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Harry F. Chaddick papers

Identifier: MSS0056

Scope and Contents

The Harry F. Chaddick papers include documentation about the shopping malls Chaddick developed, the zoning laws he created, and the city plans he advanced. The collection consists of plans, maps, photographs, building codes, and zoning proposals. It begins with biographical information about Chaddick, including planning materials for his autobiography.


  • 1937-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1957-1988

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Harry F. Chaddick was born on August 27, 1902 in Chicago, on the near West Side. In his early twenties Chaddick went into the trucking business with a used Ford truck that he purchased for a few hundred dollars. Over the next thirty years, Chaddick built his trucking business into one of the nation's largest motor freight companies, serving on several national trucking and transportation associations and helping to refine a trucking innovation known as "piggybacking," or the shipment of truck trailers on railroad flatcars. Sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s, Chaddick established a comprehensive system of trucking terminals on Chicago's West Side. He recalls the need for this system in his autobiography, Chaddick!: Success Against All Odds: "...[T]he railroad yards had been the center of truck activities as loads were brought to and picked up from freight cars. As the business shifted away from dependency on railroads, there was clearly a need to have our own terminal operations" (Series 2, p. 41). In 1954, he sold his trucking companies but retained ownership of several trucking terminals, leasing them to other operators.

The second phase of Chaddick's career began in the early 1950s when he became Chicago's Director of Zoning. He guided the re-zoning of Chicago in 1957 and the ordinance he authored established a new direction in organizing land use in an urban environment. Chaddick describes his approach in his autobiography: "Zoning, from its preconception in the 19th century was looked upon by the courts and city officials as a means of protecting residential districts from the degenerative impact of commercial users...all commercial uses were considered equal in terms of their dangers to residential districts. They were grouped together regardless of the functions they performed...we decided to do something wholly new on this subject" (Series 2, p. 62). Chaddick and his staff increased the number of business districts from two to seven and established standards in order to group business within the districts. Chaddick's zoning ordinances created many improvements that helped to create a more livable city. Harry F. Chaddick is also notable for his work in real estate development projects in Palm Springs, California, and Chicago. In the early 1960s, Chaddick purchased an old Ford plant near Midway Airport and converted the manufacturing facility into Chicago's first major shopping mall, known as Ford City. After this success, Chaddick embarked on several more shopping mall development projects around the city.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Chaddick and his wife turned their attention to philanthropic interests. They established the Harry and Elaine Chaddick Foundation which provides grants to medical, scientific, educational, and religious organizations. The Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, established at DePaul University in 1993, identifies and proposes solutions to problems concerning urban planning and community development. Harry Chaddick died on May 30, 1994.


8 Linear Feet (20 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Harry F. Chaddick papers are organized into two series: 1. Subject Files; 2. Oversized/Memorabilia.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1996.32

Processing Information

SE and JMM 1997

Guide to Harry F. Chaddick papers
SE and JMM 1997
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614