In K-Town, on the far northside, the Avenues, traveling westbound, are Karlov, Kedvale, Keokuk, Keystone, Keeler, TRIPP, Kildare, LOWELL, Kostner, Kenneth, Kilbourn, Kenton, Knox, Kolmar, Kilpatrick, and Keating Avenues, depending on your north or south location. Notice that Tripp and Lowell avenues somehow snuck their way into K-Town.
So why start alphabetically naming streets starting at Pulaski Road with the letter "K"? In 1909, Chicago instituted the new street renaming and renumbering system to avoid duplicate street names from all the surrounding towns that were annexed into Chicago which was a nightmare for the U.S. postal service.
At the time, residential development was flourishing in a radius extending north, northwest, and southwest from the Loop. Many streets, such as Racine, Southport, etc., were already named. Development west of Pulaski (which was once named Crawford Avenue), was just starting to increase with new streets needing to be named.
The Old Irving Park neighborhood is situated at the beginning (east side) of the alphabetical street-naming action, with Pulaski on the eastern edge. The area's north-south streets appear to follow the usual naming convention until the keen-eyed Chicagoan might notice several "K" streets are missing. How can streets go missing in a city? Yet it becomes clear when comparing Old Irving Park to adjacent "K-Town" neighborhoods, it's missing several avenues, including Komensky, Kolin, and Karlov.
There is at least one very evident explanation for the missing "K" streets of the Old Irving Park neighborhood by simply looking at a map of Chicago streets. When comparing Old Irving Park's north-south streets too, for example, the Archer Heights neighborhood of the city's southwest side, it's glaringly evident that not only does Old Irving Park contain fewer streets, but individual homes situated within that area have larger property lots than of areas with the full amount of "K" streets.
Chicago's allotted measurements of the majority of its individual "Standard Lots" date back to the 19th Century; set at 24 x 125. This is generally true for most of the City and some of its neighboring suburbs. However, Old Irving Park was developed initially as a separate sub-division of the city in the late 19th century. Thus, it was developed with lots that are nearly twice as large as the Standard Chicago Lot to attract families and larger house developments of the day. How does a 19th-century developer create larger home lots? Easy; take out some streets!
This explains the conundrum of Chicago's "K" streets.
Now, about the mysterious Lowell and Tripp Avenues:
Lowell Avenue is where Kolin Avenue is from the southside "K-Town. Lowell Avenue was named for F.W. Lowell who was the first teacher in the Andersonville School at Foster and Ashland Avenues around 1861.
Tripp Avenue was named for Dr. Robinson Tripp, called "Father Tripp" who bought a lot on Lake Street in the downtown area in 1853 and laid the first sidewalk in town.
Both Lowell and Tripp Avenues were already named before the 1909 street renaming and renumbering system went into effect and was kept as is.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.