Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Interpretive Digital Essay : Water in Chicago
Essay: People and the Port
Photo Essays:
Solitary Lives
City of Bridges
Chicago Harbors
Essay: Using the Chicago River
Photo Essays:
Goose Island
Indiana Dunes
Essay: Sanitation in Chicago
Photo Essays:
The Sanitary and Ship Canal
Water-Related Epidemics
Essay: Water and Urban Life
Photo Essays:
Houses and Water
Shoreline Development
Growing Up Along Water
Houses and Water

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Emergence of the Modern Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry Room

Chicago Bungalow

Mass production of plumbing fixtures made it possible for modern kitchens and bathrooms to be part of the building boom in the 1920s. Brick bungalows and two-flats contained appliances that only the wealthy had been able to afford only a generation before.

See also: Housing Types; Bungalow Belt

Kitchenettes, as Described in Chicago Housing Authority Bulletin, March 1941

While contemporary housing included modern kitchens and baths, new migrants to Chicago, especially African Americans, found housing in older apartments that were divided into multiple units and often in very poor condition. These three descriptions provide a view of kitchenette living on the South Side in 1941.

See also Kitchenettes; South Side; African-Americans

Chicago Housing Authority Bulletin, June 1941

When the Chicago Housing Authority was organized in 1937, it hoped to clear blighted, slum areas and replace deteriorating buildings with public housing up to current standards. This included housing units with modern kitchens and bathrooms. Many old Chicago cottages did not meet these basic standards. This announcement about a tour of slum clearance at Larrabee Street and Chicago Avenue in June 1941, reminds the reader that the houses in this district had substandard “under-sidewalk toilets.” Residents had to leave their dwellings to use toilets set next to the sewers under the grade of the street.

See also: Public Housing; The New Deal

Kitchen, Robert H. Brooks Homes, Roosevelt and Racine Street, 1954

The Chicago Housing Authority replaced often substandard housing with new units with modern kitchens and bathrooms. Seen here is a kitchen in the new Brooks Homes on Chicago’s Near West Side in 1954. The low-rise development consisted of 89 buildings. Each unit in the project was equipped with steam heat, hot and cold running water, a kitchen with an electric refrigerator and gas range, and a modern bath. These were seen as great improvements over the substandard housing which stood on this site before slum clearance.

See also: Public Housing; Chicago Housing Authority; Urban Renewal; Near West Side

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