Re: Fifth Avenue
Date: July 12, 2014 06:30PM
There is also this explanation:
Q There's a curious street on the West Side called Fifth Avenue, which runs on a weird angle and has no corresponding numbered streets parallel to it. What's the story?
A When what is now the East Garfield Park neighborhood became part of the city in 1869, much of the West Side was open prairie.
According to Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names (Loyola University Press, 1988), the street, originally called Colorado Avenue, was renamed in an effort to boost residential and commercial development.
The new name was meant to evoke the prestige of New York's flashiest shopping strip—a far cry from the modest bungalows, brownstones and warehouses that have come to define the area.
The odd street is also the namesake of a portion of East Garfield Park dubbed "Fifth City."
Peter T. Alter, an archivist at the Chicago History Museum, says the name switch happened around 1890, near the time Chicago beat out New York for the right to host the World's Columbian Exposition fair.
"Perhaps," Alter notes, "that lessened the idea of Chicago being seen as second to New York City."