I’m embarrassed to say this is new to me: the Gold Coast’s wooden alley, which is being restored by the city and should be ready by September 7th, Skyline reports. It’s one of the remaining remnants of old Chicago, and ChicagoGeek captured it before the restoration project:

Chicago wooden alley

The always-wonderful Forgotten Chicago has more about the city’s other wooden alleys and the technology behind it, a mix of sand, gravel, and coal tar. Chicago’s not alone in having wooden alleys or streets; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have them as well. Which I learned when also learning what we’re lacking as far as old-timey streets:

"The bricks too, all now painted red, were originally regularly intermixed with the blue glazed bricks – a token, only belonging to the grades of best houses."

Perhaps the wood-alley technology can be applied to the Brown Line’s flame-retardant-but-not-water-retardant planking.