On January 17th I was driving home from O’Hare and decided to find a nearby CPL branch so I could get some work done. The Oriole Park Branch was one of the nearest, so I stopped up there. The library sits in-between a school and Oriole Park in a pretty quiet neighborhood. It is a clean, fresh looking building and quite large with a lot of artwork. There were several parents with kids looking at books in the children’s area. Every now and then a kid would wander around the tables and stare at the strangers. Around 12pm the library started to get busier with people using laptops and reading a few books. Still, it was one of the least busy branches I have seen so far.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chicago Public Library because, as I have noted in several other posts, I have been productive with my writing. Well, this day I finally submitted an article for review. The study is about how CNN and Fox News
published reports about refugees in September of 2015. My colleagues and I found some interesting trends in the data. We presented a paper at LRA in December, so it felt really good to finally send it off to a journal. I’ll keep you posted once we hear back.
One of my favorite parts of going out to the Oriole Park Branch was that I got to drive through the “O’s.” All the streets in this area have names beginning with “O.” As you drive east, you will drive through streets beginning the letter “N,” then “M,” “L,” and “K.” Driving west you may find some with the letter “P.” Each letter has its own mile and if you were to trace it back to the letter “A,” you would end up at the Indiana/Illinois border. This plan had been devised a long time ago when Chicago was annexing surrounding towns and villages. To keep a consistent address system without duplicated street names, a major overhaul in the street system was proposed and approved in 1908. This is when the address system moved to a grid in which each mile consisted of 800 numbers. Starting at State and Madison (0,0), you can identify almost precisely where you are. Halstead street, for example, is 800 W. This is one mile west of State Street. On September 1, 1909, this system went into effect. The proposal to rename the streets in alphabetical order, on the other hand, was delayed for some time. For the most part, everyone between “A” and “J” thought this was a terrible idea, so those streets never got renamed. The alphabetical system generally begins at “K,” 11 miles west of the Indiana border. The “K” streets extends from the far Northside to the far Southside. I used to live in the “K’s” a while back. There is even an area in North Lawndale that is called K-town because of this naming system. The city jags inward around Cicero as well as other suburbs so the “L”-“P” names don’t extend as far north and south as “K.” By the time you get to “Q,” you would be in the forest preserve, so the system stops all together at “P.” Still, around Oriole Park, all of the streets are named beginning with “O,” pretty cool! Look at the map below and you can see some of the system. I tried to find a source with the original naming proposal, but unfortunately it was taking too long. A 1985 Tribune article gives more of the history though, but the link was broken because not the Tribune charges to browse its archives. I really enjoy visiting the libraries—I get to experience the city all over again. It’s been a while since I’ve been all the way out to the “O” streets.