Then and Now: State Street and Madison Street

The intersection of State Street and Madison Street was for many years “the world's busiest corner.” It is the starting point of Chicago’s street numbering system. Slide the Time Machine slider bar to see how this intersection has evolved through the years.

1836

“John Calhoun’s Home”
This drawing by Nathan Roswell Gifford from 1906 imagines what the home of John Calhoun, Chicago’s first newspaperman, might have looked like in 1836. Calhoun’s house sat on State Street between what is now Washington and Madison Streets. State Street at that time was the north end of Hubbard’s Trail.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1871

After The Great Fire
Chicago developed at a tremendous pace from 1836 to 1871, and then it was all wiped out.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1878

Rebuilding
Chicagoans wasted no time getting back to business. State Street and Madison Street were coming back bigger and better.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

c.1902

Turn of the Century
In this photo dated “circa 1902 -1907,” it’s hard to imagine that this landscape had been completely wiped out 30 years previously. Note the iconic Marshall Field’s clock, now visible at the center.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1910

“World’s Busiest Corner”
Before the internet, there was the intersection. People were even known to leave notes for each other on the corner of the buildings. State and Madison was the place to be.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1918

Celebrating Armistice Day
On November 11, 1918, Chicagoans came to the corner of State and Madison Streets to celebrate the Armistice and the end of World War I.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

Then and Now: State Street and Madison Street

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