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Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names Paperback – October, 1988

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A comprehensive dictionary of Chicago street names with short entries explaining the origin of the name, if known.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Wild Onion Books; First Thus edition (October 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829405968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829405965
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Johnsen on February 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I refer to this book more than any other in my collection of Chicago books. Every time I find something new or something that I had forgotten. There is no other book like it.

Note to previous reviewers: it is unfair to criticize this book for missing some name changes. It states quite clearly, "This list of street name changes is not complete; it's a selected sample from about 1900 to the present time." And it's wrong to give a book only one star based on an appendix.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ronald S. Sherman on September 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This will be a fascinating book to anyone living in, or near Chicago, and who like me, is interested in the history that is all around us. There is so much of this history in the street names - people, places, stories, changing geography etc. I recommend this to any curious person.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C. O'Rourke on December 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book, detailing all known stories behind all the street names in Chicago. It is both an excellent reference and a fascinating read.

Some have criticized it's lack of information on the FORMER names of the streets listed. First, hundreds of streets were renamed in the 1910's merely to eliminate duplicates. Second, many streets were formerly named differently in several places. To burden this book with sorting it all out would diminish it's usefulness and readability.

I really hope that this book is reprinted so that others can enjoy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hmph on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Such a shame that this book has gone out of print. It's the only one out there that lists every street name in Chicago and the origin of the name. It looks like one reviewer complained that it does not have absolutely every street name in Chicago, or it leaves out a street fact or two. While I don't know all Chicago street names to guarantee that they're all in here, I can say that it seems like every street name is found in this book. I looked up very small, remote, and obscure street names, and I was still able to find them.

The street names go alphabetical, and some street names with a significant history enjoy greater space in the book. For example, Pulaski was originally Crawford, and changed to reflect the pleas of Polish immigrants. The facts in here are fascinating, and I love telling them to my fellow citymates. The only issue I had was that the book doesn't cite any sources. Without sources, how can I trust that the author didn't just make up the origin of some street names?
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By David Blustein on August 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful way of looking at the history of Chicago. The street names are done from famous historical people. Now when I travel on Pulaski Ave, I can feel the contributions to the American Revolution made by the Polish immigrant. There are other facts about the streets that gives one a feeling of belonging, because of the extra knowledge. Well researched and written.
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By K. J. Davis on February 1, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fun book to look up the origin of street names. My whole life I've been curious about how and why Chicago streets are named as they are
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