Edgewater's Oldest Sidewalks

Vol. XVII No. 1 - SPRING 2006

Perhaps you’ve noticed that there are some old sidewalks on some blocks in Edgewater. If they are grey and worn, they are probably the originals from the 1880s. John Lewis Cochran, when he developed the area from Foster to Devon, the Lake to Broadway, promised urban amenities such as paved streets and sidewalks, as well as electricity and convenient transportation to downtown. The streets have been repaved many times, the electrical power plant has moved and the trains have been elevated. What remains in a few locations are the original sidewalks.

While thousands walk on them every year, these markers of a bygone era are largely ignored. If they are noticed at all, it is because they are worn and uneven. We have located some sections of the original walks, which are limestone. There are sections of original walk on the 5800 block of Kenmore. There are also sections of these stones on the 1100 block of Balmoral. There may be other locations with original sidewalks. We would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows where any other original sidewalks are located.

The second era of sidewalk construction began with the WPA in the 1930s. These sidewalks are a high grade of agate. Concrete is coarse rather than smooth and almost brown in color. Many are stamped 1934. Since the Depression, there have not been any community wide projects to replace sidewalks. Some sections have seen the replacement of sidewalks through the 50/50 City program. These more modern sidewalks are usually easy to identify because they are lighter in color, and smoother.

The following survey was completed by Jack Winans between 2000 and 2002. It covers the area east of Broadway between Glenlake and Devon. Thanks to Jack for walking these Edgewater streets with notebook in hand.

Edgewater slate


East side of Kenmore, Glenlake to Devon

  • 14 slabs very good shape, 6223-1/2 to 6227 Kenmore east side between Granville and Rosemont
  • 24 slabs, 1101 W Rosemont
  • 24 slabs, 1108-10 W Rosemont

West side of Kenmore, Devon to Glenlake

  • 3 slabs in good shape at 6322 (between Devon and Rosemont)


  • 17 slabs at 6023 & 6027 N Kenmore
  • 9 slabs at 6022 N Kenmore
  • 6 slabs at 6018 N Kenmore
  • 10 slabs 5850 N Kenmore
  • 11 slabs 5840 N Kenmore
  • 7 slabs 5836-38 N Kenmore
  • 22 slabs 5801 N Kenmore
  • 20 slabs 5825-29 N Kenmore
  • 12 slabs 5841-43 N Kenmore
  • 20 slabs at 5851-59 N Kenmore

There are 134 slabs on Kenmore between Glenlake and Ardmore


  • 5 slabs at 6030 N Sheridan