Chicago talk

Barbara Need bhneed at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 8 16:11:57 UTC 2009

In some Chicago six flats, the entrance has a single entrance with a
single street number, and the apartments on each floor are
distinguished variously (A/B, N/S, E/W, 1/2). Some Chicago six flats,
however, have one entrance and two numbers, I I currently live in a
six flat that is 5207-5209.


Barbara Need

On 7 Nov 2009, at 10:31 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> In Saint Louis, a "six-flat" would be a "six-family flat." It was also
> the case that such a residential building had individual doors for all
> floors on two sides, with the numbering, 4609a, 4609b, 4609c Street
> Name; 4611a, 4611b, 4611c Street Name. In the Boston area, such a
> building is still called a "triple-decker," with two entrances on each
> side: 82 Street Name, 84 street Name 1,2; 86 Street Name, 88 Street
> Name 1,2. Sometimes, in the Boston area, the numbering will read
> "86a," etc. In Saint Louis, if such a building had only a single
> entrance and the simple address-type, 4912 Street Name, it was called
> an "apartment building."
> I'm talking about the Saint Louis of my lost childhood, During The
> War. When I last visited there, my old 'hood consisted essentially
> only of empty lots. Even the basements had been filled in, so that
> only my memory told me that Millie and her damned dog had once lived
> here, that Johnny had once lived there, and that Colored Johnny had
> lived yonder.
> -Wilson
> On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 12:51 PM, Paul <paulzjoh at> wrote:
>> My experience growing up in Chicago was that flat was used as an
>> alternative to apartment, a six flat was usually a three story
>> building
>> with two apartments to the floor. The use of 12 or 24 flat was not
>> unusual in my memory.
>> My guess is flat is shorter than apartment and "six flat" is faster
>> to
>> say than "six apartment building"
>> Never heard a home referred to as a flat. In other words, I could
>> live
>> in a six flat, but I rented an apartment.
>> Wilson Gray wrote:
>>> Heard on a Cold Case Files - a true-crimes, trash-TV show - episode
>>> that occurred in Chicago:
>>> _Three-flat_  : the kind of house known in Saint Louis as a
>>> "three-family flat" and in Boston as a "triple-decker"
>>> _Gangway_  : a narrow passageway, three to eight feet wide or so,
>>> between two houses or any other two buildings, leading from the
>>> front
>>> to the back of the building to the left. The same term with the same
>>> meaning is used in Saint Louis.
>>> _Decade_    : pronounced as though spelled "dekkid." This is the
>>> only
>>> pronunciation that I ever heard or used in Saint Louis. I have no
>>> clue
>>> as to how common this pronunciation may be in Chicago.

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