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Chicago at Night

State Street near Adams Street at night in 1914.
Published by the Max Rigot Selling Co. of Chicago.


Light emanating from the windows of buildings, headlights on vehicles and advertisement signage transform Chicago into a “wonderland” during the evening hours. Just like the first people who saw the twinkling blue stars in the sky, people continue to be fascinated by the phenomenon of light and its elements, including the numerous lights that now emanate from modern-day cities.

The Old Water Tower and Palmolive buildings.
Published by Curt Teich & Co., Inc.

The bright city lights can impact the way people feel too. For adults, it might influence them to stay out late and maybe go out for a drink, while kids are simply satisfied as they gaze up with wonder at the lights of tall buildings.


One beautiful building to see at night in Chicago is the Wrigley building. Floodlights shine on the 30-story building showing off its white Spanish and French terra cotta. The light from the building also looks more beautiful as it reflects onto the water of the adjacent Chicago River.

Across the street from the Wrigley building is the famed 36-story Tribune Tower. It has lighting on top of the building to show off its neo-Gothic and cathedral-like elements. About a mile north of the two buildings is the 37-story Palmolive building that has a beacon on its roof. The Lindbergh Beacon, named after aviator Charles Lindbergh, was added in the 1930s and rotated 360 degrees to help guide airplanes safely to Midway airport. The beacon was shut off in the early 1980s after people living in nearby buildings complained about it. 

The light has now been recently modified to rotate back and forth out into the open waters of the lake. The postcards displayed in this blog show the beauty of these buildings and other scenes of the city at night. Postcard publishers at the time would also include other elements to enhance the night images like adding the moon or stars in the sky. These types of postcards are a favorite for many collectors.



State Street near Lake Street in Chicago.
Published by Curt Teich, & Co., Inc., of Chicago.


Wacker Drive and the Chicago River in the 1920s.
Published by Curt Teich & Co., Inc., of Chicago.


Michigan Avenue near the old Water Tower in the 1930s.
Published by Chas. Levy Circulating Company, LLC.



State Street at night.
Published by Illustrated Post Card Co., New York.


Old Water Tower and Palmolive Buildings.
Publisher is unknown. 



The Merchandise Mart building in Chicago.
Publisher is unknown.




Sail boats at night in Lake Michigan in the early 1900s.
Published by V.O. Hammon Publishing Co.


Theaters and other entertainment establishments on Randolph Street in Chicago.
Published by Curt Teich & Co., Inc., of Chicago. 




Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower in Chicago.
Published by Curt Teich Co., Inc., of Chicago.



Floodlights shine on the Wrigley Building in Chicago in 1933.
Published by Max Rigot Selling Co., Chicago.



The Wrigley building with the moon in the 1930s.
Published by Chas. Levy Circulating Company of Chicago.



The Chicago Temple building at night in 1944.
Publisher is unknown.
















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