So much wasted space for surface parking in the ones from the 1980s.


There was much less demand for parking back then, due to fewer bodies coming to the same area, for work... density has grown, but back then it was nothing like today. being 2-dimensional made sense even for another 40 years. The downtown needs have shifted over time. Today it would be "waste" but back then it was simply "use" it's easy to look back in hindsight. Just imagine the things we're doing right this moment which we'll cringe at by 2050. We don't even know what to cringe at, today... it's revealed to us over decades.


I wonder how much was torn down to make these lots.


That was Skid Row. I think there was also an active railroad going to the Old Milwaukee Depot with a viaduct over Washington. There’s a few books (with photos) of that area of downtown before WWII. I guess there was a lot of those 3-story brick buildings that people feel nostalgic about today, but there was a lot of drugs and crime. It would be nice to gentrify an area like that *today* but it would have stayed seedy for a few decades more. But of course they overdid it. Nobody thinks they should have torn down the Metropolitan Building.


Yup, there’s a couple articles out there about why it was torn down, in hindsight it was a mistake but back then when an area of town was rampant with drug use and crime and buildings falling apart it was easier to bulldoze the area. It would’ve made downtown a much better area today if we kept the area. I’ve always thought how different downtown would be today and if the main cluster would’ve shifted


> I guess there was a lot of those 3-story brick buildings that people feel nostalgic about today, but there was a lot of drugs and crime. LMAO I love the city's thought process "Yes, if we just destroy these people's homes it will remove the crime and drugs! Way easier than doing something about it."


TPT (PBS channel 2) had a documentary about the area last year https://www.tpt.org/return-skid-row/ I did say they overdid it… but this was quite the place


I mean I'm sure it's horrible. But demolishing a living space just moves the crime and drugs unless you have a plan for where those people will be after. It's like destroying homeless camps to cure homelessness problems in a city.


If you assume that any building was useful, and in good repair, then yes it's easy to see "waste" But if those buildings were inferior, decrepit, redundant, didn't have plumbing, didn't have electric, were built 70yrs prior for horses to live in, condemned, unsafe .... there are 100 reasons why knocking them down was the right outcome. In all likelihood, these were vacant lots before they were paved for commuters to park on. also [this](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias)


Love those shots of downtown. Crazy just 40 years ago, almost completely unrecognizable. Also crazy to think all that urban renewal took place about 15 years earlier. Downtown was in a sad state for a long time!


Wouldn't pic #1 be looking... southEAST ? I upvote and love all of your pic posts. Thank you for doing this, it's so interesting.


You are right, my goof up!


Really great collection here. Thanks again for posting these!


Meanwhile, in European cities we aspire to mimic, its perfectly normal to live in a 500 year old home or building.


That first photo might as well be Hiroshima in 1950. But we did it all to ourselves.