The Great Fire of 1871 never blazed south of the river. To walk through Bridgeport today is to glimpse part of a city as it looked a century ago. Many streets defy Chicago’s quadrants with their own private logic (all streets are designated “south” even though they might run east/west). My neighborhood is on the “tilted grid” set up in 1836 by Col. William Archer.
Where I stay, I am aligned with the former buffalo path which is now Archer Avenue. The tilted grid, patterned when the canal digging began, does not follow what Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago calls the “rectilinear street system.” Rather, it follows the logic of the river and Indian trails.