Fighting ignorance since 1973 • It’s taking longer than we thought
I'm interested in the "islands" that are commemorated in the Chicago street names Blue Island and Stony Island. I know there really was (and is) a Blue Island, which is that sort of plateau on the far south side where the Morgan Park neighborhood now is. But what about Stony Island? Was there really such a place, or was it the figment of some real estate developer's imagination, like Arlington Heights? If Stony Island existed, where is it and what happened to it?
— M.L., S. Plymouth
There really was a Stony Island, and what's
left of it is still on the south side, but you'd have to be pretty
eagle-eyed to find it. Stony Island was a rocky outcropping that stretched
for about a mile and a quarter between Stony Island Avenue (1600 east) and
Kingston Avenue (2500 east), from 91st Street to 94th Street. At one time it
stood about 20 to 25 feet above the surrounding lake plain. Unfortunately,
residential development has almost completely obliterated the original
rugged surface of the island, and what might have made an interesting park
Stony Island offered a compact visual
summary of much of the Chicago region's geological history
now home to a forest of bungalows.
As might have been expected, nobody paid any attention to the preservationists. In the 1920s, trenches for sewer and water mains were blasted through the limestone, the boulders were cleared away, and the island was graded and paved. Today its existence is largely forgotten. Such is progress.
— Cecil Adams
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