South Loop

One of Chicago's original residential areas, South Loop "was historically home to vice districts, including brothels, bars, burlesque theaters, and arcades," many of which sprung up and prospered around the freight depots and train stations that dominated the landscape in the late 1800s. These stations–Central, Dearborn, LaSalle Street, and Grand Central–made up the southern edge of Chicago's central business district, and they also elevated the city's status in the printing industry because of their convenient location for both for printing salesmen and express shipments.

South Loop fell into hard times with the decline of passenger trains and changes in the printing industry in the mid-1900s, leaving rail yards vacant, buildings abandoned, and store fronts empty. This all changed in recent decades, though, when more and more people began to be attracted to the idea of living, working and spending their time in the same area. "Pioneering architects and developers recognized the potential of loft buildings on Printers' Row, and those were converted to apartments," and even the city's oldest train station, Dearborn Station, was saved and converted into retail and office space. High-rises have also been built in recent decades, new businesses are calling the neighborhood home, and restaurants are filling the streets, making South Loop one of the fastest growing, hottest and most dynamic neighborhoods in Chicago.

Stephen ShanabruchCentral