Maxwell Street History and Tour

Chicago’s Maxwell Street


Presented by Lori L. Grove,


Sunday, May 1, 2011 10:30 AM


Barbara’s Bookstore
1218 S. Halsted, Chicago
Maxwell Street neighborhood,   
South of Roosevelt Road on the west side of Halsted St.


This presentation and walking tour: $10


Podcast of all presentations


Program Information


The Maxwell Street Market, created by a city ordinance in 1912, transformed an early residential street into a thriving marketplace for nearly one century in Chicago.  Although its geographic boundaries shifted over time due to urban renewal and expressway construction, the informal bartering on Maxwell Street and discount shopping on Halsted Street remained constant. The Maxwell Street Market was rooted in Old World European traditions that became transplanted in an urban environment and created a distinctive marketplace known worldwide. Businesses that started there included Vienna Beef and NABISCO, fueled by 19th century entrepreneurs who pushed our nation forward with their innovation, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. In the marketplace, vendors, merchants, foods, and merchandise all contributed to the unique character Chicagoans and others called “Maxwell Street.”


Pay meters are available on Halsted and Roosevelt for 2 hours, and also at Maxwell Street Parking nearby at Maxwell Street and Union (701 W. Maxwell) for $2 for 2.5 hours. Maxwell Street is the first traffic light south of Roosevelt Rd. on Halsted; turn east onto Maxwell Street and the parking structure is at the end of the block on the right. The walk is less than 2 blocks north on Halsted to Barbara’s Bookstore.


A guided walking tour of Maxwell Street conducted by Bruce Kraig and David Hammond immediately follows.


Relocated Maxwell Street Market Tour
Guided by David Hammond & Bruce Kraig



Sunday, May 1, 2011 – Rain or Shine

Beginning from Barbara’s Bookstore at 11:30 AM




(image by David Hammond)


Maxwell Street Market moved in 2007 for the third time in its history.  Bruce Kraig will provide history of the market.  David Hammond will talk about Maxwell Street today.  Together they will comment on the mostly Mexican and other food offered as we walk about and eat our way through the market.  


To prepare for this tour, you may want to consult David Hammond’s “Maxwell Street Market Guide, 2011-2012” available to read on-line or download.  We will be walking with few places to sit.  Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes. 


To bring along on this trip, we recommend small bills for food (ten dollars will easily cover food costs for one), sunscreen and waterless soap.  We will supply you a plastic knife and a few paper towels to shove in your back pocket or purse.


Also check out Gorilla Gourmet’s Maxwell Street Mexican available on streaming video:


Gorilla Gourmet: Maxwell Street Mexican (pt. 1) from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.



Gorilla Gourmet: Maxwell Street Mexican (pt. 2) from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.