard - Ebay 
Breakwater Carriage Drive and Sidewalk - mailed in 1908

Notice the cobble stone street!

A Mansion on Drive in 1875
once located in Lake View Township on Barry Avenue 
yards from the existing lakefront/original Drive
About this residence in 1875
 
Plans to extended beyond Belmont 1886
1904 Lincoln Park was land-filled northward 
Area just south of Diversey (Blvd) Parkway in 1905
(notice the railing fence for the boardwalk) 
This fence extended apparently to Grace Street.
postcard - Ebay
Notice the bridge over the drive that connected the lake with the land mass west of the Lincoln Park lagoons. It was called 'High Bridge' later to be coined Suicide Bridge after daily loss of life from the bridge during the last decade of its existence
Images of the Bridge from Ebay
Postcard from Suicide Bridge (1894-1909) probably looking north along the lagoon in 1908 - Ebay
Postcard from the High Bridge south of Fullerton Avenue
image - Chuckman Collection
Fullerton Avenue Northward ...
The segment of North Lake Shore Drive 
near Fullerton Avenue
1927 photo - Chicago History Museum via Explore Chicago
Cruise boats docked near Fullerton Avenue 
near the end of the existing park, Lincoln Park
1929 photo - Chicago History Museum

Description within postcard reads ...
"park from North Avenue to Cornelia Avenue"
The caption from the above postcard reads ...
'Lincoln Park is located on the north side, 
being the largest in Chicago. The total area is 600 acres, the water surface alone comprising 140 acres. It extends along the lake front form North Avenue to Cornelia Avenue. Near the center of the park is the Zoo containing 2,300 specimens of animals, reptiles & birds. At the Dearborn Street entrance 
is located the St. Gauden’s bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, which is regarded as the best likeness of the War President in existence.'
Before the Great Depression of 1929 the expansion of Lincoln Park landfill ended at Montrose Avenue minus the harbor. When the Depression engulfed the nation the construction and development project took a pause for a few years. The expansion of North Lake Shore Drive would again begin in earnest after the worst of the Depression was technically over ... between the years of 1937-1942 with stimulus monies from the federal government (WPA). This five year project would also created a newer Drive along the lakefront and a newer designed park, Lincoln Park.
image - Mark Reiner via Chicago Historical-Facebook
 A Bond Floated to Expand LSD in 1925
One of several bottlenecks along the roadway. The other was Sheridan Road by Melrose & the Drive
 
More talk of expansion in 1925

photo - Chicago History Museum
A view of the 'new Lincoln Park Driveway' (outer LSD) merging with cars along inner LSD along with a view of the former Belmont Hotel & Lockby Apartments 1927
1926 Dedication of LSD from North to Belmont Avenues
(click to enlarge segments of this article)

'double drive' meant Sheridan Road & the Outer Drive
page 2
The new Lincoln Park Driveway (Outer Drive) 
at Fullerton Avenue in 1927 
along with the original location Signal of Peace monument
Chicago History Museum via Explore Chicago
Construction North of Irving Park Road
View from Sheridan Road and the landfill for the newer 
North Shore Drive (outer LSD) just south of Irving Park Road 1928 photo - Chicago History Museum
1928 The Plans for an Overpass for the New Outer Drive
Landfill to Monstrose by 1929 before the Great Depression
colorized & enhanced view of the landfill for the Outer Drive 
1928 photo Calumet 412
This is the best & enhanced edited view I have seen of landfill formation for the outer drive & the park space. The beach at the end of the Drive was called Clarendon (public) Municipal Bathing Beach that adjoined Wilson (private) Beach just directly north of Montrose Avenue.  
The build out of Montrose Harbor 
photo - Marty Swartz: Living History of Illinois and Chicago
 construction of the outer drive 
somewhere near Montrose - guessing?
1929 photos - Chicago History Museum
 The Storms of 1929 
the Damage to the Drive
Lake Shore Drive was hit by a 'one-two punch' in 1929. First came the April as wells as in October and then the October economic collapse. That year the Drive was destroyed and land-fill expansion of the park was at a financial stand-still. 
a sample of the turbulence of the lake against the shoreline The powerful waves of the lake feet away from the High Bridge/Suicide Bridge
photo - Chicago History Museum
A two major storms hit the lakefront in 1929 in the Midwest & in Chicago - the October storm was the worst. That one destroyed property along the lakefront including Potter Palmer's original North Lake-Shore Drive along with the existing street end-beaches. After the storm the U.S. government engineers needed to resolve the existing & the volatile lake water levels of the past decades along with the storm damage that destroyed public & private property along the lakefront. The other issue was Lincoln Park, the park, was the link between the south & north segments of LSD. The park & its meandering walkable roads were redesigned during the early by 1940 to accommodate for the wider street lanes, high lake water levels and more traffic. 
The Spring Storm of 1929 
(click to enlarge article)
 page 2
The October Storm of 1929

Both storms completely destroyed the simple & leisurely 
roadway and boardwalk along most of lakefront. The photos below tell the tale of destruction along the lakefront from North Avenue to Belmont Harbor. The roadway link through the park that connected North Lake-Shore Drive south and north of the park to Belmont Avenue - 'Breakwater Carriage Drive and Sidewalk' was totally destroyed by the crashing waves of the lake. 
photos from Chicago History Museum or
Ravenswood Lake View Community Collection

North Avenue Field House
unknown source
unknown source
Damage in Belmont Yacht Harbor
photo - Chicago History Museum
View more photos of the damage along the lakefront
As a side note: The storms still cause damage to the lakefront no matter what man-made changes are made as a day in October 2014 can attest.
 photos - Active Trans LFT
This storm of 2014 not only destroyed bike & running paths but traffic was an issue according to this Vine video feed with a host of photos above from Twitter account called 
Not the First Time Either
But this was not the first time Lake Michigan decided to make war with the man-made modifications with this article below telling that story.
The Lake tried to reclaim man-made expansion
several times since it's creation
Traffic Congestion made Better in 1935
 part of same article ...
Plans for the Folk-in-Road
image - Ebay

View of Diversey Harbor & Belmont Harbor beyond that
view before the expansion & extension of the outer drive - 1930 photo - Calumet412
view of Lincoln Park extension to Wilson Ave. early 1930's
with views of Belmont & Diversey harbors in the distance
photo - Darla Zailskas via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
The Expansion is Begins







WPA Project 1937-1942
After years of economic stagnation - stimulus
View and listen about the WPA and their mission.
After the storms & before the WPA project 
of the near north-side to North Avenue 
1930 photo - Man on Five
Sheridan Road towards Diversey Parkway from atop the Park Lane Hotel in 1932 view south toward the park
Larry Lund contributor to Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
Traffic Lane Issues in 1934
Belmont Avenue & the original Drive before the 
Belmont Overpass Bridge in 1936
Moving the Drive into Belmont Harbor in 1938
New Traffic Patterns in 1938
The Park was Redesigned 
to Accommodate the New Drive northward
Planning began as early as 1930
1938 view of then existing park design
somewhere in Lincoln Park, the park 
a 1934 photo - Chuckman Collection
A Redesigned Park in 1940 
photo - Chuckman Collection
LSD was widen to 8 lanes
A Passerelles Proposal
but it did not happen
Some plans never get off the drawing board. According to 1940 publication called ‘Chicago Bridges Recording Project’ for the extension of Lake Shore Drive northward to Foster Avenue there was an ambitious plan for the Belmont Harbor area that showed six "ramp type passerelles" or catwalks much like the pedestrian bridge much like the one at North Avenue. This plate-girder construction across North Lake Shore Drive was to be at every other cross street from Briar Place to Grace Street bridging the residents with the shore.
 dfdfd
Illustrations - Library of Congress 
Complaints from local real estate and business organizations resulted in the developers to build only two of the crossings -at Briar Place and Aldine Avenue but as pedestrian subways or in other words not over but under Lake Shore Drive. The only passerelle to be constructed over LSD was at North Avenue - due to the park's greater width at that location and/or perhaps because of the designs’ space & shape that allowed a more elegant arch form of construction. 
photos - Library of Congress
The passerelle design won praise from New York’s Museum of Modern Art by its construction phase 1938-40. 
In the 1937-1942 (WPA) Federal assistance program expanded North Lake Shore Drive (LSD) to Foster Avenue to the north and Jackson Park to the south. LSD is widen and expanded from LaSalle Street to Lawrence Avenue - once called Lawrence Drive at the time.
Bridges vs Subways in 1938
View of Lake Shore Drive northward
with Belmont Hotel in the background 1941-42
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
3400 block of inner Lake Shore Drive
1941-42 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
The two roadways of Lake Shore Drive - Outer & Inner are separated by a narrow strip of trees between Melrose & Grace streets as they are currently in 2017
 The 'folk in the road': Inner LSD (Sheridan Road) towards Lake Shore Drive southbound. Notice that Belmont Bridge was not yet constructed - that was done by 1942.
The separation from inner LSD (Sheridan Road) and the new Outer LSD at Byron Place by 1937. With this amount of landfill indicates to me that this area was originally on a bluff.
Traffic Patterns by 1940 
part of entire article on the subject
The new Outer Drive from Diversey Harbor to downtown 1940's - Ebay
The final link to the Outer Drive was completed with the construction of the Belmont Bridge Overpass in 1941
View of the Belmont underpass - 1941
- North Lake Shore Drive Forgotten Chicago on Facebook
 Lake Shore Drive near Irving Park Road 
morning rush in 1947 
Chicago Tribune Archives via Larry Lund contributor to Forgotten Chicago-Facebook

postcard - CardCow
Description within postcard reads:
'A bird's-eye view of Lincoln Park extension recently beautified by the Chicago Park District. The Outer Drive passes through here with frequent turn-outs leading to the beautiful Waveland golf course, Montrose Yacht Harbor, and great Montrose - Wilson bathing beach.' 
photo - Chicago History Museum
Lake Shore Drive north to Wilson in 1937 during the construction period of years
A 1940 Map of the northward Expansion
Lake Shore Drive to beyond 
Foster Avenue
Lake Shore Drive emptied into Foster Avenue with the 
Edgewater Beach Hotel in the distance in 1938 
photo - Chicago History Museum
The Plan beyond Foster in 1950
aerial view to Foster Avenue
photo - North Lake Shore Drive website
Lake Shore Drive ended at Foster Avenue by 1947
photo - Man on Five via Chicago Tribune Archives
A Story about those Fins

1951 photos - Calumet412
‘Notice the three wide parallel lines that run along the drive. These were called “fins” and could be hydraulically raised or lowered depending on the time of day to regulate traffic patterns.The first photo was taken between 6:30-9:30 am. One fin would be raised, creating 2 lanes of north bound traffic and 6 lanes of southbound traffic. The second photo was taken between 4 and 7 pm, showing six lanes designated as north bound (with three “express” lanes in the center) and 2 lanes as south bound. During non-rush hour traffic, only one fin would be raised in the center, creating 4 
northbound and 4 south bound lanes - the permanent configuration we have today. I imagine this had the potential of creating chaos as the fins appeared or disappeared, but there are many mornings during my standstill commute downtown that I wish this was still in practice!'
photo - vintage tribune on Instagram
In 1957 North Lake Shore Drive was extended to 
Hollywood Beach using debris from the 
Eisenhower Expressway project to merge with 
Sheridan Road as it did in old Lake View.
The Several Names of the Drive
2013-2020 Phase

This idea is based on the need to create more city assets. While the NLSD project redesigns the Drive on existing land the BSC creates more land to the east of the existing roadway into the lake once again as it did in the early 20th century - creating 225 acres of prime real estate. 
It has been done before but can we do it again?
This proposed project involves improvement of seven miles of the 8-lanes of North Lake Shore Drive from Grand Avenue to Hollywood Avenue, including the 12 highway junctions. The junctions are those locations where major cross streets intersect Lake Shore Drive & where access is allowed through the Outer Drive. The project  will continue to evaluate the condition of the 22 bridges and tunnels along the Outer Drive as well as the operation of the Inner Drive.
The Public Meeting Phase
all  2014 photos - Lake View Patch





The Plan for our Lakefront
The NLSD (North Lake Shore Drive) project along the entire northside lakefront established seven task forces with
three geographic subgroups of stakeholders. 
There are the following: 
Grand Avenue to Diversey Avenue Task Force  
This group will be comprised of residents and stakeholders addressing issues from this section of the NLSD project, including the 2nd, 42nd and 43rd wards.
Diversey Avenue to Montrose Avenue Force 
This group will be comprised of residents and stakeholders addressing issues from this section of the NLSD project, including the 43rd and 44th wards.
Montrose Avenue to Hollywood Avenue Task Force 
This group will be comprised of residents and stakeholders who will address issues from this section of the NLSD project, including the 46th and 48th wards organizations. In order to get involved in a project that may take decades in the making. Follow the progress on Facebook.

Stay Tuned for the Future of the Drive!

Post Notes:
In Lake View's history of Drive and Sheridan Road are inseparable - what happened to one of the roadways happened to the other. Read about the blending history of this roadway with Sheridan Road
View the countless photographs of Outer Drive via Flickr. 
Also, view some selective photos of the history of the entire Drive from the Chicago Tribune.
Read with this link expansion further south along the former steel mills of the far southeast side of the city with a plan to create a new neighborhood with this new extension. 


Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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