Astor Street is less than a half mile long and according to the Landmarks Commission's publication, the street appeared first in an 1880 subdivision by the Catholic Bishop of Chicago (the legal name of the Catholic Church).
Potter Palmer was one of the early landowners in the neighborhood. While most of high society lived in mansions on Prairie Avenue, Palmer began to buy up land on the north end, which was only lightly populated and still mostly swamp after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Interest in the area increased when Lake Shore Drive was opened in 1875 from North Avenue to Oak Street, and a favorite Sunday afternoon pastime became a ride along the lakefront. By 1882 the Palmers had started building one of the first mansions on the drive in the block between Schiller and Division. The Palmers' Gothic castle sat at 1350 N Lake Shore Drive became the center of Chicago's high society. Bertha Palmer stocked the home with an extensive collection of Impressionist paintings, helping create a market for the then avant-garde works and which later formed the core of the Art Institute's collection.
Other wealthy Chicago families followed the Palmers. Lumber, iron, liquor and other magnates flocked to the area and built lavish homes. Residents included Kenneth Sawyer Goodman the playwright, after whom The Goodman Theatre is named, Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln; and Albert F. Madlener, a successful liquor wholesaler. The Madlener home now houses the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Within 20 years of the opening of Lake Shore Drive, Astor Street was fully developed, filled with city houses abutting one another on their narrow sites. This limitations on land use also brought high-rise apartment buildings to the neighborhood, made fashionable by second generation Palmers.
The Gold Coast Neighbors Association along with sponsored partners are the ones involved in decorating the buildings and area with these lavish Halloween decorations. This is an annual event for this neighborhood, attracting many young and old trick-o-treaters.
After all this is where Governor Pritzker lives and has been known to pass out candy during the "Ghouly Park" event.
Well that's it for the Gold Coast tour.
Hope you enjoyed yourselves.
For now so long and good bye. 😁
Oh by the way two things I forgot to mention.
Buildings on Astor Street own Chicago’s best addresses. This is true even though currently there is a two-bedroom condo for sale for only $315,000. Single-family townhouses will set you back $3 million to $6 million or more. And it is definitely a street that would not shame a billionaire.
If you decide to live on Astor Street, you can order your Christmas tree in advance. It will be dropped off and planted in your front yard, ready to be decorated.
I bet the next time I am up there, that tree will be illuminated to the max.