Getting to Know Chicago’s Famous Streets

Chicagoland locals have driven down them many times. Out-of-towners have probably seen them in movies. Chicago is home to some of the most famous streets in the country, like Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. But plenty of other streets add to Chicago’s rich history, and anyone who spends time driving around the area or using a local car service will likely end up on a few of them. These are some of Chicago’s most famous and important streets and a little bit of history behind each one.

Milwaukee Avenue

This avenue, located just outside of downtown, has been one of the fastest growing roads in the city since before the city even existed! It got its start as a pathway called Indian Trail, most likely used for centuries by animals heading to the waters at Lake Michigan. By 1849, after the local land had been taken away from Native Americans, the roadway was a toll road known as Northwestern Plank Road. The locals hated the toll road because they had no other alternative routes, and in 1890 an angry mob burned down the tollhouse. Just a few years later, streetcars populated the road, and the addition of the Milwaukee Elevated Line train transformed it into a bustling residential and commercial neighborhood. Because of its existence prior to the implementation of the city’s grid system of roads, Milwaukee Avenue runs diagonally to the rest of Chicago’s roads.

Wacker Drive

Named for Charles H. Wacker, chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, Wacker Drive is a unique, two-level road along the river. The upper level is mainly used by local travelers and car services, while the lower level is used for commercial and service vehicles and traffic passing through the city. The road was redesigned and reconstructed in the early 2000s, in an award-winning project that expanded its life by almost 100 years without compromising the original appearance. Car and limo service drivers love to boast about this one to tourists: Wacker Drive was used as a setting in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, and it was the backdrop for the car chase scene in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

Damen Avenue

Damen Avenue has perhaps the most interesting history of all three thoroughfares. During the Chicago Fire, Father Arnold Damen, the founder of Holy Family Church, prayed that his church would be protected from the flames. The church survived, and Father Damen lit seven candles as a token of thanks. Those candles still burn today—in electric form!—and Father Damen became the namesake of what was previous Robey Street. Anyone taking a car service past the church will likely hear their driver say that the building is haunted; many Chicagoans have claimed sightings of Father Damen and strange happenings in the church.

To find out more about car and limo services in the Chicago area and drive its famous streets, call Echo Limousine at (773) 774-1074 or book your car now!