Chicago Street Names Guide; History Of The Street Names Included

Hi Everyone!

One of my library colleagues shared a link with me to a very useful resource from the Chicago History Museum.  If you have any Chicago ancestral connection, you will want to save this link.

The Chicago Street Guide resource is a 201 page PDF file compiled in 1948 by William Martin that allows you to discover all of the streets of Chicago as well as to understand some of the history behind how the street was named.

The guide gives you information on where a street is located by using the “hundred” street guide e.g. 1800 West, 1800 North, as well as giving you information on how long the street runs from north to south or east to west etc.

If you have ancestors living on certain streets and addresses that you already know, you may want to look at the guide to gain some further deeper insights on the street itself.

I grew up on “North Paulina Street” in Chicago.  This is a sample description of the street contained in the guide:

Paulina St., 1700W 1 to 7759N 1 to 9200S. Named after Paulina Taylor the wife of the subdivider Ruben Taylor. Ashland Ave., Commercial St., Forest Ave., Houston St., Jones St., Page St., Ridgeville Rd., 2nd St., Stinson St., Van Buren St., Wright St., Eulette Ave., Schiller Ave.


I found this to be a very useful resource to gather even more historical background on the lives of our Chicago ancestors and the streets they lived on in Chicago.

You may also see for a particular street a long list of additional names of streets at the end of the listing for the one particular street.  I contacted the Chicago History Museum to ask what this meant because the guide itself did not have an introductory page that would have explained all the nuances contained in the guide.

They did respond to my query with additional information that indicated that if you see this added list of streets it signifies this is a list of former street names for the street in the list.

You can find this great resource from the Chicago History Museum at:

Chicago Street Guide from the Chicago History Museum

Take a look at it.  Bookmark the address of the site for future use, or download the PDF to your computer or even flashdrive to have with you when you need it.

Enjoy the resource.  Thanks to my colleague Tom for sharing this with me.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

2 responses to “Chicago Street Names Guide; History Of The Street Names Included

  1. What a great resource! I grew up on the “old” west side near the U of I Circle campus, and both my paternal and maternal families have been in the same general area since the late 1800s…S. Aberdeen St., Miller, Polk, W. Flournoy, etc.. Some of the names have changed over the years (like Sholto becoming Carpenter) and this will be a terrific cross-reference for pinpointing where they may have lived.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Luci,

      I think this is an absolute great resource for Chicago ancestral research.

      I am so glad the Chicgo History Museum has this information and it so available as a PDF file.

      Knowing this was available and that I could share the information about it made me very happy!

      You are obviously enjoying it and that is all that matters!

      Tony Kierna
      Genealogy Coordinator
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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