glen ellyn downtown north historic district

Drive along historic rail lines almost anywhere in the greater Chicago area and you’re likely to find one of these: a commercial district consisting of locally-owned shops and cafes.

Union Pacific built the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad through Glen Ellyn (today a suburb 27 miles west of Chicago) in 1849, and commercial buildings started dotting streets some 50 years later.

There is Paul’s Shoe Service on N. Main. In operation since the 1940s.

A more contemporary gourmet specialty shop a bit further north.

And then my favorite find: 480A N. Main–the thinnest sliver of a building I’ve laid eyes on. 480A was constructed in 1900 and currently houses a bake shop.