Old Images of Chicago, Illinois

Wabash Avenue Chicago Illinois c.1907

Glimpse history through old images of Chicago, Illinois, the third most populous city in the United States.

Chicago in the 1860s

In the 1860s, the photographer Samuel Montague Fassett took photographs in and around Chicago, some of which have been showcased in this first video.

A few years later, on October 8–10, 1871, the city pictured in these old photos was engulfed in a devastating fire. About 300 people died, about 17,000 buildings and other structures were destroyed, and more than 100,000 people found themselves homeless.

Vintage Photos of Chicago Before the Great Fire (1860s) – Chubachus on YouTube

Chicago 1885-1915

Enjoy a gallery of old photos of Chicago’s streets and landmarks, taken between 1885 and 1915.

Each image is carefully labelled with the location and approximate date, so you know where and when the photo was taken.

Old Photos of Chicago 1885-1915 – oldstuff4all on YouTube

Chicago Streets 1888- 1933

The next showcase of old photos of Chicago has a novel and fascinating approach. Each image is shown, then the camera draws in to some of the smaller details.

Thanks to this technique, and the crisp, clear quality of the images, you’ll see lots of little details of the people who often don’t even know the camera is there!

The old photos are followed by vintage film clips from a variety of Chicago’s streets.

Chicago History | Street Scenes 1888 -1933 Autos Arrive. Old Hi-Def Photos & Vintage Film【4K】 – the1stMikeC on YouTube

Chicago in the 1930s

Even back in the 1930s, Chicago’s Downtown streets were very busy, with people and cars jostling for space, as huge building rose up to the sky.

Chicago in the 1930s – Vintage Footage on YouTube

Chicago in 1947

Dudley Pictures Corporation made an educational film about Chicago, as part of “This Land of Ours” series.

Downtown, the L, and Madison Avenue, the Sunday market at Maxwell Street, and the huge stockyards on the Southside are just some of the places visited.

Chicago, 1947 – travelfilmarchive on YouTube

Chicago in the 1950s

Photographer Mildred Mead caught Chicago’s everyday people and places on camera, and the selection in the next video show some of her work from the 1950s.


  • Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference
  • Michael Reese Hospital
  • University of Chicago Planning Unit
  • Maxwell Street Market
  • city parks
  • the lakefront
  • Hyde Park 57th St. Fair
  • public housing
  • urban redevelopment projects.

37 Beautiful Vintage Photos of Chicago in the 1950s – Faramel on YouTube

Building Boom 1963

A newsreel about the construction boom in 1960s Chicago includes a number of aerial shots of the city’s key districts and landmarks.

The new Central District Filtration Plant, still being built, was excpected to cost $104m.

The Changing Face Of Chicago (1963) – British Pathé on YouTube

1960s Summer Day

This glimpse of Chicago’s streets from the 1960s shows local people meeting, praying, entertaining passers by, shopping, selling food and wares, and chatting.

One of the market stalls sells pictures of Kennedy, while another offers 8lbs of bananas for 50c.

.A 1960s Summer Day at The Maxwell Market Chicago Illinois – Vintage Street Scene Footage – G Cast on YouTube

Chicago 1974

Silent footage, but has nice clear images from a variety of local places. Quite a few clear images of pedestrians too.

Chicago Scenes (ca. 1974) – US National Archives on YouTube

Chicago 1980s

A few glimpses of Chicago’s streets in the 1980s, seen through 8mm film footage from the era.

.Chicago Illinois 1980s Street Scenes Vintage 8mm Footage Videos –
G Cast on YouTube

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