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2020 Neighborhoods

Explore places across Chicago's diverse neighborhoods and suburbs!

Please do not attempt to enter any OHC sites or buildings along OHC trails. Attendees are encouraged to admire exteriors, green spaces, and learn more using the OHC 2020 mobile app.

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Neighborhoods

Auburn Gresham

Auburn Gresham, often referred to simply as “Gresham,” is located between the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Dan Ryan Woods on Chicago’s South Side. This neighborhood was originally part of an independent township called Lake annexed by the City of Chicago in 1889. Auburn Gresham grew considerably in the years following the 1893 World’s Fair, welcoming predominantly European workers attracted by the area’s accessibility to transit lines. St. Sabina Church, with intricate tracery in its Gothic windows, was completed in 1933 as Auburn Gresham’s largely Catholic population nearly tripled between World War I and the Great Depression. The neighborhood kept growing throughout the 1960s as it shifted from majority white to African American, as it remains today. Home to the Thurgood Marshall Branch of the Chicago Public Library, Auburn Gresham’s historical residents include dancer Michael Flatley of “Riverdance” fame and Tuskegee Airmen flight officer John Lyle, who earned the nickname “Captain Jack” through a lifelong love of sailing. In August 2020, Always Growing, Auburn Gresham was announced as the inaugural winner of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation’s $10 million Chicago Prize.

Austin

Once part of Cicero Township, Austin was involuntarily annexed into Chicago in 1899 over political disagreements with neighboring Oak Park. Remaining pre-annexation structures, including parks, churches, gracious homes and a fire station harken back to Austin's suburban origins. In the 1920s, ornate apartment and commercial buildings popped up along major thoroughfares like Lake Street, Central Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. The neighborhood's centerpiece, Columbus Park, was laid out by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen in the 1920s. Though the neighborhood has faced several challenging decades of disinvestment through blockbusting and red lining due to rising racial tensions in the 1960s, many organizations today are working together for positive change, including the release of a new Quality of Life Plan for the neighborhood in fall 2018.

Back of the Yards / New City

Back of the Yards, so named for its proximity to the former Union Stock Yards—once the world's largest livestock processing, distribution and meatpacking facility—housed many of the Irish and German immigrants who worked in the area’s slaughterhouses and factories. Bordering Bridgeport and McKinley Park and sharing in those neighborhoods' particular blend of quiet residential streets and old factory complexes, today Back of the Yards is home to some of the most cutting-edge sustainable industry and technology in Chicago.

Beverly

Beverly developed slightly later than its neighbor, Morgan Park, but it too was greatly impacted by the addition of the Rock Island & Pacific Railroad line. Beverly Hills station opened at 91st Street in 1889, and the community north of 107th Street along the Blue Island Ridge eventually took the name Beverly. Its biggest residential boom took place in the 1920s and many large Revival-style homes from the period remain, built on deep wooded lots atop rolling hills. 95th Street was established as—and remains—an important commercial artery. Despite being annexed to Chicago by 1890, the community has retained its own small-town identity.

Bronzeville

Bronzeville, one of the nation's most significant African American communities sits just south of Downtown. During the Great Migration, the area became a hotspot for jazz music. It is linked to cultural and social advances such as the Civil Rights movement, Negro League Baseball and Black History Month. Due to its affluent past, Bronzeville contains some of Chicago's most distinguished residential architecture, with one of the largest concentrations of historic mansions in the city. Efforts are underway to spur economic development that builds on Bronzeville’s culturally rich legacies.

Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including the Performance Spaces in Bronzeville’s Black Metropolis Trail sponsored by ComEd.

Chinatown

Located within the city’s Armour Square community, Chinatown was established near Wentworth Avenue and 22nd Street (now Cermak Road) around 1905. Prior to that, Chinese immigrants lived and worked mostly in the Loop, near Clark and Van Buren Streets, until a group of businessmen who belonged to the On Leong Merchants Association relocated south. Over time, the neighborhood became packed with restaurants, bakeries, grocery markets, gift shops and specialty stores, making it a favorite stop for tourists and locals alike. Chinatown Gate, built in the 1970s, greets visitors with a Chinese inscription that states, “The World is for All.” Pagoda-like structures and buildings with elaborate reliefs of dragons, lions, birds and Chinese characters can be found throughout the neighborhood, in places like Ping Tom Memorial Park, the Pui Tak Center and Chinatown Square Mall. Today, the neighborhood remains both a commercial hub and a home for thousands of Chinese Americans.

Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including the Chinatown Architecture Innovation Trail sponsored by Ozinga.

Englewood

Once known as Junction Grove, for the railroad lines that crisscrossed the area, Englewood officially became part of Chicago in 1889. The original home of Cook County Normal School (later Chicago State University), this large neighborhood has experienced near-constant demographic change. Today, it is predominantly an African American neighborhood with residents striving to build and heal intra-community bonds. Residents and institutions, faced with the effects of decades of disinvestment, have renewed efforts to address civic challenges and revitalize the business district near 63rd and Halsted, once among the busiest in the city.

Humboldt Park

The Humboldt Park neighborhood takes its name from a stately green space designed by pioneering engineer-architect William Le Baron Jenney, and further refined by famed landscape designer Jens Jensen. The 207-acre park is named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist who, incidentally, never visited Chicago. Studded with large, fanciful buildings in the Prairie, Queen Anne and Tudor styles, the park is surrounded by bungalows, classic two- and three-flat greystones, single-family homes and terra cotta-tiled commercial buildings lining West North Avenue. Humboldt Park saw an influx of Latinx residents from World War II through the 1960s and the area remains largely Dominican, Mexican and Puerto Rican to this day, despite waves of gentrification from new residents moving westward from Bucktown and Wicker Park. Home for a time to notable writers including Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow and Studs Terkel, the neighborhood today is enlivened by the work of multiple arts and cultural organizations including the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and UrbanTheater Company. Two large steel Puerto Rican flags, at opposite ends of a stretch of West Division Street known as Paseo Boricua, celebrated their 25th anniversaries in 2020.

Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including A Ribbon of Green on the West Side trail sponsored by ComEd.

Hyde Park / Kenwood

Founded in the early 1850s, the culturally rich and diverse neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Kenwood are home to activists, artists, politicians and scholars. From innovative Modernist landmarks to their many bucolic green spaces, Hyde Park and Kenwood are neighborhoods studded with remarkable architecture. In 1853, Hyde Park Township was established as a modest commuter suburb with frequent train service to downtown. The location was enviable, just miles from the Loop, and encompassing two of the city’s largest parks: Jackson and Washington. In 1889, Kenwood was annexed from Hyde Park Township and designated one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Shortly after the annexation of Kenwood, the 1893 World’s Fair and the establishment of the University of Chicago triggered a wave of development. Fearful of gentrification and housing insecurity, community groups worked to stabilize the area and preserve Hyde Park and Kenwood's identities as vibrant and unique neighborhoods. Today, both neighborhoods are undergoing rapid change linked to significant new commercial development.

Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park neighborhood shares its name with the sprawling lakefront park that was renamed in 1865 to honor the late Abraham Lincoln. The neighborhood is home to numerous cultural and educational institutions such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and DePaul University. Today, Lincoln Park is one of Chicago's most densely-populated and affluent communities and features vibrant commercial corridors along Armitage and Lincoln Avenues, Clark Street and Diversey Parkway.

Logan Square

Logan Square, annexed in 1889, is a key link in the city’s ribbon of green parks and boulevards. Handsome homes line the forested boulevards, while greater residential and commercial density is found along the avenues and around the square itself—a popular hangout punctuated by the Illinois Centennial Monument and well served by the CTA Blue Line. In the last decade, Logan Square has seen an explosion in new dining and drinking establishments and a surge in residential mid-rise construction located near train stations.

Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including A Ribbon of Green on the West Side trail sponsored by ComEd.

Near North Side

Located just north of the Loop and the Chicago River, the Near North Side is a large community area that includes the Gold Coast, Old Town, River North and Streeterville neighborhoods. Its most famous element is the Magnificent Mile, the elegant Parisian-inspired shopping boulevard that developed along Michigan Avenue after the opening of the DuSable Bridge in 1920. The “Mag Mile” divides the dense lakefront area of Streeterville, largely taken up with residential and institutional uses, from the western reaches of the community, defined more by the adaptive reuse of former industrial buildings. The Near North Side has undergone constant reinvention throughout the history of Chicago, a process that continues today as development presses north from the booming Loop.

Near West Side

The Near West Side is one of Chicago's oldest and most ethnically diverse community areas. It encompasses several neighborhoods established by 19th century European immigrants, including Greektown and Little Italy. Despite massive 20th-century projects, such as the Eisenhower Expressway, the University of Illinois Chicago and the United Center, remnants of the area's ethnic enclaves remain. Today the area’s vast former industrial district is rapidly developing into a thriving business, dining and residential neighborhood.

North Lawndale

North Lawndale is known for beautiful Douglass Park, laid out by William Le Baron Jenney in the 1870s to help spur the westward growth of Chicago. Many of North Lawndale's first residents were Bohemian immigrants who worked at the McCormick Reaper Plant to the south, and later the area welcomed a large Jewish population. Today, it is home to a predominantly African American community striving for peace and unity. North Lawndale residents have provided significant contributions to progressive policies around community development, racial equity and urban farming and gardening. The neighborhood also boasts historic greystone homes and the massive former Sears, Roebuck & Co. warehouse complex, whose remaining buildings have been gradually undergoing a visionary redevelopment.

North Shore / Evanston / Rogers Park

Newcomers to Open House Chicago this year are the North Shore villages of Kenilworth, Winnetka and Glencoe. These well-to-do communities are intimately connected to the rise of the Chicago and North Western Railroad in the later years of the 19th century and have long attracted talented architects famous throughout Chicagoland. For all their noteworthy qualities and natural beauty, it is the stately homes by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, George Maher, Howard Van Doren Shaw and many others that make the North Shore such a delight for architecture enthusiasts.

Just to the south sits Evanston, home to Northwestern University and a bustling, urban central business district. Evanston is also the longtime home of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and a birthplace of the 19th century Temperance Movement. Still further to the south is Rogers Park, one of Chicago’s most economically and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. This large community is home to Loyola University Chicago and features numerous small beaches and parks. A trip down any of Rogers Park's main streets reveals a unique cultural experience that seems to transport visitors to destinations around the globe, with a wide range of cuisines to match.

Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including the North Shore Historic Homes Trail sponsored by Orren Pickell Building Group.

Oak Park

Chicago's suburban neighbor to the west is world-renowned for its residential architecture and strong association with architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Oak Park split from Cicero Township in 1902 and was linked to Chicago by the Lake Street Elevated (now CTA Green Line). With a population of 52,000, the village may contain more historic architectural sites per square mile than any other in the country: it has dozens of homes designed by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, George Maher, Marion Mahony Griffin, Walter Burley Griffin, William Drummond, E. E. Roberts and John Van Bergen.

Exclusive to the OHC mobile app, you can explore several different curated paths, including the Frank Lloyd Wright: Portrait of a Young Architect Trail sponsored by Orren Pickell Building Group.

Pilsen

Named after a city in the Czech Republic, Pilsen was established in the 1840s as one of Chicago’s earliest working-class immigrant communities. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the area drew large numbers of Bohemian immigrants who found work at nearby manufacturing plants. Since the 1960s, a predominantly Mexican American population has defined the neighborhood. Bright murals and mosaics claim the urban landscape and often reflect Mexican culture and creativity. Residents have fought urban renewal by renovating and rehabilitating homes to guarantee that the neighborhood remains accessible to Mexican immigrants. In recent years, a large number of breweries, restaurants, galleries and music venues have joined the neighborhood’s vibrant cultural scene.

Pullman / Roseland

Barely 15 years after architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape designer Nathan Barrett laid out a Utopian community for the workers of railcar magnate George Pullman’s empire, those workers went on strike, having borne the brunt of reduced demand for Pullman’s venerated product. By 1898, the Illinois Supreme Court had ordered the Pullman Palace Car Company to divest itself of its residential properties and the community was absorbed by the City of Chicago. Pullman today encompasses that historic nexus of labor rights and urban planning as well as larger areas to the west of Lake Calumet and north to 95th Street, filled in by population growth and new developments throughout the mid-20th century. Visitors today can enjoy the newly unveiled One Eleven Food Hall, explore the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, and tour Pullman’s many historic homes. Already listed on the National Register of Historic Places in addition to a State landmark designation by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Pullman became a National Monument under President Barack Obama in 2015.

Just west of Pullman, the Roseland neighborhood was built in the 1880s and named after its neat appearance and flower gardens lining residential streets. The industrial boom of the nearby Pullman Factory transformed the once rural area into a flourishing middle-class community. A stretch of Michigan Avenue between 115th and 107th known as “The Avenue” was considered Chicago’s second Magnificent Mile. However, due to a decline in blue-collar jobs in the late 20th century, Roseland experienced prolonged disinvestment. Today, residents and activists are working to re-establish Roseland as a stable and healthy community.

South Shore

In the 1880s, several wealthy Chicagoans were asked to literally move their homes to make way for the 1893 World’s Fair in (what is today’s) Jackson Park. Beautiful homes and apartment buildings were constructed along South Shore Drive and in the Jackson Park Highlands, some taking cues from the luxurious South Shore Country Club. That institution’s policy of racial discrimination resulted in its closure, but community activists rallied to preserve it into a neighborhood anchor for all. Since 1975, it’s been owned by the Chicago Park District and is known as the South Shore Cultural Center. The community is currently at a crossroads, with plans for major developments to the north and south promising significant change in the coming decades.

Wicker Park

Wicker Park is a thriving residential and commercial community centered on the iconic intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen Avenues. Largely developed in the late 1800s by German and Scandinavian immigrants, the neighborhood is named after Charles Gustavus Wicker, a multi-faceted businessman who helped rebuild the area after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. At the heart of the neighborhood is Wicker Park itself, an active green oasis. The neighborhood features outstanding Victorian residences where many famous Chicagoans have lived and worked. Considerable wealth is reflected in the grand Gothic and Italianate brick and stone mansions that grace some of the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets, but rows of simple working-class cottages often stand just blocks away. By the 1930s, Wicker Park had become part of the working class Polish community expanding northwest from nearby West Town, and by the 1960s a significant Latinx population had moved in. The neighborhood’s cheap rents and proximity to downtown began to draw artists in the 1980s, kicking off heated early battles over gentrification. In the ensuing decades, the neighborhood’s vintage homes and eclectic commercial corridors have cemented its status as a desirable part of town.

Woodlawn

Woodlawn developed rapidly in the 1890s as the gateway to the 1893 World’s Fair. The elevated train along 63rd Street helped spur its development into a commercial and jazz mecca. As African Americans began to migrate south during the 1940s, many faced housing discrimination and hostility. The neighborhood became the center of a pivotal Supreme Court Case Hansberry v. Lee and echo experiences set in Lorraine Hansberry's famous play, “A Raisin in the Sun.” By the early 1960s, Woodlawn was a predominantly African American neighborhood and considered part of the “Black Metropolis.” Although the neighborhood has faced considerable disinvestment, Woodlawn is seeing renewed interest. The Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park could bring much-needed economic development but is also prompting concern about displacement of longtime residents.

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