Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 36: A Day in the Life of Chicago, 1953

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Maxwell Street

Here’s a delicious slice of life from the 1950s for your viewing pleasure. More specifically, a day in the life of Chicago in 1953. I found this set of vintage Kodachrome slides on eBay, and they’re a beaut. It appears to me that the photographer took in a Chicago Cubs game at venerable Wrigley Field and also spent some time hoofing around the Friendly Confines as well. The auction puts the location of the street scenes as Maxwell Street, for what it’s worth.

First up is the baseball game. I can’t tell for certain who the Cubs are playing, but only one National League team in 1953 wore red caps at all — the Philadelphia Phillies. The sign in front of Wrigley is advertising tickets for the three-game series from June 23-25, so I think it’s reasonable to guess these photos were shot during that period.

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Wrigley Field

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Wrigley Field

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Wrigley Field

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Wrigley Field

Hmmm, not exactly a capacity crowd that day was it? The Cubbies, by the way, finished the ’53 campaign with a 65-89 record, good for seventh place in the National League.

Now onto the street scenes. Vintage cars and signage abound!

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Maxwell Street
Notice the streetcar tracks.
Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Maxwell Street
The Polish sausage is probably as authentic as it got in America.
Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Maxwell Street
What are the chances any of these businesses are still around?

Kodachrome Chicago of 1953: Maxwell Street

For more Vintage Photo Wednesday goodness, travel here.

7 thoughts on “Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 36: A Day in the Life of Chicago, 1953

  1. Bob Gassel

    The Cubs game is definitely June 24, 1953, the linescore of the game on the scoreboard is a fingerprint….

  2. ChrisH

    Also, the Rex Hotel was at 3120 N Ashland Ave. Not sure exactly when it disappeared, but it apparently burned down some time between 1970 and 1986 according to this Tribune article:

  3. John D

    These pictures are a pure treat. Maxwell Street has been overtaken by the expansion of the University of Illinois-Chicago. It’s a nice area, but nothing like the Maxwell Street of old. In fact, the Maxwell Street Market was moved a few blocks away and, I think, only operates on the weekend. In the 1970s, people would say if your TV was stolen from the college dorm, you could buy it back at the market. Here is a street view of the current Maxwell St.,-87.646592,3a,75y,270h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sHoGgMy3EynifhleA-9uF2w!2e0

  4. thatdudeguydude

    Amazing pictures! Thank you for sharing, great find!

    The date of this game (and perhaps all of these pictures) is June 25th, 1953.

    I love history investigations (and the Cubs!) so just couldn’t help
    myself on this one. Here is how I arrived at this conclusion:

    If you zoom in on the scoreboard, you can see the box score. It’s
    currently the top of the 6th, with Del Ennis up and none dead. The box
    on the Philles thus far has been 1 0 0 1 2. Cubs is goose’s across.

    I pulled up this game and cross checked it against the whole series, and this is the one which matches. Check it out:

    The wind was also blowing WSW that day with a max gust of 23mph,
    which would line up perfectly with the flags’ direction and strength.
    The high that day was a balmy 82 degrees.

    The Phillies would go on to score four more runs in the 7th, and the Cubs their lone 2 in the 9th. Cubs lose 8-2.

    That was actually extremely fun! Thank you for the trip down historic Chicago!

    1. Chris Holmes

      Now that is some impressive sleuthing. Thanks!

  5. Thom

    Awesome pictures. The game (assuming all of them were taken the same day) was June 24, 1953 – you can check out the box score In the last picture Del Ennis is at the plate with a 1-2 count to lead off the 6th. Phillies were winning 4-0, Ennis singles, but gets caught stealing second when Mel Clark strikes out. Didn’t matter because in the end the Phillies won 8-2 and swept the series with a combined score of 27-5. They finished the season 83-71 and in 3rd place – only 22 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    What’s really amazing to me is that they manually updated the out of town scoreboard, too. All the other National League games that day were marked NITE GAME, but on the American League board you can see the Yankees down 7-2 to the White Sox ( and Cleveland beating Boston 9-3 (

    1. Chris Holmes

      I’m almost afraid to ask how much of that you already knew. Either way, impressive work.

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