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Chicago…..1951

A Chicago Sun Times photo taken on May 9, 1951, looking west on Randolph street. The photo was taken to report on the street being changed to a one way with the traffic soon traveling west. The theater marque on the right features The Great Caruso, staring Mario Lanza and Gloria DeHaven. The Old Motor photo.

3 responses to “Chicago…..1951

  1. Posted for Dennis M ……That’s Marshall Fields on the left with the canopy and the clock at the corner of State and Randolph. Probably taken from the L station, entrance left foreground with the Checker taxi pulling up in front. A Checker expert can probably identify the year of the cab, but the Nash Airflyte on the right would be a ’49, ’50, or ’51.

    Below the movie banners is the marquee for the Heidelberg restaurant, 16 West Randolph, which was there through the late ’70′s.

    From the Chicago Tribune:
    That elegant establishment opened in 1934 as a spinoff from a popular German restaurant operated by the Eitel family at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933.

    Built by the noted architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst and White on the site of an old wooden warehouse, the exterior of the Heidelberg was designed to evoke the charm of a traditional German village, right down to the benevolent figure of King Gambrinus, the jovial German monarch who supposedly invented beer. During the heyday of the “Randolph Street Rialto,” when glittering theaters and movie palaces crowded the intersection of State and Randolph, Gambrinus, was a familiar figure, popping out of a specially constructed niche to announce the time every half-hour.

  2. The idea to convert Randolph Street to a one way road was part of a more expansive proposal for one way streets in the Loop area in downtown Chicago. The mayor forwarded the plan to the city council for consideration, the motion to pass the changes was held up on July 11th, and the complete plan finally was approved by the city council on October 11th . It was not until November 10, 1951 that the proposed changes went into effect. Randolph, Madison, and Adams became westbound only, and Washington and Monroe became eastbound only. The changes required three streetcar and seven bus lines to be rerouted in addition to minor track work.

    Within the first week of operating the new one way streets several modifications were made to the plan that had been overlooked in the planning stage. A handful of traffic lights needed to be retimed, and a taxicab stand was moved onto an adjacent street. Sixteen crews were sent out to observe how the changes were working, to count vehicle traffic, and to develop suggestions for further improvements. A week after opening the majority of difficulties were eased as drivers and pedestrians became used to the new street configuation. These changes remain in effect today.

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