|Chicago: Commuting in the Walking City in 1854
Chicago in 1854 was still a walking city for most of its residents. The town's small spatial extent and the wide scatter of job sites ensured that the streets daily teemed with pedestrians going back and forth about their business. For many, work and residence were at the same address: retail grocers, for example, generally lived above their stores, to be close to their neighborhood customers. Wholesale grocers, whose warehouses lined South Water Street in the heart of the business district, accumulated enough wealth to live away from the bustle in the elegant section running south behind Michigan Avenue. Not one lived north of the river, perhaps to avoid dependence on risky bridge access to their premises. Bankers likewise lived removed from downtown, some perhaps a carriage ride away, but most less than a twenty-minute walk from the office.
The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago © 2005 Chicago Historical Society.
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