A New Farmers Market and the Old History of South Loop

south-loop-mansion-stained-glass

Thursday marks the beginning of a new farmers market in the South Loop, an area of the city full of interesting history. Located at the Second Presbyterian Church, the South Loop Farmers Market will feature family farms, artists, food businesses, as well as children’s activities and a cultural performance program. The South Loop has gone through tremendous changes over its history, and the new Farmers Market is another sign of such a currently vibrant neighborhood.

south loop farmers market logo

Before Chicago was even a city, the bloody Battle of Fort Dearborn happened on the beach by 18th Street. Chicago’s currently oldest house, the Clarke House, was built in the area in 1836. It’s now a museum.

The now historic district of Prairie Avenue started as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant neighborhood in the 1850’s, rising to be home to some of the most prominent figures in early Chicago history. Marshall Field resided here, as well as George Pullman, famous for physically raising up the street level of downtown from the swampy land and more so, his high-class train cars. The community had giant mansions with custom-made Tiffany stained glass windows, and the wealth of the residents helped support the building of gorgeous architecture of the churches, including the Second Presbyterian.

tiffany stained glass mansion south loop
Architectural stained glass detail in South Loop mansion

The neighborhood changed with the increase in train traffic nearby, and high society diva Bertha Palmer and her husband Potter Palmer (think Palmer House Hotel) decided to move to the North Side after the Great Fire of 1871. The rest of the Gilded Age wealthy residents followed her lead in the late 1800’s. Starting in 1910, many of the mansions were being torn down. The area had become mostly trains, train traffic, rail yards, and factories.

South of downtown Chicago was home to small and mid-size manufacturing for many decades. Then in the 1970’s, it became apparent to Mayor M. Daley that in order to keep downtown Chicago as a vibrant destination for business and visitors that people had to actually live close to the Loop. Redevelopment pushed out manufacturing and brought in high rise residential buildings and eventually townhouses. In the ‘90s old factories and warehouses were converted to condos.

bridgeport bakery
Savory pies from Pleasant House Bakery

Today the South Loop is Chicago’s second wealthiest neighborhood after the Gold Coast. The new South Loop Farmer’s Market will be held every Thursday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM beginning June 25th through October 8th 2015. Located in the parking lot adjacent to  the Second Presbyterian Church of 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, the delicious vendors include Pleasant House Bakery, Yoberri, Spirit Tea, Brockway Farm, Not Just Cookies, Belli’s Juicer, and Chocolat Uzma Sharif. There will also be collaborations with Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation, which is located in the former Chess Records Studios that we visit on our Jazz, Blues & Beyond Tour for private groups. Performances will also be held monthly among the famous stained glass windows of the Second Presbyterian Church.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

be a
curious
person!

SIGN UP FOR OCCASIONAL UPDATES FROM CHICAGO DETOURS.

Ellen

Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”
Robert
GetYourGuide

Jen

Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”
Heather
TripAdvisor

Elyse

Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.

Anthony

Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.

Marie

Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”
Lorit
TripAdvisor

Sonny

Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K
TripAdvisor

Alex

Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K
Yelp

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F
Yelp

Book a virtual tour

Fill in your details below