A Hint of History on Printers Row

August 14, 2014

Printers Row

The Printers Row Historic District on the south end of downtown Chicago has spectacular industrial and commercial architecture from the city’s bygone era
of, you guessed it, printing. Today it is more of a neighborhood than a bookbindery, and the area keeps a connection with its past identity through a literary festival every year and a rare book shop in downtown Chicago. While other areas of downtown are flashy with postmodern buildings, this little area retains its historic character.

Technically the Printers Row Historic District, also calling “Printing Row,” is between Congress and Polk (north to south) and Plymouth Court to the Chicago River (east to west). The printing industry needed to be right next to major means of transportation, and here they had both the river and the trains. Also printing uses lots of water (and emits lots of waste), so the river was a necessity for that, too.

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