Chicago's Loop Hides Lots of Tiny, One-Block Streets - KMSP-TV

Chicago's Loop Hides Lots of Tiny, One-Block Streets

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Chicago's Loop has a lot of little streets that look like alleys and seem to go nowhere. They've been part of Chicago since the city was first mapped out.

Take Court Place. It's only one block long, running from LaSalle to Wells between Washington and Randolph and faces Courthouse Square.

"Years ago, people would paint signs on the brickwork in the alley, and that paint would suck right into the brick like a sponge and the color would stay there," said Chicago City Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson. "You could have rain and snow and passing years and the ghost of that sign can still be seen."

Then there's North Post Place, which runs just one block from Lake Street to Lower Wacker. It was featured in the Jimmy Stewart movie "Call Northside 777," about a Chicago Evening Post reporter who helped an innocent man accused of murder.

"Post Place is a great memory of when Chicago had not two major daily newspapers, but it had several of them," Samuelson said. "You could line up the delivery trucks at the bottom of it, and then get the papers as they came off the press out to the city."

And what about Couch Place? It's actually pronounced "cooch," and was named for the Couch brothers, who owned the famous Tremont Hotel. Couch, which runs from Dearborn to State, has a tragic history: in 1903, more than 600 people died here in a terrible fire at the Iriquois theater.

"There's many stories about hauntings in that alley and people being reluctant to walk there at night," Samuelson said.

There's also MacChesney Court, a semi-secret shortcut used by local news crews on deadline and Loop delivery drivers.

"It's like being in some old twisting European street. You are on what follows a really old path because this is from Chicago's earliest streets that followed the bank of the Chicago river," Samuelson said.

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