Then and Now

This is a then-and-now look at the Chicago neighborhood near to the site of the Hull House. The 1895 map, on the left, is from the Hull House archives, and maps a section of Chicago, color-coded based on the average household income of each dwelling. The section mapped is bounded by S. Halstead Street to the west, S. Jefferson Street to the east, W. Polk Street to the north, and W. 12th Street (now W. Roosevelt Road) to the south.

What is notable when looking at the then-and-now is how almost all evidence of the 1895 neighborhood, save for the three main east-west streets, has been wiped off the map. The Dan Ryan Expressway, carrying Interstates 90 and 94 through Chicago, cut through the neighborhood in the early 1960s. University of Illinois opened their Chicago campus in 1965, using the area between the Interstate and S. Halstead Street for parking. The eastern part of the neighborhood transitioned into an industrial area, and is now home to several shopping malls.

According to the 1895 map, most families in the neighborhood earned an average of $10 a week. When taking inflation into account, this becomes $280.45 a week per family, in 2018 money. This neighborhood was not a wealthy one, and surely was majority immigrant, as that was the type of neighborhood Hull House was established in.

(Color key for 1895 map is at bottom of page)

Color code for 1895 wage map:

Black – $5.00 and less        Blue – $5.00 to $10.00      Orange – $10.00 to $15.00  Green – $15.00 to $20.00   Yellow – over $20.00

These figures represent the total earnings per week of a family.