How Chicago’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

10 03 2014

How Chicago's Neighborhoods Got Their Names

It’s often said that “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods.” This may seem redundant—isn’t every city a city of neighborhoods?—but Chicago really is a big, wonderful amalgamation of unique enclaves. Where do the names for all these neighborhoods come from? We sought to find out.
Keep in mind that there are at least 200 neighborhoods in Chicago. While this list is extensive, it isn’t absolute. For example, some areas were left off because they were obvious extensions of other neighborhoods (hello, West Rogers Park), while others lacked reliable info (or any information at all).



One response

11 03 2014

Somehow, Morgan Park was left off the list.,_Chicago
Morgan Park is located south of the Beverly (properly Beverly Hills) neighborhood and shares a border at 107th St. with Beverly on the north, Halsted St. (north of 115th St.) and Ashland Ave.(south of 115th St.) on the east, 119th St. on the south, and (roughly) California Ave. on the west, and includes Mount Greenwood Cemetery. Beverly Hills and Morgan Park share the same ZIP code. The community was initially settled in the mid-nineteenth century and known as North Blue Island because of its geographic relationship to the already established settlement of Blue Island to the south and because of its position on the blue island ridge. Thomas Morgan became the area’s largest landholder when he purchased all of the property between what is today 91st St. on the north, 119th St. on the south, Western Avenue on the west, and roughly Vincennes Ave. to the east. Morgan was born in Surrey, England, and came to the United States in 1843, briefly settling in Albany, New York. He was the son of a London banker and was left a large fortune by his father which he used to establish himself on the ridge in 1844. Here he cleared trees and operated a cattle and sheep ranch for the next quarter of a century. Morgan’s son Henry was for a time the village president of Hyde Park before that community was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1889. In 1869, the Blue Island Land and Building Company purchased three thousand acres of this property from the Morgan family and laid out streets, planted thousands of trees, and built houses for those who were attracted to the bucolic atmosphere of the new community. The goal of the organization was to create a suburban community “ from smoke and other nuisances that [were] becoming more and more intolerable in the city”.
Both the president and the treasurer of the Blue Island Land and Building Company were executives of the Rock Island Railroad at the time the former company was incorporated, and they immediately used their influence to have a spur line built to serve the new community. This arrangement lasted until 1889, when the “Suburban Line” as it exists today was built between Gresham and the Vermont Street station in Blue Island, at which time the dummy line, as it was called, was removed, much to the consternation of those who lived immediately nearby. At this point Morgan Park received three handsome passenger depots (at 107th St., 111th St., and 115th St.), with the 111th Street station being an elaborate Queen Ann structure designed by John T. Long that is sited immediately east of Bohn Park. Morgan Park (and especially the area of it depicted in western part of the map included with this article) is primarily an upper middle-class community, with a housing stock to reflect this demographic, although there are several estate-sized houses on the ridge at Longwood Drive. Many of the buildings in the neighborhood were designed by notable architects, including Dwight Perkins, Dankmar Adler, Murray Hetherington, John Hetherington, Palliser, Palliser & Co., Normand S. Patton and Harry H. Waterman. The community is home to the Beverly Arts Center.
Because of its ecclesiastical associations (George Walker’s father was affiliated with the old University of Chicago and Walker himself would play an influential role in the creation of the present University of Chicago, both of which were founded by organizations with Baptist connections) Morgan Park prohibited the sale of alcohol east of Western Avenue when it was incorporated as a village in 1882 – a ban which stands to this day. The suburb became a city neighborhood when it was annexed in 1914.
Rotary International was formed in Morgan Park at the home of Paul P. Harris at 10856 Longwood Drive, and today the house is owned and maintained by that organization as a memorial to him.

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