Are You Foolish Enough to Do It? (Chicago, 1914)

Local opposition, including that of property owners, to many of the Plan of Chicago’s proposals frequently prevented their implementation. Opposition to the Michigan Avenue Bridge was, however, unsuccessful, and as it turned out, somewhat off-target. Property owners along old Pine Street, were concerned about the loss of portions of their property by its replacement with a broad boulevard, but the effect of the bridge was to greatly increase the value of their properties. The cartoon, published by business owners on the northwest side, portrays the bridge as a ploy by State Street businesses (in the Loop, south of the river) to enhance their access to residents north of the river. The bridge was then viewed as a means of  undermining outlying business districts. As it turned out, the upscale North Michigan Avenue shopping and hotel district was one of the first automobile oriented districts of its kind in the nation, and, in time, the “Magnificent Mile” eroded the position of State Street and its department stores as Chicago’s pre-eminent shopping district.

 

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Condit, Carl W. Chicago, 1910-20: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.

Stamper, John W. Chicago's North Michigan Avenue: Planning and Development 1900–1930. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.

“Are You Foolish Enough to Do It?” cartoon from Monthly Bulletin, Chicago, IL, 1914. Edward H. Bennett Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago, Digital File #197301.A000126