Skokie's First Housing Boom

Workers laying sewer pipes in College Hill, 1920 Krenn & Dato Plat Map of Dempster Street L Terminal Subdivision 1st Addition, 1924

Skokie’s first housing boom was stimulated by the development of rapid transit and good roads into Chicago in the 1920s. Land speculators saw the possibility of developing the area for apartment buildings with easy access to the city center, and many subdivisions, streets, sidewalks, and utilities were laid out.

The population of Skokie was 763 in 1920 and by 1930 it was 5,007. The onset of the Great Depression in late 1929 brought all this hopeful activity to a halt; thousands of lots were abandoned and some were eventually used again as farmland.

With the extension of the Chicago Rapid Transit's train tracks to the newly constructed Dempster Street Station in 1925, the northwest suburbs were even more convenient to Chicago.

From 1922-1926 the incorporated area of Niles Center increased more than ten times its original size through several annexations. Real estate developers from Chicago, such as Krenn & Dato and the Swenson Brothers, began construction, but the stock market crash of 1929 brought that work to a standstill.