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Far Southwest Side

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Far Southwest Side District's





Ashburn Neighborhoods
Ashburn, Ashburn Estates, Beverly View, Crestline, Gresham, Mary Crest, Parkview, Scottsdale, Wrightwood

Neat, Well-maintained Homes Line this Ashburn Residential Street


Ashburn Neighborhood
Ashburn earned its moniker because it served as a dumping ground for Chicagoans’ furnace and fireplace ashes during the 1800s. Even after it was annexed by Chicago in 1889, its lowly status, marked by scattered pyramids of soot and ash, kept the area sparsely populated for decades. In the mid-1890s struggling immigrants from Holland, Sweden, and Ireland constructed a couple of dozen homes there; but it hardly represented a building boom.

In 1905, there were still fewer than fifty houses in Ashburn when the Chicago and Grand Trunk Railway laid down its tracks through the heart of the community. Surprisingly, the railroad failed to inspire much related construction nor did the promise of the construction of Chicago’s first airport on its west side, Ashburn Flying Field.

The years during and after the war saw industrial expansion between avenues Pulaski and Cicero in both Ashburn and West Lawn. This included Chrysler’s Dodge Plant that manufactured bomber engines, Tucker's automobile factory, and Ford's facility that built jet engines for the Korean War. In the 1960s, community boundaries were redrawn between Ashburn and West Lawn; and, unfortunately, all the industrial areas were placed within West Lawn.

Beverly View
Beverly View, whose name derives from the nearby Beverly neighborhood, is completely disconnected from surrounding areas and is entirely contained within a circular layout. Nearly every street in the neighborhood dead-ends into a residential alley at its outermost edge. Thicket of trees and brush further insulate Beverly View from the bordering railroad tracks.

From the 1890s until the First World War, several waves of Europeans settled in Beverly View, until a shift occurred in 1920. Then, the existing residents spread northward as new waves of Irish and African American migrants began to inhabit the area. Sometime between 1910 and 1920 a streetcar line along 79th Street linked Beverly View to the 79th Street beaches; and in 1931, another street car line was added to connect residents to the rest of the city.

Western Avenue, the main street in Beverly View, was the longest street in Chicago; and at the peak of streetcar service, cars ran from 111th Street to Howard Street on the city’s north side. However, by 1950, both streetcar lines were converted to bus routes.

Scottsdale Neighborhood
The small area now known as Scottsdale spent the first portion of the 20th century as the unpopulated west side of the Ashburn neighborhood. Few people lived there, because it was the site of Chicago’s first airport, Ashburn Flying Field. Created in 1914 with two sod runways stretching across sixty-seven acres, the airport functioned as a WWI pilot training facility that drew many of America’s aviation pioneers, including "Pop" Dickinson, the field’s developer, and a young flying enthusiast named Charles A. Lindbergh.

Twenty years later it was struggling in the shadow of the nearby and much larger Midway Airport, which already was ranked as the world’s busiest airfield. In 1942 the U.S. Defense Department took over a public park in Scottsdale for Chrysler Corporation to build a bomber factory and that construction helped keep the Ashburn airport alive.

The small airport's runways remained in use until the early 1950s when the post-WWII Baby Boom caught up with the  area, and its population ballooned by a whopping 400 percent. In 1952, the urgent need for housing inspired builder Raymond Lutgert to develop the airfield into a residential community which he named for his son, Scott. One of the area’s biggest attractions was—and still is—the Scottsdale Shopping Center, which was built in the mid-1950s and was the first strip mall-style shopping plaza in Chicago.

Parkview and Wrightwood Neighborhoods
The history of these two neighborhoods is similar to others within their community. Both remained sparsely populated until the industrial expansion and population surge that followed with the needs of World
War II.

No information was found on the origin of either name.

The Ashburn Estates' name came from neighBoring Ashburn.

Unfortunately, no historical information was found on the neighborhoods of Crestline and Mary Crest.



Auburn Gresham

Auburn Gresham Neighborhoods
Brainerd, Gresham, and West Chatham

Auburn Gresham St. Sabina Church


Gresham Neighborhood
The original inhabitants of the area were small-time farmers from Holland and Germany who used the swampy terrain to produce enough crops to support themselves and their families. They, then, sold the surplus at local markets. With the opening of the Union Stockyard in 1865, the area’s population exploded and the local government was unable to provide residents with basic infrastructure and services. As a result, Gresham (also known as Auburn Gresham) was incorporated into Chicago in 1889.

The establishment of street cars throughout the south side made it convenient for people to get to and from work and also made the neighborhood an easy sell for developers looking to attract families who were trying to escape older and more congested sections of the city. As a result, more and more of the local labor force moved to the area and the population of Gresham grew from around 19,000 in 1920 to over 57,000 by 1930.

Unfortunately, however, no information was found on how Gresham's name originated.

Brainerd Neighborhood
Brainerd is named after one of the five original founders of the Rock Island Railroad line, which runs directly through the neighborhood and still services the south side communities of Chicago. The residents who settled into the area had labor ties to the railroad or were recent immigrants from Ireland and Germany.




Beverly Neighborhoods
Beverly, East Beverly, North Beverly,
West Beverly

Unitarian Church of Beverly


Beverly Neighborhood
Residents often identify their community as “Beverly Hills,” a reference to the glacial ridge just west of Longwood Drive, the highest point in Chicago. Whether the community was named after Beverly, Massachusetts or Beverly Hills, California, remains subject to debate. In the 1890s, however, the Rock Island Railroad designated its 91st Street station “Beverly Hills;” and by World War I, the telephone company had established a Beverly exchange.

Sparsely settled until the mid-nineteenth century, business interests turned their attention to the Beverly area with the completion in 1889 of the suburban line of the Rock Island Railroad that runs parallel to the eastern edge of the ridge. The natural beauty of its position on the ridge allowed the community to become an exclusive streetcar suburb—meaning, no industry, and the spacious homes, tree-lined streets, and large lots reflect this historic distinction.

The neighborhood's roots are largely English and Protestant, but it is now home to a large Irish-American/Catholic community and many Irish establishments. In fact, this far southwest side neighborhood is the only place in Chicago that you’ll find an Irish castle.

In 1886, a man by the name Robert Givens built the castle for his Irish fiancée – it was an exact replica of the one her family lived in on the Emerald Isle, down to the stones imported from the same quarry. Sadly, Givens’ bride-to-be died before she ever had a chance to see the castle made in her honor. To this day, alleged paranormal happenings are reported at Givens Castle, which is now the Beverly Unitarian Church.

During World War II, Beverly served as a peaceful sanctuary for wounded officers in the Allied Forced of many nations who were in recovery.

The neighborhood is also recognized for its extensive number of historic homes. One section of well-preserved Prairie-style bungalows has been designated a Chicago Landmark.

The East, North, and West Beverly neighborhoods' names came from nearby Beverly.



n Heights Community

Washington Heights Neighborhoods
Beverly, Brainerd, Fernwood, Gresham, Longwood Manor, Washington Heights

Old Railway Path Turned Biking Trail


Washington Heights Neighborhood
The area that became Washington Heights was pretty much devoid of settlers until the 1830s. Around this time, farmers moved in and claimed the land with a series of sprawling farms; and agriculture became the principle use of the territory until the 1860s.

Then, nearby industrial development of railway train manufacturing plants caused Washington Heights to endurE a shift from rural life to a more urban situation as workers from the plants built residences in the neighborhood. In 1864, just two years later, the town of Washington Heights was formed as a small residential district for local industrial laborers and their families.

The publication, Illinois Place Names, Number 55, 1989 indicates that the town of Washington Heights was known as Blue Island Ridge, Campbell's Woods, Dummy Junction, and North Blue Island. A post office established in 1869 was called Washington Heights and became the name that was used when it was annexed to Chicago in 1890. Washington was usually to honor George Washington in Chicago place names.



Mount Greenwood

Mount Greenwood Neighborhoods
Mount Greenwood, Mount Greenwood Heights, Talley's Corner

Gateway to Mount Greenwood Cemetery


Mount Greenwood Neighborhood
In 1879 when George Waite received an eighty acre land grant, he took part of his land and developed a cemetery along an elevated ridge that seemed to be a perfect location for a burial ground. He planted dense plots of beautiful trees and broad green lawns, erected stately monuments, and named it "Mount Greenwood." The residential area that grew around the lush cemetery boundaries became known as Mount Greenwood as well. Eventually, more cemeteries were built in this area, which caused the location to be known, for a time, as "Seven Holy Tombs."

To serve the mourners of the funerals, which were all-day affairs, taverns and restaurants quickly emerged on the major streets bordering the cemeteries. Dog and horse racing tracks were also built and helped bring a variety of customers the area. Irish saloons served corned beef and cabbage, and German saloons served sauerbraten and dumplings.

In the early 1900s, Protestant temperance crusaders sought to close down the saloons and make the community "dry" like nearby Morgan Park. But in 1907, opposition to the temperance movement succeeded in incorporating Mount Greenwood, a strategy designed to have it remain "wet."

In 1927 Mount Greenwood voted for annexation to Chicago. They hoped for improvements such as sewers, water mains, hard-surfaced streets, streetlights, and a new public school; but such changes were slow to arrive. It was not until 1936 that the Works Progress Administration finally laid sewage systems, paved and lighted city streets. As late as the 1960s, the Mount Greenwood Civic Association was still fighting the city for curbs and gutters.

Unfortunately, no historical information was found on the Talley's Corner neighborhood.



Morgan Park Community

Morgan Park Neighborhoods
Beverly Woods, Kennedy Park, Morgan Park, West Morgan Park

Morgan Park United Methodist Church


Morgan Park Neighborhood
Like many others Thomas Morgan, an early English settler, came to the south Chicago area to establish a homestead. However, unlike the others, Morgan purchased a large parcel that would become a town that assumed his name and later become one of the many neighborhoods of Chicago.

The land passed to his heirs when he died, who in turn sold it to the Blue Island Land and Building Company in 1869. The company began developing the area for residential and commercial purposes, donated land for the Mount Vernon Military Academy (present day Morgan Park Academy), and even persuaded the Baptist Theological Union to relocate to the area. In 1882 the town was incorporated.

In contrast to many other former suburbs of Chicago, Morgan Park was late in its annexation to the city. It wasn’t until 1914 when this hotly contested union took place after years of court battles and much protest from Morgan Park residents. It was the promise of police and fire stations and better schools that finally converted voters to approve annexation.

Kennedy Park Neighborhood
Kennedy Park was originally part of the greater Morgan Park area, but eventually became its own neighborhood. It took its title from the park that occupies the center of its tiny, eight-square-block area, which was christened in honor of Calumet Park commission member D.J. Kennedy.

West Morgan Park's name came from neighboring Morgan Park. 

Beverly Woods' name came from neighboring Beverly.