Printer's Row

The late 1800s ushered in a new era for the neighborhood that is now called Printer's Row. The neighborhood was seen as Chicago's "Red Light District," and the city started cracking down on the crime and vice in the area during this time. "Developers jumped on the chance to turn the tiny enclave into something habitable and desirable" not long after the area was cleared of illicit activity, and various print houses, wanting to take advantage of Chicago's central location, were quick to move in. With the success of companies such as Rand McNally, M. A. Donohue & Co, R.R. Donnelly & Sons, and the Franklin Printing Company, it wasn't long before Chicago's Printer's Row earned a reputation as one of the most affordable and practical places to print. 

Unfortunately, advances in printing, as well as the need for single-floor offices to accommodate newer, larger presses caused a decline of print shops in the area in the 1950s and 60s. Most printers moved out of the city for the wide open suburbs, and "for several years the stretch of Printer's Row matched the rest of the South Loop," an area filled with unoccupied buildings and lack of community. This changed 1980s, though, when developers began to convert the old buildings into lofts, condos and businesses. Printer's Row was once again was full of activity, and it's proximity to downtown and the lakefront makes it one of Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhoods.

Stephen ShanabruchCentral