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South Loop Story

 

The Chicago neighborhood of the South Loop has been steadily increasing in popularity, driven by its proximity to the loop as well as the lakefront and Grant Park.  With attractions such as Soldier Field, the Museum Campus, Burnham Harbor, McCorrmik Place, China Town, and Buckingham Fountain to name a few, it is easy to understand the neighborhood's appeal to visitors and prospective residents alike.  Bordered by the Loop to the north Lake Michigan to the east, the Stevenson expressway to the south and Canal Street to the west, the South Loop is now a major player in the city's residential and business plans for the next decade.  The South Loop is home to several historic districts such as the Historic Prairie DistrictThis is an area steeped in Chicago's history. In 1812, the area was the site of the so-called Fort Dearborn Massacre, where hostile Indians attacked a band of European settlers. Following the Great Fire of 1871, this became the city's most fashionable neighborhood, home to the Armour, Field, Kimball, and Pullman families and once referred to as the "sunny street that held the siften few." Although many of the mansions were demolished in the mid-20th century, the remaining buildings provide a sense of the street's former character. Two individual Landmarks are located within the Prairie District: the Clarke House and the Glessner House.  Chicaog's Historic Motor Row can also be found in the South Loop.  In 1905, Henry Ford arived first and a fleet of other car makers soon followed in his tracks:  Buick, Hudson, Cadillac, Marmon, Locomobile, Pierce-Arrow to name a few.  All built elegant showrooms along a stretch of south Michigan Avenue and nearby arteries that became known as Motor RowToday Chicago's Motor Row remains unique.  And unlike other cities where such districcts were leveled when dealers exited for the suburbs, Chicago's row is still mostly intact.  It is seeing a resurgence of new residential and commercial development that promises to revitalize the area while maintaining its original historic structures and ambiance.  Printer's Row, also known as Printing House Row, is an official landmark district located in the south loop.  The signature street is Dearborn Street where the annual Printer's Row Book Fair is held. Originally, the buildings in this area were used by printing and publishing businesses.  Today, the buildings have mainly been converted into residential lofts.  The south loop is teaming with residental hot spots like Museum Park, Central Station, and the Dearborn Park communities, all being suported by shopping, restaurants and great entertainment.    

Just north of the South Loop is The Loop which locals call the historical center of downtown Chicago. It is the second largest downtown business district in the United States, after Midtown Manhattan. Bounded on the west and north by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, and on the south by Congress Parkway, the lack of space shaped an architectural style dominated by high-rises. Notable buildings include the Home Insurance Building, considered the first skyscraper, to the Sears Tower, the tallest in the United States. Some of the historic buildings in this district were instrumental in the development of high-rises. Chicago's rational street numbering system originates in the Loop at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street, reflecting the central role the district has played in the entire Chicagoland region.  This area has a wealth of shopping opportunities, although it competes with the more upscale Magnificent Mile area to the north, and with suburban shopping malls. It includes Chicago's famous Marshall Field's department store, now Macy's, a traditional favorite for viewing Christmas window displays, and the original Carson Pirie Scott store, closing soon.  It is the location of a number of government buildings, including City Hall / County Building, the James R. Thompson Center, the Richard J. Daley Center, and multiple federal buildings. Chicago's Downtown Theatre District is also found within this area, along with numerous restaurants and hotels.  Chicago has a famous skyline which is home to many of the tallest buildings in the world. Unlike densely packed Midtown Manhattan, Chicago's skyline is spaced out throughout the downtown area, giving it a graceful bridgelike appearance. The Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building, lies at the west end of the Loop in the heart of the city's financial district, along with other buildings, such as 311 South Wacker Drive and the AT&T Corporate Center.   The Loop contains a wealth of outdoor sculpture, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, and Jean Dubuffet. Chicago's cultural heavyweights, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Goodman Theatre, the Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera House building, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, are also in this area, as is the historic Palmer House Hilton hotel, found on East Monroe Street.  Chicago's lakefront, which is almost exclusively recreational park area from north to south, features Grant Park in this downtown area. Grant Park is the home of Buckingham Fountain, the Petrillo Bandshell, the Grant Park Symphony (where free concerts can be enjoyed throughout the summer), and Chicago's annual two-week food orgy, the Taste of Chicago, where more than 3 million people "pig out". A recent addition to Grant Park is the architecturally forward Millennium Park, which opened in the summer of 2004, featuring a Frank GehryAnish Kapoor "Cloud Gate" sculpture and spanning what were formerly open railyards on the city's lakefront. 

Columbia Collegge and the School of the Art Institute bring many young artists and students to the South Loop. Chicago's Museum Campus is the cultural anchor of the neighborhood and attracts an abundance of tourists and culture-seekers to see the world famous Field Museum & Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planitarium.   Created by the $110 million relocation of Lake Shore Drive, Chicago's new Museum Campus opened in June 1998 with a goal to be recognized as one of the most innovative, cultural playground in the country. Called "one of the most significant additions to the Chicago lakefront in generations," by Chicago's mayor.  The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago. They are currently members of the Northern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Bears have won nine American Football championships (eight NFL Championships and Super Bowl XX) trailing only the Green Bay Packers, who have twelve. The Bears have the most enshrinees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with twenty-six members.  The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team that plays on the South Side of Chicago,Illinois. The club is in the Central Division of the American League. They are the 2005 World Series Champions, and are managed by former team shortstop and 2005 AL Manager of the Year Ozzie Guillén.  Transportation in the South Loop is a snap, with access to Metra, the El Blue, Red, Green and Orange Lines, and CTA busses on many major streets. The South Loop also has I-90 on its western edge and I-41 along the lake shore, as well as I-55 to the south.  And if all of that transportaion is not enough, you can reach Midway International Airport in 15 minutes from the South Loop.  One does not have to look far to understand why the South Loop neighborhood strongly appeals to visitors and prospective residents alike. 

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