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Hyde Park, located on the South Side of Chicago and seven miles south of the Loop, it is home to the University of Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Oriental Institute and the Renaissance Society. It is formerly the name of a Township that included numerous other neighborhoods that have all been annexed by the city of Chicago.

Hyde Park was founded by Paul Cornell in the 1850s near the Illinois Central Railroad south of Chicago. In 1861, the Hyde Park Township was incorporated, extending from 39th to 63rd Streets. The southern border was later extended as far as South 138th Street and as far west as State Street. The township was independent of Chicago until 1889, when it was annexed to the city.

As a neighborhood, Hyde Park's definition has shrunk to a core area grouped closely around Cornell's development on 53rd Street and the lakefront. Today, the name Hyde Park is officially applied to the neighborhood from 51st Street (Hyde Park Blvd.) to the neighborhood around the Midway Plaisance or simply The Midway (between 59th and 60th) The neighborhood's eastern boundary is Lake Michigan and its western boundary is Washington Park.Some consider Hyde Park to include the area between 47th and 51st Streets (E. Hyde Park Blvd.), although this area is actually the south half of the Kenwood community area. The area encompassing Hyde Park and South Kenwood is also referred to as Hyde Park-Kenwood. It hosts two of the four Chicago Registered Historic Places from the original October 15, 1966 National Register of Historic Places list (Chicago Pile-1, & Robie House). A large part of the neighborhood is in the Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District.The Hyde Park Herald, a local newspaper, has covered neighborhood news since 1882. The neighborhood has gained particular fame as the home of President Barack Obama, who lived in Hyde Park for years and now owns a home in neighboring Kenwood.Paul Cornell, a successful businessman, real-estate speculator, and abolitionist, purchased 300 acres of land between 51st and 55th Streets along the shore of Lake Michigan and the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1850s, with the hope of attracting other Chicago businessmen and their families to the area. Some of Cornell's associates, including the sheriff, used their houses in Hyde Park as stops on the Underground Railroad. The neighborhood enjoyed weather tempered by Lake Michigan; cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Cornell parceled out the land and successfully negotiated for a rail depot at 53rd St to lure guests to The Hyde Park House, a hotel he built to serve as the neighborhood's social epicenter. The hotel served as the popular focal point of most community activity from the 1850s until it burned in an 1879 fire. It was visited by popular and well-to-do guests, including the newly widowed Mary Todd Lincoln. In 1917, a new structure was erected on the site of the hotel. It is now a condominium building called the Hampton House.

In the early 1890s, with the founding of The University of Chicago by John D. Rockefeller, Hyde Park began to make its mark. In 1893, Hyde Park hosted the World's Columbian Exposition. While the fair covered hundreds of acres, the only structure left today is Charles Atwood's Palace of Fine Arts, which has since been converted into Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

The University of Chicago, with leadership from William Rainey Harper, its first president, and large financial contributions from John D. Rockefeller, quickly became one of the world's most prestigious universities, and is now associated with 85 Nobel prize winners.By the 1920s, the University of Chicago lured Chicago's oldest institution of higher learning, the Chicago Theological Seminary to relocate from the near west side to Hyde Park, on property immediately adjacent to the University's central quad. Since then, four other theological schools and the University's own Divinity School have joined Chicago Theological Seminary in Hyde Park, making the neighborhood home to nearly half of the Chicago region's accredited theological schools.

By the 1930s, Hyde Park was prospering as a popular hotel and resort area boasting over 100 hotels, including a dozen elaborate structures on the lakefront. By the 1940s, following the Depression and during the war, some of these hotels began to cater to a less affluent and transient population. Many were later converted to apartment and condominium buildings. A thriving artists' colony on 57th Street led to the founding of the 57th Street Art Fair in 1948, which continues as Chicago's oldest juried art fair.

By the 1950s, Hyde Park was suffering from the economic decline that was affecting much of the South Side—a decline that began during and after World War I, with the Great Migration of African Americans from the southern to the northern states. Large numbers of these migrants, traveling to Chicago, settled in Hyde Park, which then offered inexpensive but substandard housing. In 1955, Leon Despres, the noted civil rights champion, was elected alderman of Hyde Park, a position he kept until 1975. Despres argued passionately for fair housing, racial integration, and historic preservation.In the 1950s and 1960s the University of Chicago, supported by the community under the title "Fight Against Blight" and by community leaders including Hyde Park Herald publisher Bruce Sagan, sponsored one of the largest urban-renewal plans in the nation. In coordination with the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, the urban renewal plan resulted in the demolition and redevelopment of entire city blocks of decayed housing and other buildings with the goal of creating an "interracial community of high standards." Jack Meltzer was a leader of this effort.Hyde Park hosts 1700 East 56th Street the tallest building in Chicago south of 13th Street.

 

Printer's Row, also known as Printing House Row, is a neighborhood located in the southern portion of the Loop community area of Chicago. It is centered on Dearborn Street from Congress Parkway on the north to Polk Street on the south, and includes buildings along Plymouth Court on the east and Federal Street to the west. Most of the buildings in this area were built between 1886 and 1915 to house printing, publishing, and related businesses. Today, the buildings have mainly been converted into residential lofts. Part of Printer's Row is an official landmark district, the Printing House Row District. The annual Printer's Row Book Fair is held in early June along Dearborn Street.

Dearborn Station at the end of Printers row, in the South Loop Printing House District, is the oldest train station still standing in Chicago; it has been converted to retail and office space. Most of the area south of Congress Parkway and east of the Chicago River, excepting Printer's Row, is referred to as the South Loop. The southern boundary of the neighborhood is under debate. While the southern boundary for the community area is Roosevelt Road, the term "South Loop" is often used to describe an area that extends as far south as 18th Street or Cermak Road. Numerous shops south of Roosevelt Road with "South Loop" in their name hint that this more generous definition may be gaining recognition.

The more restrictively-defined area includes River City, the northern half of Dearborn Park, and portions of State Street, Wabash Avenue, and Michigan Avenue. The more generous definitions would include the Central Station development, Dearborn Park II, the Prairie District, and even the northern growth of Chinatown.

The major landowner in the South Loop is Columbia College Chicago, a private school that owns 17 buildings. Also to be found here is the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, championed by Mayor Daley.

South Loop and Printer’s Row are zoned to the following Chicago Public Schools: South Loop School and Phillips Academy High School. Also located in the South Loop, Jones College Prep High School, which is a selective enrollment magnet school drawing students from the entire city.

The South Loop was historically home to vice districts, including the brothels, bars, burlesque theaters, and arcades. Inexpensive residential hotels on Van Buren and State Street made it one of the city's Skid Rows until the 1970s. One of the largest homeless shelters in the city, the Pacific Garden Mission, was located at State and Balbo from 1923 to 2007. The new location is further south and across the Chicago River.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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University Villageis a renamed urban area of west Chicago consisting of newly constructed residential and retail properties. The University Village/Little Italy community cherishes its rich past as one of the first neighborhoods of Chicago. The community is made up of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds as a result of immigration, urban renewal, gentrification and the growth of the resident student and faculty population of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The village consists of major new residential developments over old, known, Chicago neighborhoods. One such development is the Ivy Hall development, over the area once known as the Maxwell Street neighborhood. This development took one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago and made it into a middle- to upper- income area. There is a wide variety of housing options, from starter lofts for first time homebuyers to million dollar family homes.

The University Commons development and University Station were created from the defunct South Water Market, historically known as the distribution point for Chicago's produce and agriculture market. The Roosevelt Square development was created over the remains of the now demolished public housing area that was under the auspices of the Chicago Housing Authority called the ABLA homes.

The village also includes the established neighborhood of Little Italy, with a rich history of its own.

University Village surrounds the University of Illinois at Chicago, located south and west of the campus. The Illinois Medical District borders the area on the west. The Pilsen community borders the south the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94) borders the area on the east.

Politically, University Village is currently served by the 25th Ward Alderman, Daniel Solis, and the 2nd Ward Alderman, Bob Fioretti, for the City of Chicago. The neighborhood is also served by the Illinois 7th Congressional District seat in the U.S. congress, currently filled by democrat Danny K. Davis.

University Village is a late 1990s and early 2000s housing redevelopment created by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Historically, the neighborhood encompassed the old Maxwell Street neighborhood. From the late 19th century until the 1920s, the Maxwell Street neighborhood was an important Jewish neighborhood for many Jews who had escaped government organized pogroms in their countries of origin. They established an outdoor market both to replicate many of the traditional markets from their countries of origin, but also as a way to make a living when starting out in the United States with very little.

Once the Great Migration of African Americans from the South began in 1919, the neighborhood became increasingly African American though many of the businesses remained in Jewish hands. It is at this time that the music known as Chicago Blues originated and was performed on Maxwell Street, (orange marker on the map). Maxwell Street is widely recognized as the birthplace of the modern blues and artists such as Bo Diddley, Junior Wells and Little Walter were once regulars at the market, playing for tips in the street. This rich history is detailed in the documentary film, Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street by documentary filmmaker, Phil Ranstrom.

The name "Cheat You Fair" came from the famous store at the corner of Maxwell and Halsted Streets, which exemplified the spirit of bargaining, with both the buyer and vendor trying to "cheat" the other "fair". Nate's Deli, which was previously Lyon's Deli, was an important landmark in the neighborhood and an example of the many partnerships between blacks and Jews at Maxwell Street. Opened by Ben Lyon, a Jewish man in the neighborhood, in the 1920s, he eventually sold the deli to his devoted employee, Nate Duncan, an African American child of the Great Migration. Nate kept all of the original recipes until the deli was taken over and destroyed by the University Village development in the 1990s. The famous scene from the Blues Brothers where Aretha Franklin sings Think was filmed in Nate's Deli.

It was at Maxwell Street where Abe "Fluky" Drexler first began to sell the Chicago style hot dog in 1929, and where Jim Stefanovic created the Maxwell Street Polish at Jim's Hot Dog Stand. The Original Jim's was torn down around 2002 and relocated to nearby Union Street, just off the Roosevelt Road on-ramp to the 90/94 expressway, still in the neighborhood. The Maxwell street market continues today on Des Plaines Avenue between Harrison and Roosevelt streets, east of University Village. It is largely a Mexican street market today, and is still a popular place to find bargains and unique merchandise.

The retail heart of University Village today is still Maxwell Street and Halsted, but many of the old buildings have been razed to make way for new construction. Several buildings have been saved and rehabilitated in order to retain some of the neighborhood's original character. Restaurants and upscale services that cater to middle to high income residents and college students now stand there. The fight to save Maxwell Street from being destroyed by UIC is also highlighted in the film, Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street. Sadly, there are few traces of this important, historic market today, except for a few statues and kiosks on Maxwell Street, just east of Halsted.

Near Maxwell and Halsted, University Commons stands on the area of five city blocks that for 78 years were the home of Chicago's South Water Market. Originally, South Water Market sprawled along the Chicago River on South Water Street. It stretched westward from what is now Michigan Ave. It was fairly accessible to the rail yards; and most of all, it was backed up to the docks where incoming vessels could bring fruits and vegetables from the states located around the Great Lakes. Michigan was a big supplier during the warm months. Cherries, celery, apples, plums and other fresh commodities were put on boats in Benton Harbor, St. Joe, Ludington, Traverse City and other Michigan port cities and shipped to the South Water Market.

Around 1925, the City of Chicago began the construction of new streets parallel to the Chicago River and the market was in the way. As a result, the market was moved to the location that is University Commons today. The displacement of the market was hailed as a good move since the market was now close to modernizing transportation infrastructure such as trucks and railroads. To make room for the new South Water Market, deteriorated existing houses were bull-dosed in this high crime neighborhood, then called The Village. In 1925, the cost for the approximate 13 acres of land and buildings was around 17 million dollars.

On July 10, 2003, The Chicago Planning Commission granted their approval on the sale of the 78 year old produce market for a cost of approximately 36 million dollars to Enterprise Companies of Chicago. Enterprise turned the South Water Market's six buildings of 4 levels into 824, one, two and three bedroom loft apartments with 4,500 sq ft of retail property. The cost of this redevelopment was in the range of 200 million dollars in August/September 2003.

The market was auctioned off to a few other interested developers taking in all intentions of the 5 highest bidders, Enterprise Companies, was offered the deal because of their inttio not to tear down the 78 year old units. Other bidders had intentions of demolition rather than saving and restoring the terra cotta facades, as Chicago University Commons plans to do.

The three-story buildings were originally designed by the architects Fugard & Knapp. They were adorned with intricately carved terra-cotta façades reminiscent of the acclaimed Wrigley Building, which dates to the same era. Terra-cotta carvings and floral ornaments were cleaned, repaired or replaced by the firm Pappageorge/Haymes Ltd., a leading urban residential architecture firm.