In the years after the Great Chicago Fire, Potter Palmer, of Palmer House fame, was one of the first to buy land in what is now known as the Gold Coast. He built a forty-two room, castle-like mansion on Lake Shore Drive, and in the process, ushered in a new era for the area. Undeveloped land quickly became a premium as more and more people moved to the area. Neighbors found themselves in much closer proximity to each other than the earliest Gold Coast residents, and by the 1890s "properties were narrow lots with huge houses built right next to one another." Focus soon shifted to economy of space, and because of this, high-rise apartment buildings were popping up next to the area's mansions and row houses.
Not only is it one of the most affluent residential areas in the nation, the Gold Coast is also a go-to destination for shopping. The neighborhood's boundaries include part of the Magnificent Mile, and many of the other non-residential streets are lined with upscale boutiques and shops that appeal to those in the higher tax brackets.