I love walking around residential areas of cities and checking out homes and architecture. Much of Chicago’s wealthy Gold Coast neighborhood was originally a Catholic cemetery adjacent to the city’s cemetery at North Avenue which is now Lincoln Park. In the 1860s, the graves were removed, but it was difficult to remove many of the remains. As recently as 1998, construction in the park has revealed more bodies left over from the nineteenth century. Creepy…and cool!
Soon after the cemetery was relocated, the Chicago Catholic Archbishop built a mansion for himself right on the corner of Astor and North Avenue. By the early 1900s, many prominent Chicagoans moved to the fashionable north shore, and the Gold Coast was born. The area’s fascinating Astor Street, which features Art Deco and other design styles, as well as the former homes of Chicago’s most prominent families, gained landmark status in 1975.
Astor Street itself was named after John Jacob Astor, a German fur tycoon who moved to America at the end of the Revolutionary War. According to Forbes, by the time of his death in 1848, he was the wealthiest person in the United States and was worth an estimated $20 million. Adjusted for inflation, his fortune is estimated to be worth anywhere from $1 to $100 billion dollars in today’s money.
View North Astor St., Chicago USA in a larger map