Old Town didn’t officially become Old Town until the 1940s. During World War II, the triangular area bordered by North Avenue, Clark Street, and Ogden Avenue, which ran up to Lincoln Park until the 1960s, was designated a “neighborhood defense unit” by the Chicago Civil Defense Corps.
The “Old Town” name was used again in 1948 when the same area residents formed the Old Town Triangle Association.
After the war was over, the neighbors maintained the spirit of their community by sponsoring popular annual art fairs they called the “Old Town Holiday," which later became the Old Town Art Fair.
Wells Street is Old Town's main street. In an age when people were fleeing the city for the suburbs and then urban renewal was leveling nearby areas, local small business owners dug in and Old Town became a medley of bohemian artists, trendy shops, flashy tourist spots, bars and taverns, and lots of restaurants. In the late-60s, Old Town became Chicago's hippie haven.
Piper’s Alley was opened in November of 1965 by Rudolph Schwartz and Jack Solomon, owners of the five buildings making up the 15 shops that once made up Piper’s Bakery and stables.
|Charlies General Store|
|La Piazza in Pipers Alley, 1967|
|La Strada Restaurant in Piper's Alley, 1965|
|Chances R Interior|
The Pickle Barrel restaurant offered a small barrel of pickles and a bowl of popcorn at every table and a balloon artist wandering around the restaurant. The Fireplace Inn restaurant and bar featuring charcoal broiled ribs, steaks, seafood.
There was the Paul Bunyan restaurant, bakery (home of the 12" cookie) and Buzz Saw Bar, the Golden Dragon Cantonese restaurant, the Stage Coach Restaurant and Snack Shop, The Pup Room - Red Hots and Hamburgers restaurant, Beef & Bourbon restaurant, La Strada restaurant, Old Town Rib Shack, and least we forget Lum's Restaurant which was on the southwest corner of North Avenue and Wells Street.
|The Fig Leaf and Paper Dress Store.|
|House of Horrors was close to Lum's, across the street from the Emporium.|
|Photo not from the Chicago Ripley's Believe it or Not!|
LIVE - Miles Davis Quintet at the Plugged Nickel Club, Old Town, Chicago, Illinois.
December 22, 1965
1st Set [1:20]
2nd Set [1:08]
Steve Goodman Live at the Earl of Old Town, Chicago, Illinois. (date unknown)
Lincoln Park Pirates
VISIT OUR SOUVENIR SHOP
The Piper's Alley March 1, 1971 Fire.
VISIT OUR SOUVENIR SHOP
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.