Louis Armstrong’s House
Jazz was born in New Orleans, but grew up in Chicago. This was largely due to Louis Armstrong, who moved to Chicago to play with King Oliver in 1922. His first stop was a boarding house at 3412 South Wabash. But in 1924 he married fellow jazz great Lil Hardin, and the two bought a house at 421 East 44th Street, in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. After a brief stint in New York, he returned to this home and lived there from 1925-1929. These years may have been Armstrong’s most creative and productive. He formed his own band, the Hot Five (later the Hot Seven), and recorded songs like “West End Blues.” He played many of these songs at the Sunset Café, a “Black and Tan” nightclub at 315 East 35th Street. Today, the café is part of Meyers Ace Hardware, but part of the original murals can still be seen in the back room. Armstrong left Chicago for good in 1929, but his greystone still stands. Both edifices are testimony to Chicago’s jazz pedigree.
421 E. 44th and Sunset Café/Meyers Ace Hardware, 315 E. 35th
Best of Chicago 2016