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The Loop

The Loop
The Loop is a designation for Chicago's central business district that dates from 1897 when the rectangle of elevated tracks --- bounded by Van Buren Street, Wabash Avenue, Lake Street and 5th Avenue (now Wells Street) --- was completed, connecting three train lines. Previously, there had been five networks of cable car lines crisscrossing the central business district, each ending in its own loop around several blocks, permitting the trains to turn around. But the term "Loop," short for "Union Loop," only entered common usage with the completion of the tracks on Oct. 3, 1897. All of the city's elevated train companies merged in 1924, and that entity was sold to the Chicago Transit Authority... Show more »
The Loop is a designation for Chicago's central business district that dates from 1897 when the rectangle of elevated tracks --- bounded by Van Buren Street, Wabash Avenue, Lake Street and 5th Avenue (now Wells Street) --- was completed, connecting three train lines. Previously, there had been five networks of cable car lines crisscrossing the central business district, each ending in its own loop around several blocks, permitting the trains to turn around. But the term "Loop," short for "Union Loop," only entered common usage with the completion of the tracks on Oct. 3, 1897. All of the city's elevated train companies merged in 1924, and that entity was sold to the Chicago Transit Authority in 1949. No other city in the world has an elevated Loop like Chicago. Yet, for much of its existence, it was considered an eyesore. As recently as 1974, Mayor Richard J. Daley, father of the city's present chief executive, planned to demolish the structure. More recently, the downtown elevated structures have been seen by city planners as a striking visual element giving character to the streetscape. From the start, the Loop has been the city's financial, political and governmental center, and its transportation hub. Its fortunes were at low ebb in the 1970s when its large department stores were battered by competition from suburban malls. But, in recent years, particularly after the re-opening of State Street, it has bounced back with new housing and five college complexes inside and around the elevated loop providing fresh blood. Loop is also the name used to designate the much larger Community Area 32 on the city's official map of 77 neighborhoods. « Show less

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