Historical Spotlight: Printers Row

Long before Hackney’s and Bar Louie arrived at Dearborn and Polk, this area of the South Loop was the printing and publishing center of the Midwest, largely thanks to Dearborn Street Station.

Printers Row is a relatively new residential neighborhood of Chicago. Bounded by Congress Parkway on the north, Polk Street on the south, Plymouth Court on the east and the Chicago River on the west, Printers Row boasts a long history that started in the late nineteenth century.

Dozens of buildings can be found featuring examples of the First Chicago School of Architecture, including the Duplicator Building (1886) and the Pontiac Building (1891). These buildings housed Chicago’s printing and publishing industry and most structures are still known by their original publishing house names.

Dearborn Street Station, completed in 1885, has huge significance to the city as well. It was once the point of arrival for thousands of immigrants to Chicago and a main hub to passengers traveling the great west. The Santa Fe Railway operated through this station, and ran several trains from Chicago to Los Angeles daily. In the early 1900s, celebrities were even spotted catching a ride to the sunny west coast!

Interior view of Dearborn Street Station

Today, Dearborn Street Station houses several retailers and has made its way onto the National Register of Historic Places. As you look around Printers Row, you’ll find that historic structures have been transformed into residential loft condos, boasting their original facade.

To retain a connection to the area’s literary history, Printers Row hosts a Literary Fest every June. For the past 28 years, this festival has drawn booksellers and readers from the entire Chicago metropolitan area. With hundreds of stalls spanning both Dearborn and Harrison, almost any book in any edition can be found. The Lit Fest has everything an avid reader needs including: rare editions, discounted hardcovers, paperbacks and finely bound books. This year, catch the Printers Row Lit Fest on June 9th and 10th.

To learn more about Printer’s Row, visit Explore Chicago.

Roxie Ransom is a Leasing Assistant for The Lofts at Roosevelt Collection. 

Photo credit: Steve Wilson

Suggested Reading:
Historical Spotlight: Myra Bradwell’s Former Home
A Brief History of the McCormick Place 
Tenant Talk: Erika J. Jordan

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Roosevelt Collection is a mixed-use development with more than 340 gleaming, modern residential lofts situated above 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
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3 Responses to Historical Spotlight: Printers Row

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