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North Side

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North Side District's


North Center Community

North Center Neighborhoods
Hamlin Park, Northcenter, Roscoe Village,
Saint Ben’s

Holiday Time in Downtown North Center

Northcenter Neighborhood
In the later portion of the 1800s, roads were improved and the elevated train was extended making Northcenter easier to access and subsequently more attractive to early settlers. Many European immigrants were drawn to the area and filled in the Northcenter neighborhood between two industrial districts--perhaps this is where the "center" in its name originated--where they found work. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, there was a massive demand for non-wood housing, and Northcenter's riverbanks yielded suitable clay. Soon, it became nationally known as the center--there's that word again--of the brick making industry and earned the nickname “Bricktown"--which is all that's known for certain about name origination of this area.

Northcenter is fondly remembered by Chicagoans for the Riverview amusement park that opened in 1904 at Belmont and Western Avenue; it closed in 1967.

Hamlin Park Neighborhood
To answer the requests of the residents, the Lincoln Park Commission created Hamlin Park in 1910 on an eight acre site it had acquired. The Commission named most of their neighborhood parks in honor of members of President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet, and Hamlin Park honors Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1891), Lincoln's vice-president. Hamlin Park became the namesake for the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Roscoe Village Neighborhood
While not certain, it is believed that this neighborhood name comes from John Lewis Cochran, again. Like Balmoral, Roscoe Street was probably named after a train stop outside of Philadelphia because Cochran's creativity was boundless—within the limits of Philadelphia train stations.

Saint Ben’s Neighborhood
In the North Center Community, is a comfortable, family-oriented neighborhood called St. Ben’s. It was named after St. Benedict’s parish.



Lake View Community

Lake View Neighborhoods
Boystown, Lakeview, Lakeview East, Northalsted, Roscoe Village,
South East Ravenswood, Southport Corridor, West Lakeview, Wrigleyville

Wrigley Field, Home of the Chicago Cubs


Lakeview Neighborhood
This busting North Side neighborhood wasn't actually named for its view of the lake. Rather, it was named for a hotel, which was named for the view of the lake. The long-vanished Hotel Lake View was built in 1854. Walter Newberry, of Newberry library fame, suggested the name to the owner James Rees. Lakeview was an incorporated town from 1887 to 1889 when Chicago annexed it into the city. People were living in the area from 1830.

Boystown Neighborhood
This informal, colloquial name for the LGBT community area started being used in the 1970s, around the time of the first Gay Pride Parade. In use since the 1990s, LGBT is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. 

North Halsted (Northalsted) Neighborhood
North Halsted, styled Northalsted by its business association, is a smaller area within the Lakeview East boundaries. While Boystown has been used as a colloquial name for all of Lakeview East, some reserve the name North Halsted for a more specific area along North Halsted Street. The Halsted name originates from William and Calaeb Halsted, two brothers from New York who developed parts of the Loop. This neighborhood features more than sixty gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The North Halsted area is also home to Center on Halsted, a LGBT community center.

Southport Corridor `Neighborhood
The neighborhood takes its name from the thriving commercial strip along Southport Avenue (1400 West).

Wrigleyville Neighborhood
This neighborhood is named after Wrigley Field, which was named after gum magnate and Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley in 1926. While the area is known for its crowded bars and young, rowdy revelers, the Cubs National League baseball team themselves are all business, and signs point to this being their year, or not.

Lakeview East and West Lakeview take their names from their relationship to the Lakeview neighborhood.

South East Ravenswood's name comes from neighboring Ravenswood.



Lincoln Park Community

Lincoln Park Neighborhoods
Lathrop Homes, Lincoln Park, Old Town,
Old Town Triangle, Park West,
Ranch Triangle, Sheffield, West DePaul,
Wrightwood Neighbors

Lovely Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Neighborhood
Lincoln Park was originally a cemetery for cholera and smallpox victims. Its shallow graves located so close to Lake Michigan, the city's water supply, rightly raised some alarms; and Chicago began converting it into a massive park called Lake Park in the 1860s. After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, the park was renamed in his honor.

Lantrop Homes Neighborhood
With roots that date as far back as the 1930s, the Julia Lathrop Homes Development was one of Chicago's first housing projects. Julia Clifford Lathrop (1858–1932) was an American social reformer and served as director of the United States Children's Bureau from 1912 to 1922. She was the first woman ever to head a United States federal bureau.

Old Town Triangle Historic District Neighborhood
Most of the Old Town neighborhood lies in the Near North Side community, but the wedge-shaped area known as Old Town Triangle lies in the Lincoln Park community. The name, of course, is influenced by neighboring Old Town and by the shape of the property. It's such a historically significant zone that this section was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1977.

Ranch Triangle Neighborhood
"RANCH" is an acronym for Racine, Armitage, North, Chicago River, and Halsted, which are the boundaries of the neighborhood.

Sheffield Neighborhood
In 1845, Joseph Sheffield of Connecticut purchased the property eventually named for him through his Chicago agent, William B. Ogden, who later became the first mayor of Chicago. Sheffield had his property platted as "Sheffield’s Addition to Chicago," and most of it was annexed to the growing city in 1853. Sheffield sold off and leased portions of his newly acquired land to truck farmers, who grew celery, horse radishes, and other vegetables and fruit.

West DePaul Neighborhood
In heart of the Lincoln Park community lays the West DePaul neighborhood. It takes its name from the prestigious DePaul University, whose century-old campus is a central focus of the area. Founded in 1898 and named for St. Vincent de Paul, the educational institution has grown to become the nation’s largest Catholic university.

Unfortunately, no historical information on the neighborhoods of Park West and Wrightwood Neighbors was found.

Details on the Old Town neighborhood will be found later in this series.




Avondale Community

Avondale Neighborhoods
Avondale, Belmont Gardens, Kosciuszko Park, Chicago's Polish Village: Jackowo,

Polish Corridor, Milwaukee Avenue

Avondale Neighborhood
Though no information on the naming of Avondale was found, a brief history of this significant community is in order. The neighborhood grew rapidly once Jefferson Township was annexed to the city in 1889. Improvements of the local infrastructure, the extension of the Milwaukee streetcar line to Jefferson Park, and the building of the elevated train in neighboring Logan Square resulted in Avondale’s rapid development as people poured in from the overpopulated districts. Much of the population was foreign-born: Germans and Scandinavians predominating east of Kedzie, Poles representing the chief group west of it, and a smattering of Italians entering the area later .

Historian Edward Kantowicz maintains that because Milwaukee Avenue served as the chief route between the old Polish Downtown and St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, the Chicago's Polish immigrants had a chance to become well acquainted with the available empty lots as the funeral processions passed down Milwaukee Avenue, and this resulted in the city’s infamous “Polish Corridor.”

Chicago's Polish Village: Jackowo and Wacawowo
In Polish the ending 'owo' (for example, in Jackowo) functions like the English 'ville' in Johnsville or 'ton' in Charleston. When added to a name of a saint, it indicates a Polish town or village. This is a colloquial phenomenon and is not present in educated Polish. It does, however, persist in the names of different Polish areas of Chicago.

Jackowo Neighborhood is one of Chicago’s largest and most vibrant "Polish Patches." The neighborhood gets its name from Saint Hyacinth’s Basilica, the local Catholic parish church. Jackowo comes from the Polish spelling of Saint Hyacinth's Basilica, (Polish: Bazylika Jacka).

Neighborhood (Polish: Wac?awowo) is the “Polish Patch” just north of Jackowo. Like most of the Polish Patches in Chicago, its name derives from St. Wenceslaus, the area’s Polish parish. This area is also referred to as the Polish Village – a name featured on signs hung on street lamps over the district.

Kosciuszko Park Neighborhood
"The Land of Koz" was dedicated to Thadeuz Kosciuszko in 1916. Kosciuszko came from Poland to assist the Americans during the Revolutionary War and became a brigadier general.

Unfortunately, historical information on "Belmont" could not be confirmed. One source listed "Belmont" as commemorating The Battle of Belmont, which was fought in 1861 in Mississippi County, Missouri. It was the first combat test in the American Civil War for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the future Union Army general in chief and an eventual U.S. President. If true, it would be interesting to know how this happened in a city that usually honors people or places with a direct connection to Chicago in their naming process.



Logan Square

Logan Square Neighborhoods
Avondale, Belmont Gardens, Bucktown,
Logan Square,Palmer Square

Illinois Centennial Monument of Logan Square


Logan Square Neighborhood
A square located at the center of the neighborhood is dedicated to John A. Logan, a Civil War general and politician who is credited with popularizing Memorial Day. The community as well as the neighborhood bears his name today.

Bucktown Neighborhood
Though not documented, it is believed the term Bucktown was coined early in the area’s history, probably the 1830s. Early Polish immigrants raised goats in the area and called it "kozie prery,"  or "goat prairie." That name evolved into Bucktown, as "buck" is the term for a male goat.

Palmer Square Neighborhood
This tiny area located within Logan Square is named for Potter Palmer, a successful early Chicago businessman who opened a dry goods store in 1852 and eventually sold it to Marshall Field.