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Quotable Fri Oct 12 2007

Quotable Friday

Every Friday is Quotable Friday on the book club blog, where we highlight a notable passage from a book with a Chicago connection. This week's quotable is from The Chicago Produce Market by Edwin Griswold Nourse (Houghton Mifflin, 1918). This passage describes the great produce market that used to exist right along the south side of the Chicago River downtown:

"South Water Street is a short east-and-west street, which lies between the downtown business district ("the Loop") on the south and the Chicago River on the north. The portion used for produce-market purposes is a scant half- mile in length — from State Street west to the turn of the river. Since the re-numbering of the city a few years ago, this has become officially West South Water Street, but, in common usage, little or no attention is paid to this distinction. In fact, to those most concerned it is — and probably will always remain — simply "the Street." Generally speaking, fruit and vegetable dealers are located in the eastern part of the district, while the western end contains the establishments which specialize in meat, poultry, and dairy products. Likewise, the initiated observe a distinction between the north and the south sides of the street, the latter being known as the "busy side." It has the obvious advantages in summer of being the shady side, and stores on this side of the street run back to an alley, which is convenient for handling goods, whereas those on the other side, besides being quite shallow in depth, back up to the Chicago River, from which no goods are received. Both sides of the street are lined with low brick stores, none of them new and many of them dating back to the days just following the great fire of '71."

 
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