Section 7 - Narrative Description
The proposed district lies about one mile southwest of downtown Chicago, and is composed of an area equaling three and one-half standard city blocks subdivided by alleys and one-lane streets. Its geographic boundaries are from Roosevelt Road south to Liberty and 14th Streets, and from Union Street west to Halsted and Newberry Streets. This district is comprised of contiguous and scattered buildings separated by some vacant lots, generally creating a wall of buildings along its perimeter. The district is primarily commercial, with Halsted Street being the main corridor of commerce and a major north-south transportation route within the city as well as a segment of a state route (Illinois State Route 1) which originates at the southern Illinois-Ohio border and terminates at Lake Michigan on the north side of Chicago. Adjacent to Halsted is Roosevelt Road which is a main east-west transportation route recently extended to feed into the re-routing of Lake Shore Drive in the mid-1990's. This modification has resulted in redevelopment projects along Roosevelt Road that extend from the recently established Museum Campus on the shores of Lake Michigan at the southern terminus of Grant Park, to the Illinois Medical District at Ogden Avenue. The proposed district is virtually midway between these two points, the western point of which also demarcates the west campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) which extends north from Roosevelt Road. UIC’s east campus is located north of Roosevelt Road and extends west from Halsted, immediately north of the proposed district. The UIC has redeveloped property south of Roosevelt in a recent expansion of a south campus which borders the proposed district, and the properties within the proposed district are included in UIC's current redevelopment plans.
There are 50 commercial and mixed-use buildings in addition to one residential building, one manufacturing building, and two churches within the proposed district, interspersed by some vacant lots. Generally, the buildings along Roosevelt Road and Halsted Street are large and deep, two- and three-story commercial buildings; the buildings along Maxwell, O’Brien, 13th and Union Streets are one-, two- and three-story narrow, mixed-use and residential buildings (with the exception of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church at 1352 S. Union Street and Creative Use Warehouse at 712 W. 13th Street/713 W. O’Brien Street). There are no high-rise buildings in the district; the steeple of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Roosevelt Road is the tallest point located at the northwestern corner of the district.
Vaulted sidewalks are paved and buildings are flush to the sidewalk with street setbacks about 8 feet along Halsted, 10 feet along Maxwell Street, and 12 feet along Roosevelt Road. Street widths are about 35 feet on Halsted, 30 feet on Maxwell Street, and 50 feet on Roosevelt Road. The nominated district includes the 700 block of Maxwell Street which remains extant from the original street length extending from the South Branch of the Chicago River west to Blue Island Street and intersecting sixteen streets, when platted in 1849. This extant street section is the pavement upon which the historic open-air market took place from before the turn of the century to 1994. The intersection of the 700 block at Halsted Street made it a key section of the Maxwell Street Market, and created a cornerstone of Maxwell Street that has remained consistently active throughout the history of the area’s street peddlers and street musicians, through to today. Granite cobblestone exists beneath the current black-top pavement and is exposed in some areas adjacent to the vaulted cement sidewalks. The vaulted sidewalks cover a passageway that connects Maxwell and Halsted Street buildings via basement doorways that lead into the unimproved route below the sidewalk.
The masonry buildings generally date from the early 1880s to the late 1920s and range from tenement dwellings to commercial block-type buildings that are Art Deco or classically inspired. Two 3-story, contiguous tenements at 727 and 729 W. Maxwell bear a flat tar roof and a gable roof, respectively, that are typical of brick buildings built after the establishment of the 1881 municipal fire codes that mandated "...all tenements have circumscribing walls of brick, stone, and other incombustible material." With the exception of the one manufacturing building, the one residence, and the two churches, all the buildings within the proposed district are storefronts, including each extant building on Maxwell Street. Three frame buildings exist within the proposed district and are likely the oldest buildings in the neighborhood, and are typical of the earliest type of construction on Chicago’s west side: 721 W. Maxwell has vertical sawn lumber in wall studs and ceiling joists which indicate construction in the early 1860s during the Civil War era; 716 and 800-808 W. Maxwell are both frame and clapboard buildings believed to predate the Chicago Fire of 1871; 808 W. Maxwell is shown as a stable on Robinson’s 1886 building outline map, the earliest building outline map of the area. The contiguous group of buildings composing the south side of Maxwell Street (711-743 W. Maxwell) present a chronological series of building styles in Chicago and also reflect a chronology of Maxwell Street’s development from a residential to a predominantly commercial street: 721 is the type of residential frame cottage built quickly and cheaply in the 1860s and early 1870s to house incoming populations to the city; 717, 719, 727 and 729 brick storefronts replaced this type of frame construction in the 1880s and 1890s as a result of municipal fire and health codes established for building construction following the Chicago Fire of 1871 to remedy the resultant overcrowded living conditions (due to the combination of immigration rates and the relocation of residents and businesses to Chicago’s Near West Side), and due to the fact that outdoor market activity which occurred along the street made it sensible to build a "store and flat(s)" as indicated on Robinson’s 1886 map so that merchants could live above and behind their stores; 711-715 and 725 were built solely as stores in the early 19-teens and 1920s and reflect the successful commercial viability of Maxwell Street as the site of the open air market (established by a city ordinance in 1912) and the fact that many of the merchants were beginning to choose residences outside of the area while keeping businesses there; and 733-737 and 739-743, built as commercial buildings with storage space, reflect an increased lot size for buildings as they were located near to and at the intersection of the commercially competitive Halsted Street, which maximized property value and resulted in the design of multiple storefronts within a street facade (733-737 has three separate storefronts; 739-743 has three separate storefronts each on the Maxwell Street and the Halsted Street facades). The materials found in the Maxwell Street Market Historic District are typical of their time period and location and are built mostly of brick with stone, terra cotta, metal and cast iron details. Architectural styles range from commercial vernacular to Classical Revival and Art Deco throughout the proposed district, and the south side of Maxwell Street represents a chronology of these building materials that range from the earliest clapboard cottage, to the brick and cast iron storefront, to the terra cotta tile and ornament of the commercial building. The present appearance of many building facades along Halsted Street is the result of alterations from the 1940s and 1950s.
The buildings and streetscapes in the Maxwell Street Historic District represent a significant part of Chicago's ethnic and commercial history and retain sufficient integrity to be listed on the National Register. In spite of alterations and demolition, a large concentration of historic buildings remain that reflect its period of greatest activity and significance, 1870-1950. In addition, there are intact narrow alleyways that border the rear of buildings and provide separations of buildings (particularly south of Maxwell Street), and narrow, one-lane streets as laid out in the original city grid system. Historically, the neighborhood supported a heavy population of street peddlers reliant on horses, mules and carriages, and these alleyways led to stables and small barns (no longer extant), or to out-keeping areas for hitching horses and mules. Liberty Street, W. 12th Street, and W. 13th Street are one-lane streets which are much narrower in width than W. Maxwell and W. O’Brien Streets, while serving the same purpose as a residential street. Liberty Street currently reveals historic cobblestone beneath worn pavement, as does Maxwell Street in certain sections.
Maxwell Street originated at the south branch of the Chicago River and intersected approximately sixteen streets to Blue Island Street. At its eastern end, residential buildings were sparse, and industrial buildings and a few grain elevators existed along the river. Railroads from the south crossed Maxwell Street continuing northward. Three to five blocks westward, Maxwell Street was more built-up and residential dwellings were particularly dense at Jefferson Street. Streets were dirt and buildings were wood frame. Irish and German immigrants inhabited the area, and a few churches were built.
By the late 1890s, peddling activity was well established along Maxwell Street and was particularly active between Jefferson and Halsted Streets.
In reality, the market extended to include the retail stores immediately adjacent to its curbs. "The average merchant moves his family into the back rooms of a tumble-down building, puts wooden shutters on the front windows, and spreads his stock-in trade on the pavement. There is more room for haggling out of doors" (Berkow 1977:10). Realizing the permanence and increased selling capacity of the stores, pushcart men began to establish stands along the streets and to sell from storefronts. This was particularly true with the clothing trade that was booming in the area at the turn of the century, particularly on the 700 block of Maxwell Street and in the vicinity of Maxwell Street along Halsted. Businesses became established along Maxwell and Halsted Streets and Roosevelt Road.
There was a hierarchy as far as shopping: Roosevelt Road had the wholesalers which provided goods to the vendors and merchants in the area; and stores along Halsted Street were basically one price shops with higher quality goods, specialty items and restaurants. Maxwell Street retained its character of small businesses, shops, and residences lined with pushcarts and street stands, but it also had a few small, but very busy, department stores such as Gabel’s, Robinson’s, and Mackevich’s. The neighborhood, which extended from Taylor Street south to 15th Street, and from Canal Street west to Ashland Street, was the most densely populated neighborhood in Chicago. The center of commercial activity in this area was between Jefferson Street (two blocks east of the nominated district) and Morgan Street, and from Roosevelt Road to 14th Street, ½ block south of the Maxwell Street Historic District.
The 7th District Police Station of the Chicago Police Department on Maxwell St. at Morgan was built in 1888 and was the oldest building in use by the Chicago Police Department at the time of its purchase by the UIC in 1994. It is telling that a police station was located here in the late 1880s at a time when rivaling ethnic gangs, primarily Jews, Italians, and Greeks, were beginning to peak in the overcrowded and impoverished neighborhood. The precinct station witnessed more serious crime by more serious criminals following the turn of the century, as described below by a former neighborhood resident, Ira Berkow:
By the 1920s, the Maxwell Street Historic District served the shopper and consumer in various capacities. Street stands and small storefronts along Maxwell Street offered goods and produce in the informal manner of a bargaining bazaar. Halsted Street was more "upscale" than Maxwell Street and was lined with slightly fancier stores, restaurants, and some department stores. "Pullers" were employed by business owners on Halsted Street to literally pull shoppers into the stores (this practice is now discontinued). The second and third levels of most buildings were used as either apartments, offices, shops, or storage. The buildings located at 1262 S. Halsted and 1200 S. Halsted are examples of this arrangement with Manny's Tailor Shop located above MJ Sports in the Chatsman Building, and Irving Federman's office, Attorney at Law, on the second level of Adam Joseph's shop in the Turner Brothers building (respectively).
Eventually, chain stores such as Woolworth's, Kresge's, Turner Brothers, Howard's Style shops, Smokey Joe’s and Karoll's Men's Clothes lined the street. People came from throughout the city to shop for specialty items, rare and imported goods, and bargains in the shopping style that the Maxwell Street Historic District offered. In 1926, the straightening of the south branch of the Chicago River eliminated approximately three blocks of Maxwell Street's easternmost section without affecting the area's commercial activity between Jefferson and Halsted Streets. At the northeast corners of Halsted and 14th St., and at Halsted and Roosevelt, were two of the largest department stores in the area (no longer extant): L. Klein Department Store and the Twelfth Street Store (respectively).
Stores such as Jerry's, Breyer’s and Alan’s Clothing located along Halsted are strong examples of buildings of moderate size but boasting fanciful Art Deco stylistic treatment in terra cotta. In the 1920s, the Halsted commercial strip extended for several blocks south and north of Roosevelt Road, and east and west of Halsted along Roosevelt Road. The Maxwell Street area grossed one to two million dollars per month in sales, and was rated third in sales activity in the city of Chicago, the first being the downtown "loop" on State Street (the Loop Retail Historic District was placed on the National Register in 1998), followed by the shopping area at Halsted and 63rd Streets. (Cutler, Maxwell Street Market Colloquium 1993).
Since the turn of the century, commercial entrepreneurs have continued the tradition of starting out in business by vending on the street at a table or street stand, then opening a small store on Maxwell Street, and then "moving-up" into a larger store on Halsted Street or Roosevelt Road. Many prosperous Chicago area businessmen and businesses got their start on Maxwell, Roosevelt, and Halsted Streets and include Gene and Joe Silverberg of Bigsby and Kruthers, Morrie Mages of Mages Sporting Goods, Chernin’s Shoes, Karoll's Men's Clothes, Keeshin Bus Lines, Vienna Beef, Kuppenheimer's, Meyer Meystel's, Turner Bros., Smokey Joe's, and Pepi's and Flukey’s fast-food restaurants. (Cutler, Maxwell Street Market Colloquium). The Chicago originator of the "zoot suit," Hal Fox, was a band leader who operated a third generation tailor shop in the Maxwell Street neighborhood immediately east of the district on Roosevelt Road (the family business is extant today). Zoot suits were sold copiously in Halsted Street clothing stores in the 1940s and 1950s, within the district.
The intersection of Maxwell and Halsted Streets is famous for its "hot dog", polish sausage and pork chop sandwiches that are found at the two hot dog stands on the northwest corner, and the one stand one block south at Liberty Street. The stands are located in buildings, and Jim’s has been a "landmark" since the 1920s. The tradition of selling hot dogs in this neighborhood stems from the Vienna Beef (formerly Vienna Sausage) manufacturing business which started at 1213 S. Halsted Street in 1893 and remained in the neighborhood until 1972. The company aggressively sought hot dog stand vendors and not only helped them to establish locations but provided advertising for their Vienna products. The young company established their earliest "peddler routes" in the immediate neighborhood of Maxwell Street, which served as the patterning for their city-wide, and later, nation-wide business. Today, Vienna Beef takes credit for the Chicago Style hot dog which originated in the Maxwell Street neighborhood.
The Maxwell Street Civic Improvement Project of 1939 sought to take actions "for the furtherance, improvement, and betterment of conditions as they relate to real estate and business interests...", and was part of a larger campaign inaugurated by the Real Estate and Business Men's Research Institute of America. The project resulted in an effort to standardize push-cart and street stand construction, and to generally beautify storefronts with new awnings and a cleaned-up appearance for a more "modern" look. The character of most Maxwell Street buildings today reflects this "facelift." One of the earliest achievements of the project was the removal of the entry for the Maxwell Street Market as the "Ghetto Market" from the city’s Yellow Pages. The Maxwell Street Merchants Association supported this improvement project into the 1940s, during which time the organization took residence in the building at 720-724 W. Maxwell, (the building, formerly the site of the NABISCO factory, was destroyed by fire in 1999). Their choice to locate their headquarters in the middle of the 700 block of Maxwell Street is telling of the concentrated marketing of general merchandise and clothing on the block. At that time, the block housed multiple clothing stores, Gabel’s department store (733-737 W. Maxwell), a sporting goods store, a luggage store, and a toy store.
The massive migrations of African-Americans from the south began to replace the Jewish community in the Maxwell Street Historic District who had moved north and west by the 1940s. Although Jewish business owners lived elsewhere, they maintained their businesses in the area and were supported by clientele who came from outside the neighborhood. Several of the retail buildings along Halsted were covered by metal siding in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and entrance-ways to most buildings along Halsted were altered. Terrazzo tiled entrance floors display former business names for Smokey Joe’s, Turner Brothers, Wexler Bros., Original Goldberg, Maremont, Chatsman and Goldenberg Furniture, and "1228" and "1226" street addresses. Fire damage accounts for the cosmetic rehabilitation that has occurred to some buildings since the 1970s.
In 1957, Maxwell Street suffered the elimination of its entire eastern segment east of Union Street by the construction of the south Dan Ryan expressway. The area north of Roosevelt was cleared to make way for the new campus of the University of Illinois in the 1960s, and on the east by more recent development of a United Parcel Service facility. In 1966, the Roosevelt - Halsted area was designated a slum and blighted area by the Department of Urban Renewal and the remaining neighborhood buildings began to be removed. The intersections of Roosevelt and Halsted, and Maxwell and Halsted, continued to be the hub of commercial activity and congestion through to the 1980s when Asian-American businessmen joined old establishments along Roosevelt and Halsted, and African-Americans continued the tradition of street peddling. The built fabric of these streets served as the electricity source and stage for Chicago’s first electrified blues musicians. As recent as the 1990s, a permanent stage set up between street stands in front of 729 W. Maxwell continued to support blues musicians during the Sunday market on Maxwell Street (all street stands were cleared as a result of the relocation of the market in 1994), and the street pavement and empty lots continued to serve market visitors graced by wandering blues musicians.
Today, the street pavement of Maxwell Street extends from Union Street to Newberry Street, one block west of Halsted. The area being nominated to the National Register includes the 700 block of Maxwell Street which is bounded by the Dan Ryan expressway on the east and the UIC athletic fields and two UIC athletic buildings on the west. The Barbara Jean Wright Courts (subsidized housing complexes) occupy the westernmost section of Maxwell Street between Morgan and Blue Island (it is no longer a through street). The UIC acquired the Maxwell Street 7th District Police Station (located west of the district at Maxwell and Morgan Streets) in 1994 and it was listed on the National Register in 1996. A UIC parking lot occupies the south side of Maxwell Street west of Halsted. Buildings on Maxwell Street that are owned by the UIC are boarded and/or gated with locks; buildings that are privately owned are still in use by tenants and business owners. Vacant lots that are owned by the UIC for its south campus expansion are fenced in, and privately owned vacant lots are open.
Over the past five years, the Creative Use Warehouse together with Chicago Greens and Maxworks Cooperatives (three nonprofit organizations housed in the proposed district for the purpose of recycling and storage of materials) have collaborated to create, cultivate and maintain a public garden that occupies four vacant lots on the southwest corner of Union and 13th Streets, and also extends into one narrow lot on the north side of Maxwell Street. The Creative Use Warehouse is utilized heavily by Chicago’s museums and Board of Education as a resource outlet and materials repository. The vacant lot on the northeast corner of Maxwell and Halsted Streets that extends eastward on Maxwell Street serves as an outdoor music stand for weekend blues musicians and blues audiences. The performing blues musicians are commonly those who performed at the Maxwell Street open air market before it was relocated outside the area in 1994.
Halsted remains active seven days a week from Roosevelt south to just north of 14th Street. Currently, ninety-two businesses are in operation within the proposed district, ranging from general merchandise, food stands, tailor shops, to clothing and shoe stores. The diversity of these businesses spans the range that has historically existed in the buildings, and indications of former businesses are extant on facades, windows, doorways, and entranceways. "Maxwell Music" remains advertised on the storefront at 729 W. Maxwell, in front of where the blues stage formerly stood. In many cases, extant businesses and buildings are owned and operated by second and third generation members of a family, such as Paul and Bill’s Tailor Shop, Sandy’s Clothing, Breyer’s, Alan’s Clothing, Paul’s Clothing, Al-Rob’s Fashions, Adam Joseph’s Men’s Clothes, and the residence on O’Brien Street.
The wide street width of Maxwell Street and its wide sidewalks have historically accommodated heavy pedestrian traffic, however, today most buildings on Maxwell Street have been purchased by the university which, in effect, has caused the closure of many businesses and substantially reduced foot traffic on the street. Most university-owned buildings were being demolished on Maxwell Street until temporarily halted by a moratorium requested by the organizers of the Maxwell Street Market Colloquium in 1993 (a symposium on the significance of the Maxwell Street Market, held at the UIC); currently, no demolition has occurred in the proposed district since 1997 except for buildings damaged as a result of fire. Paul and Bill’s tailor shop at 729 W. Maxwell and Jim’s Red Hots at 800-808 W. Maxwell (at Halsted Street) still thrive and continue to draw old and new customers since the 1940s. Sidewalk vending continues to occur in front of privately owned lots and in front of the two residences at 716 and 717 W. Maxwell. The Historic Maxwell Street Neighborhood Tour is conducted monthly in the spring, summer and fall by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) since 1996, during which trained CAF docents lead two-hour walking tours of the proposed district. The Historic Maxwell Street Neighborhood Tour is among seven CAF tours selected to participate with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ "Great Places and Spaces" weekend event in May 2000, during which city trolleys will transport tourists to CAF walking tour locations.
The contiguous stretches of historic buildings in the proposed district are along the east and west sides of Halsted Street from Roosevelt to Liberty and 14th Streets, along the south side of Roosevelt Road, and along the south side of Maxwell Street from Union Street to Halsted Street. These buildings and a few scattered buildings (on Union, 13th, and O’Brien Streets, and on the north side of Maxwell Street) are being nominated to the National Register. Many buildings purchased by the UIC, particularly on Maxwell Street and extending one block north and south on Halsted Street from Maxwell Street, have become vacant and are boarded up. Most buildings along Halsted Street are still privately owned, are occupied and maintained, and some have recent improvements. Major interior rehabilitations have occurred at some stores on Halsted Street and most recently on the interior of the residential building at 711 W. O’Brien Street in 1999.
The extant architectural styles in the Maxwell Street Historic District are varied. The architects who contributed to the development of the Maxwell Street Historic District include Henry Dubin, Alexander Levy, Alfred Alschuler, and Merrit Morehouse and David Klafter. Henry Dubin was from a Jewish immigrant family and designed buildings throughout Chicago in the early 1900s. While in partnership with Eisenberg, he designed the Art Deco building located at 1247-1249 S. Halsted, and the Spanish Revival Pollack and Sons building located at 723-725 W. Roosevelt. On Halsted Street, Jerry's Clothing and Breyer’s are fine examples of Art Deco facades designed by Dubin and Eisenberg, and the architectural plans for each are housed in the archives of the Chicago Historical Society. Alexander Levy was very active as an architect in the Jewish community, including the Maxwell Street area and nearby neighborhoods from 1920s through the 1930s. He designed buildings at 701-709 and 729 W. Roosevelt. Also on Halsted Street is an ornate façade designed by Henry Newhouse at 1311-13 S. Halsted, exposed when the metal siding was removed following a fire in the neighboring building in 1998. The eastern (rear) section of 1311-13 S. Halsted became damaged as a result of city workers’ error while attempting to demolish the fire-damaged building next door. Diagonally south across the street from this building on Maxwell Street is a white terra cotta façade suggestive of Art Deco designed by Merrit Morehouse who was trained at the University of Illinois and in Paris prior to the full emergence of this style in Chicago. The building at 1215-1217 S. Halsted with a gleaming white terra cotta facade designed by Alfred Alschuler in 1924, was the operating site of the Vienna Beef company for more than a half-century and was demolished in 1997 after becoming acquired by the UIC. (This was the second location of Vienna Beef on S. Halsted Street where the nationally successful company operated from 1907 to the 1970s, after which it relocated to a larger facility outside the neighborhood on Damen Avenue; Alexander Levy had designed the 1907 alterations to initially convert the storefront for manufacturing purposes.)
With the exception of 733-737 W. Maxwell (designed by Merrit Morehouse), buildings along Maxwell Street are less grand and more likely to have been designed by builders rather than architects. All were built as storefronts and dwellings with the exception of two one-story storefronts built in the early 19-teens. By that time, the commercial value of Maxwell Street was a well-known fact and buildings built solely for commercial use were constructed, if the opportunity presented itself. 717 W. Maxwell, an 1883 storefront building, is noteworthy in that it still has a rear building on the plat. Its façade was redesigned by David Klafter in an ornate brick pattern which bear the initials ("F&B") of the building’s then owners, Farber and Wittenberg, who utilized the building as a store and rented out the upper residence.
The Maxwell Street neighborhood contained as many as forty synagogues at one time (Cutler, Maxwell Street Market Colloquium) and many Episcopal and Catholic Churches, but only two religious structures remain standing today. The Gethsemane Baptist Church was originally built as a frame, German Catholic Church in 1863 and was then converted to a Jewish synagogue by 1898. In 1902 it became the First Romanian Synagogue for the area, until it was again converted to a Baptist Church in 1944. Now covered in brick veneer, it is suspected that the original frame structure exists beneath its current walls; its interior retains its original form. St. Francis of Assisi Church, rebuilt in 1904 in the Romanesque style and constructed of Bedford limestone retains the apse from its original 1866 construction at this site, and withstood a move thirty-two feet south to accommodate the second widening of Roosevelt Road (12th Street) in 1917, and continues Catholic services today to more than 5000 parishioners. The congregation has created its own Preservation Committee and is actively committed to the restoration of the church since its near demolition by the Archdiocese in 1995. St. Francis of Assisi parish is currently rebuilding its rectory and commons immediately east of the church, to replace the structure they elected to raze in 1999.
Between 1983-1992, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks (CCL) conducted a survey of historic buildings, funded with federal money and foundation grants. During that time, this survey cited buildings in the Maxwell Street Historic District with architectural significance defined as a "structure possessing historical or architectural significance in the context of the immediate community." Extant buildings cited on the CCL survey are noted on the list of Contributing Buildings that follows.
In 1994, Archaeological Research, Inc. prepared the Phase One Archaeological and Historical Evaluation of the Maxwell Street Area, as a consultant to the University of Illinois. In the section entitled, "Preliminary Analysis of Integrity," the report states the following:
By placing properties within a broader historic context, one may determine that the practice of demolishing parts of buildings and constructing new additions and facades is consistent with the historic development of the area...This process may result in the determination that some storefronts from the late 1940s and 1950s are significant." (Integrity of Design, pg. 58)
The degree to which the project area retains integrity of materials is an issue that may be worthy of additional research. It is clear that the entire continuum of history of the project area is reflected by the historic materials that continue to be visible. Other historic materials are obscured by artificial siding. In many cases, there is strong evidence that the historic facades are intact beneath the siding. A more detailed field analysis of existing materials would not only yield information about the facades beneath artificial siding. It would also generate additional information about the buildings dating between the 1860s and 1910s that represent layers of construction. (Integrity of Materials, pg. 61)
In spite of all the demolition within the project area, and changes to its setting over time, the area strongly possesses the integrity of feeling...National Register Bulletin #15 defines the integrity of feeling as "a property's expression for the aesthetic or historic sense of a particular period of time (1982:45) (Integrity of Feeling, pg. 62)
In the final narrative section (Conclusions and Final Recommendations, pg. 65), the report states that:
Evidence uncovered in this study suggests that the project area which contains the Maxwell Street neighborhood has sufficient significance to warrant listing as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1994, the Phase One Archaeological and Historical Evaluation of the Maxwell Street Area cited fifty-four buildings as "...contributing features to a potential National Register Historic District." The report also acknowledged that,
...consultation between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is needed in order to determine the fate of this potential historic district.
Six years later at the beginning of the new millennium, forty-four buildings remain as contributing structures to a potential National Register Historic District. The preparers of this nomination form propose that the extant buildings in this proposed district be preserved as part of the university’s plan for redevelopment, and that the UIC’s educational goals include the history of this entrepreneurial, culturally diverse, and ethnically rich area. We consider its longstanding part in Chicago’s history to be a reflection of national movements and developments during its period of significance. Since the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the historic fabric of the proposed district as a part of a much larger area has remained substantially intact and today contains sufficient integrity to convey the historic character of its streetscapes, commerce, and resonating blues music.
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