Loop Chicago


Then and Now: the intersection of State & Randolph

In today's photographic comparison, we're taking you to the intersection of State and Randolph in 1940, which was a transitional year not only in Chicago but throughout the United States. Emerging from the Great Depression and one year into World War II, the Loop was evolving and growing—fast. A city of immigrants worked to rebuild its infrastructure and economy. Manufacturing and retail skyrocketed with war efforts, bringing women into the workplace for the first time. And railroads and roadways expanded throughout the Midwest. This intersection continues to thrive today, with Macy's and Block 37 as its cornerstone, offering a mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment in the heart of downtown.

Then, 1940

This photo, at the intersection of State and Randolph, captures the midday bustle in what was—and continues to be—one of the busiest cities in the United States. Pictured at left is the Marshall Field's building, and at right, the series of buildings that made up Block 37.

  • Block 37—named for its placement among 58 city blocks—housed one of the first supermarkets in the city, a jewelry store, novelty store, and theater. At the forefront of market trends, the block attracted thousands of people during peak hours, boasting the population of a small town.
  • During this decade, Chicago became the world's largest rail hub and one of its busiest ports by shipping traffic on the Great Lakes.
  • From 1937 to 1956, Chicago streets began their transformation from cobblestone to asphalt due to the weight of World War II manufacturing.

Now, 2012

At left is the former Marshall Field's building, which, in 2006, was officially renamed to Macy's at State Street. Known for its five story atrium, Tiffany & Company mosaic ceiling, and Great Clock, the building remains a fixture on State Street after 130 years. Across the street stands Block 37—a new mixed-use retail, dining, and entertainment destination which opened in 2008.

  • The Marshall Field building has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Featuring an eclectic mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment within a five-story atrium, Block 37 borrows its name from the original 58 city blocks identified in 1830.
  • Of the dining selections offered at Block 37, three of them are exclusive to this location. Beard Papa's, home to the "World's Best Cream Puff"; Magnolia Bakery, the vintage American bakery from Greenwich Village, New York; and Which Wich, offering 50 varieties of customizable sandwiches.

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