Thursday, March 1, 2012

The History of that Blue Star Auto Stores Building

Chicago Magazine’s online feature of Chicago street photography on February 23 featured historic Blue Star Auto Stores on South State. This place has been around for 133 years, and it’s still selling auto parts and supplies.

The shot was taken by ChicagoGeek, a local photographer who shoots a lot of architecture around the city. The article talks about the history of the Blue Star Auto Stores, saying:
Until 1900 it was a very respectable hotel but then illegal gambling began to take place in the basement, the upstairs became a brothel. Deep below the hotel was a series of secret tunnels, an elaborate 25-mile system. Today you can still see bricked-up entrances to the numerous gangster getaways.
Photo Credit: (ChicagoGeek, Chicago Magazine)

14 comments:

Pete Mitchell said...

25 miles? wow.

steven said...

I am friends with Dave ( the owner) and believe me ---they are dying to sell this place. Unfortunatly there is no way in hell anyone would touch that unless they want to demolish it and develop. Used to be the Cullerton Hotel---- bet you would find a few interesting things if you demolished that place. I could not imagine the rats that would scurry if you knocked that joint down

Anonymous said...

I live right near there and didn't even know it was open. It was always caged and boarded up I figured it was closed

Anonymous said...

The owner is so nice!

Anonymous said...

I HAVE DRANK BEERS WITH THE OWNER OVER AT REGGIES. HE TOLD ME ABOUT A DEVELOPER WANTING TO BUY HIS BUILDING AND PUTTING UP A CONDO BUILDING. HE DIDN'T LIKE THE PRICE AND THE DEAL FELL APART. THAT WAS TOUGH TO HEAR NOW I'M SURE HE WISHES HE TOOK IT

Anonymous said...

I could use some tunnels and secret hide-outs like that to keep me from getting in trouble with my ladies...seems like a cool place, right?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any of the old tunnels here and all over the city are still in tact to go through

Anonymous said...

If you can figure out a way to find episode #207 of Cities of the Underworld (a TV series on the History Channel that explores the underground secrets of cities), that episode is all about Chicago and some of its former bootlegging tunnels. I saw it awhile ago, but I remember the whole Capone/South Side connection coming up. In short, several of those tunnels are still open, at least according to the show.

Anonymous said...

i BELIEVE THEY ARE-- IF YOU YOUTUBE BLUE STAR AUTO YOU CAN SEE A WALKING TOUR OF THESE

Jim in the Sloop said...

If I'm guessing correctly, the episode is "Undergound Bootleggers" and is on DISC 4 of the "Cities of the Underworld" set you can rent from Netflix.

Mr Downtown said...

Nonsense. There's not even one tunnel, much less 25 miles of them.

Anonymous said...

IN FACT IM IN A TUNNEL RIGHT NOW. THATS WHY I HAVE TO SHOUT SO YOU COULD HEAR ME

Clarissa Fidler said...

I think posts like this are awesome! It's a great photograph and the information about it is intriguing. It makes me want to go see the building and explore the area.

Anonymous said...

23 miles? challenge!