November 24, 2008

The Time Capsule

A neighbor emailed these historical photos of Howard Street. These were before my tenure here.

Old Kiwanis Park -


Jarvis-Greenview Corner


Ashland-Howard and Queens Pantry



The North Coast said...

Until the 70s, the Howard St area was a healthy, thriving middle-income neighborhood that had ample supplies of cheap housing and could accommodate a large number of lower income people with no stress. There was a well-known dress shop on Howard, among many other thriving local businesses.

But it was killed by the forces our government policies of post-WW2 area set loose, as housing subsidies and programs for middle-income buyers, like FHA and VA, drove the development of cheap auto suburbs, in tandem with the massive subsidies for auto ownership, like our interstate highway system, in addition to massive allocations of tax money to build collector roads, widen streets, and otherwise accommodate car ownership. You couldn't get an FHA or VA loan for a place in the city, and these areas were "redlined" by housing authorities BEFORE they became slums. The wave of disinvestment in our cities was a policy decision from on high, and it was well underway by 1970, when our cities started their last leg down the path of destruction.

Our poorest people were left isolated in the cities, as transit deteriorated, and jobs disappeared, having gone to the hinterlands.

Then came subsidized housing projects, and when those didn't work out according to plan, Section 8 vouchers to totally remove incentive to maintain good buildings.

Now we are stuck with a big rebuild job, and in neighborhoods like NOH are starting from a level of almost total decimation in rebuilding the finegrained networks of commerce and stable neighbors that make a real city neighborhood.

mcl said...

I moved to 7710 N. Marshfield in 1975. At that time while Howard Street was a little 'gritty'
there were no vacant storefronts. The Wisdom Bridge Theatre was a destination for people from near and far as was the Violin repair shop. We had an Army/Navy store, Hardware, TV repair, Shoe store, Department store, Woolworth's, food markets, D's Butcher Shop and a number of restaurants, the most famous was La Choza on Paulina. There was a very active group of business owners who made up the Howard Area Chamber of Commerce, which met monthly. The complete downfall and fleeing/closing of these viable stores and businesses can be traced directly to the influx, surge and concentration of low-income, subsidized rental housing NoH, beginning in the mid 80's thru the 90's. As the economic base of the residential area eroded and the criminal activity on the streets began to 'take over', so the merchants and entrepreneurs closed their businesses and fled. If you charted it on a graph, the down fall of Howard Street would be in direct correlation to the loss of the economic base of the residential community from the mid 80's thru the 90's. Until a viable economic base is restored to the residential community NoH, I don't see how Howard street will ever rebound. Replacing store fronts with more subsidized rental housing, as being done at Bosworth & Howard is certainly not the answer.