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Chicago Loop Alliance Collection

Identifier: spe-nhrc-clac

Scope and Contents

The materials contained in the Chicago Loop Alliance Collection document the evolution of State Street, physically, economically and socially from 1888 to 2006.

These papers illustrate complex and pervasive issues in American cities during decades of great social and economic change, such as the decline of urban city centers and increased traffic congestion. They provide insight into City policies and procedures as well as the complicated processes by which public and private agencies cooperated on major planning and development projects, such as the redevelopment of State Street during the 1990s. Of note are the materials about the development of the pedestrian mall on State Street. State Street was closed to vehicular traffic, except buses and taxis, from 1979 until 1996 in an effort to encourage more pedestrian traffic and hence increased revenues for stores. The earliest notion of a downtown pedestrian mall came in the 1950s; its planning, construction and marketing in the 1970s and 1980s; and finally, criticism and reassessment of the State Sreet Mall leading to its redevelopment in the 1990s.


  • 1888 - 2006
  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

The State Street Council was organized in 1929 to promote the business interests of State Street from Wacker Drive to Van Buren Street. Renamed the Greater State Street Council (GSSC) in 1982, the area of representation was expanded beyond State Street to encompass Chicago’s central business district. Twenty-three years later, in 2005, the GSSC merged with the Central Michigan Avenue Association, becoming the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA). As the Chicago Loop Alliance, the organization’s mission is to strengthen Chicago’s competitive position as a mixed-use retail core build on its existing hospitality, real estate, residential, cultural and institutional resources, and contribute to Chicago’s standing as a world-class city and tourist attraction.

The current 40-block service area is comprised of theaters, retail businesses, residences, and the largest college population in the state of Illinois. It is bounded by Dearborn Street to the west, Lake Michigan to the east, Wacker Drive to the north and Congress Parkway to the south. Throughout its history the Chicago Loop Alliance has played an important role in the evolution of Chicago’s downtown, by working closely with public and private agencies to develop business opportunities, infrastructure, public amenities, and cooperative marketing strategies. They have sponsored marketing, consumer, real estate and planning reports, many of which are found in this collection. In addition, the Chicago Loop Alliance has regularly produced annual reports and quarterly newsletters.

The Chicago Loop Alliance has historically hosted a number of public events including holiday parades and summer festivals such as State Street Days, Loop Alive!, Summer Stage and Celebrate on State. They also traditionally hold an annual luncheon meeting with guest speakers, as well as a yearly charity gala.

The Chicago Loop Alliance is a not-for-profit business association.


39 Linear Feet (in 53 boxes and 7 oversize folders, includes 4,056 photographs, 2,480 slides, 795 4”x5” negatives, 60 videos, 6 audio cassettes, 2 artifacts)

Language of Materials



The Chicago Loop Alliance, formerly known as the State Street Council and the Greater State Street Council (GSSC), was founded in 1929 to promote the business interests of downtown State Street. This collection documents the activities of the organization through correspondence, marketing materials, meeting minutes, newsletters, photographs, press releases, studies, reports, and audiovisual resources. Among the projects was the closure of vehicular traffic on State Street and its transformation into a walking Mall between 1979 and 1996.


The collection uses the subject and chronological order that seemed to most apparent when the collection was acquired. Efforts were made to retain the original order of the material when possible.

The Chicago Loop Alliance Records are organized into 13 series by organizational function or material type:

Series 1: Annual Reports, 1933-2001

Series 2: Annual Meetings, 1953-2006

Series 3: Correspondence, 1941-1998

Series 4: Membership, 1944-2006

Series 5: Marketing and Promotions, 1933-2006

Series 6: Retail and Consumer Studies, 1978-1996

Series 7: Planning and Development, 1925-2002, undated

Series 8: Vision/Redevelopment of State Street, 1986-1999

Series 9: Transportation, 1957-2002

Series 10: Real Estate, 1951-1996

Series 11: News clippings, 1954-2003

Series 12: Photographs, circa 1888-2004, undated

Series 13: Audiovisual Materials, 1958-2005, undated

Physical Location

Box 20 and the Oversize Folders contain materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least 24-hours prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Chicago Loop Alliance in 2006.

Related Materials

Chicago City-Wide Collection

Chicago Collection of Kenan and Carol Heise

gloria cassens Collection

Harold Washington Archives & Collections. Mayoral Records. Finance and Administration Sub-cabinet Records



Guide to the Chicago Loop Alliance Collection
Original author unknown, 2006. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository

Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States
(312) 747-4875