01 June 2011

Alexander Lane

Alexander Lane is really little more than a pair of driveways in the midst of the Madison Square townhouse development. In fact, only the townhouses on the north side of Alexander Lane have addresses of Alexander Lane, with those on the south side having Madison Street addresses (the non-garage sides of those townhouses front on Madison Street).

Alexander Lane is presumably named for the developer of Madison Square (and a number of other projects in and around Oak Park), Alex Troyanovsky, aka, "The Russian" (no, really!). Most recently Troyanovsky appeared in the news because of his failed plan to build a four-story condo/retail development at the corner of South Boulevard and Oak Park Avenue which displaced the restaurant Thyme & Honey (now in Forest Park) and Val's Halla Records (no ensconced in the Harrison Street arts district).

16 May 2011

Adams Street

MG 4832

Adams Street continuing from the street of the same name in Chicago is named for the second president of the U.S. A series of streets in Chicago are named for presidents, mostly in order, but Jefferson was banished to the near west side while John Adams took his son's place, with his son being relegated to being represented by an intermittent road with his middle name which in places is little more than an alley.

MG 4833

But in Oak Park, Adams Street manages to run nearly the width of the village. It begins with a cul-de-sac parking lot, as many streets on the east side of Oak Park do, presumably to present a foreboding barrier to would-be traffic from Chicago.

Most of Adams Street consists of the sides of buildings with addresses on the north-south streets that intersect Adams. For the most part, Adams is a pleasant tree-lined street.

MG 4835

There are few buildings with addresses on Adams, although Adams does give a good view into the backs of some buildings. Below, we can see a garage which has had a residence added above it as well as a rather nice sunroom added onto the back of an older home.

MG 4834Many of the buildings with addresses on Adams Street are tacked onto lots which have been split in half with the alley half of the lot getting the Adams address. This is not always a recent phenomenon as this older apartment building demonstrates.

MG 4836

Behind city hall, there's a bit of green space, which despite appearances is not an official park.MG 4837

It's not until we reach Ridgeland Avenue, that we come to the first official park, Longfellow Park, which on this Saturday morning was well-stocked with visitors.

MG 4838No doubt, it was the wonderful spring weather which was marked also by the arrival of new tulips planted in the parkway.

MG 4839

Just past Oak Park Avenue, Adams Street takes a jog to the south, with president Monroe finally getting his chance to be part of the Oak Park street grid (John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson, however, are forever banished).

I found it interesting to note that some alleys leading into Adams Street had, rather than stop signs at the corner, the traffic direction inlaid in tile in the pavement.

MG 4845Because there are so few buildings with addresses on Adams Street, I can safely say that this is the only single family residence with an Adams Street address (everything else is an apartment building).

At Maple Avenue, Adams Street comes to its conclusion, ending just a short block from completely traversing Oak Park.MG 4848MG 4847

03 May 2011


When I lived in Santa Monica, California, I started a project to walk all of the streets of Santa Monica in alphabetical order. I made it up to the D's before my wife and I moved to Oak Park.

Oak Park is a bit smaller and while I had projected the Santa Monica project would take two years if I walked every week, I think I can do Oak Park in a year.

The rules: I'm walking the streets in alphabetical order, end-to-end. I try to do a bit of research before and after the walk to be able to find interesting things to write about and take lots of pictures to help provide some sense of the streets.