Eleanor street looking east.
Eleanor street has been known by three previous names -- Water street, Cologne street, and west Twenty-fifth street. It parallels the right bank (south bank) of the South Branch of the Chicago river; although, according to some definitions of ‘bank,' the right bank is the right side of the river when one faces the downstream. Such a definition would put Bridgeport suddenly on the left bank after the direction of the South and Main Branches of the Chicago river were (officially) reversed in 1900. Another definition states that the right bank is the right side of the river when one is facing to the mouth of the river. We must use that definition in order to keep Bridgeport on a consistent side of the river.

The land between Eleanor street and the river has always been primarily used for industry and utilities. It was filled with lumber yards in the 1860-1880s. The first large gas works on the south side, called 'South Station,' opened in 1870 (although it was soon destroyed by an explosion and did not reopen until 1874). Later, an electric generating station (an extension of the Fisk station on the left bank (north side) of the river) was built here as well. The area was laced with railway spur tracks and wooden trestles.