Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Portrait of Lincoln Park, 1963

The following is excerpted from "City in a garden : Homes in the Lincoln Park Community", 1963, and is a small portrait of the condition of the neighborhood at the time.

Bounded roughly by North Avenue on the south, Lincoln Park on the east. Diversey Avenue on the north, and the Milwaukee tracks and Clybourn Avenue on the west, the area was first settled in the 1850's by German truck gardeners. Prior to 1871 buildings were fairly scattered, and most of them were leveled during the Chicago Fire of that year.

It was during the next 25 years that most of the structures in this neighborhood went up, from wooden "relief shanties" and brick cottages in the south and west to the elaborate stone mansions of the northern sector. The area became the home of De Paul University and McCormick Theological Seminary, numerous hospitals, churches, and schools, and the Chicago Historical Society — not to mention the garage that witnessed the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

With time, portions of the Lincoln Park area, rundown and shabby, began the downhill slide into urban blight. A report as late as 1948 characterized the section as "predominantly in a state of deterioration." Even before this time, however, energetic and enterprising residents had begun to retrieve, restore, and rescue. The people who made it possible proved that at least one Chicago community has made a reality of the old motto — City in a Garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment