Chicago's Motor Row
John F. Hogan, John S. Maxson
Chicago's Motor Row earned a spot in the National Register of Historic Places by pioneering a new way to market an invention that was remaking America--the automobile. From approximately 1905 to 1936, well over 100 makes of car were offered by dealers in the 28-acre district. Motor Row started when Henry Ford, the best known name in automobile manufacturing, opened one of his first dealerships outside Detroit on South Michigan Avenue near the homes of Chicago's most affluent citizens. Others followed with sales and service buildings designed by the nation's foremost architects, often side by side, inviting buyers to check out the models on display behind plate glass windows. Shoppers flocked to the automotive smorgasbord. Although the auto dealers have left, most of these architectural jewels remain.