Chicago was thriving and developing in the 1970s. Downtown was a bit quieter and the density of buildings on the Near North Side, especially around River North, was far lower. There were many homeless people living on the streets and the crime rates were also high. Poor neighborhoods were being replaced with massive public housing that solved a few of the problems of poverty and violence. By the late ’70s, the city was beginning to develop its reputation for festivals, starting with ChicagoFest, it changed how people felt about the Pier.
The Chicago Transit Authority ran old and noisy buses that spewed huge clouds of black smoke from their exhaust pipes each time they started moving. Many streets in Chicago in the 1970s, particularly under viaducts and bridges, still showed streetcar tracks that had never been paved over after the last streetcars ran in 1958.
Here below are some stunning photos that show what Chicago looked like in the 1970s. These photographs were captured by Charles William Brubaker, who was a member of the Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins & Will from 1950 until 1998. Vote your favorites and don’t forget to share.