Wells Street (Chicago)

Wells Street is a major north–south street in Chicago. It is officially designated as 200 West, and is named in honor of William Wells, a United States Army Captain who died in the Battle of Fort Dearborn.[1] Between 1870 and 1912, it was named 5th Avenue so as not to tarnish the name of Wells during a period when the street had a bad reputation.[2]

Wells Street
William Wells Street
200 West
Former name(s)5th Avenue
North endLincoln Avenue in Chicago
South endWest 59th Street in Chicago
Known forWilliam Wells
A sign for Wells Street. The former Chicago Stock Exchange is in the background.
Chicago Transit Authority control tower 18 guides elevated Chicago 'L' north and southbound Purple and Brown lines intersecting with east and westbound Pink and Green lines and the looping Orange line above the Wells and Lake street intersection in the loop.

Wells Street is interrupted by Guaranteed Rate Field[3], Interstate 55, and Lincoln Park. Wells Street crosses the Chicago River at the Wells Street Bridge.

Some downtown blocks of Wells Street are located beneath the Chicago 'L' train system. The first Crate & Barrel store, which opened in 1962, was located on Wells Street.[4]

Wells Street was named in Time Magazine's 1976 article "The Porno Plague".[5]

Old Town NeighborhoodEdit

Wells Street on the north side often refers to a strip of retail shops, bars and restaurants in the Old Town neighborhood in the Near North neighborhood.[6]


This only shows part of Wells Street between the North Side and the Loop.

The entire route is in Chicago, Cook County.

0.00.0N Lincoln AvenueNorthern terminus of Wells Street
0.30.48  IL 64 (W North Avenue)North border of the Near North neighborhood
0.81.3W Division Street
1.32.1W Chicago Avenue
1.52.4W Ontario StreetTo Kennedy Expressway
1.62.6W Ohio Street
1.652.66W Grand AvenueWestbound road only; one-way road
1.72.7W Illinois Street
1.72.7W Kinzie StreetMerchandise Mart
1.93.1Wells Street Bridge
2.03.2W Upper Wacker Drive
2.13.4W Randolph StreetWestbound only; one-way road
2.23.5W Washington StreetEastbound only; one-way road
2.33.7W Madison StreetWestbound only; one-way road
2.54.0W Adams StreetWestbound only; one-way road
2.64.2W Jackson BoulevardEastbound only; one-way road
   To I-290 / IL 110 (CKC) west (W Ida B. Wells Drive)
To Jane Byrne Interchange
2.84.5W Harrison Street
3.25.1Cul-de-sac near W Roosevelt RoadSouthern terminus of Wells Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago : a history of Chicago street names. Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6.
  2. ^ "Ask Chicagoist: Wells Street or 5th Avenue?".
  3. ^ whitesox.com accessed 5 February 2019
  4. ^ Sweeney, Brigid (2014-07-14). "Former Crate & Barrel CEO Barbara Turf dies". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
  5. ^ "The Porno Plague". Time Magazine. 5 April 1976. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Old Town Visitors Info". The Old Town Merchants & Residents Association.
  7. ^ "Wells Street Overview".

Coordinates: 41°52′53.4″N 87°38′1.7″W / 41.881500°N 87.633806°W / 41.881500; -87.633806