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How Chicago Neighborhood’s Got Their Names

How Chicago neighborhood’s got their names

Have you ever wondered how Chicago neighborhoods got their names? If you’re reading this, I bet you have… Below is a history of some of Chicago’s most popular neighborhood’s along with pictures of some of my recent sales in each neighborhood. If you are interested in buying or selling in any neighborhood, let’s talk!

Streeterville Neighborhood

Realtors in Streeterville chicagoHow Streeterville got it’s name

Captain George Streeter docked (ran aground) his boat near the mouth of the Chicago River in the area now known as Streeterville in the late 1800s. Following the Great Chicago Fire, the city deposited debris and construction waste in Lake Michigan around Streeter’s boat effectively making him a squatter. Streeter claimed the land as his own, forged documents of ownership, collected fees for dumping in the lake and sold portions of the area to other interested squatters. He even collected his own taxes on the land. After numerous gun fights with authorities, Streeter was finally evicted and sent to prison for manslaughter. A bronze statue of the captain can be found in the Streeterville neighborhood today.

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River North Neighborhood

Best Realtors River North ChicagoHow River North got it’s name

Now one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city, River North was not always home to night clubs in high-rises. Originally called Smokey Hollow due to the high number of factories and associated pollution along the Chicago River. The River North neighborhood was given its name by a real estate developer in 1974 as he started to buy and restore the commercial property along the river, attempting to rebrand the once notorious area.

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West Loop Neighborhood

Realtors in West Loop ChicagoHow the West Loop got it’s name

The West Loop neighborhood which includes Fulton Market and Greek Town is now home to Restaurant Row and luxury Chicago condos, but was formerly home to Chicago’s meat packing industry. The neighborhood was named for its Geographic location, west of the Chicago Loop. Beyond high-priced residential real estate, the neighborhood is also becoming a hotspot in the commercial space, housing offices for companies such as Google, Boeing, Uber, Motorola, United Airlines and McDonald’s.

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South Loop Neighborhood

Realtors in south loop chicagoHow the South Loop got it’s name

The Great Chicago Fire started less than a half mile away from what is today the South Loop neighborhood. The fire cleared the area for new development and the neighborhood began to take shape. The neighborhood includes the smaller Printers Row neighborhood, the Museum Campus (Adler Planetarium, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium), Soldier Field and the McCormick Place convention center. Like the West Loop, the South Loop was also named for it’s geographic location to downtown/ the Chicago “Loop”.

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Downtown/Loop Neighborhood

Realtors in Loop Chicago DowntownHow the Loop got it’s name

The popular name for the downtown business district is the Chicago Loop.  The Loop refers to a previous system of cable cars which turned around in the center of the city in a circle or “loop”. The modern day elevated rail system or “L” follows the same concept today. In recent years luxury high-rises have begun sprouting up among the historically commercial properties.

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Old Town Neighborhood

Realtors in Old Town ChicagoHow Old Town got it’s name

The Old Town Triangle or Old Town neighborhood as it’s know today was previously named North Town up until the 1940s. The neighborhood was home to the Old Town Holiday Art Fair which was a popular attraction in the neighborhood. When the Old Town Triangle Association was formed in 1948 they adopted the name Old Town.

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Lincoln Park Neighborhood

Realtors in Lincoln park ChicagoHow Lincoln Park got it’s name

The posh neighborhood of Lincoln Park is named after, you guessed it, Lincoln Park. A 1,200 acre park along the shores of Lake Michigan. Lincoln Park was once a large cemetery, but due to health concerns the city removed most of the bodies (fun fact: a few bodies still remain buried there to this day) and reinvented the space as a park. The park was originally named Lake Park and later renamed Lincoln Park after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

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Lakeview Neighborhood

Realtors in Lakeview ChicagoHow Lakeview got it’s name

The Lakeview neighborhood on the north side of Chicago was originally a suburb of the city. The original town hall is now home to the Chicago Police Department on the corner of Halsted and Addison. Residents of the city used the area for summer getaways. The neighborhood was annexed by Chicago in 1889 and the greater Lakeview neighborhood now includes Boystown, The Southport Corridor Wrigleyville, Ravenswood and Roscoe Village. The neighborhood is named for one of the first large buildings in the area, the Lakeview Hotel.

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Wicker Park Neighborhood

realtors in wicker park chicagoHow Wicker Park got it’s name

The northside neighborhood of Wicker Park was named for the Wicker brothers, Charles and Joel, who donated the land for the neighborhood’s namesake, Wicker Park. As the neighborhood evolved and new developments began popping up, the name extended itself to the surrounding area. Previously the area was known as Polish Downtown and later Puerto Rican Downtown due to the high concentration of those groups at the time.

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Bucktown Neighborhood

Realtors in Bucktown ChicagoHow Bucktown got it’s name

This increasingly expensive neighborhood is now home to the 606 Trail And great dining and shopping. In it’s previous life, the Bucktown neighborhood was inhabited by European settlers who raised goats, cows and chickens in the surrounding areas. The prevalence of the goats gave rise to the name Bucktown. Referring to a male goat or “buck”.

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Gold Coast Neighborhood

Top Realtors in Gold Coast ChicagoHow the Gold Coast got it’s name

The ritzy neighborhood of the Gold Coast in Chicago was given it’s name due to the financial wealth of it’s early residents. Now centrally located, the neighborhood was once on the northern edge of the city. Famous Chicagoan Potter Palmer bought large areas of the swampy and undesirable land on the north side of the city, developing it into the upscale neighborhood we know today. The neighborhood also includes the Astor Street District.

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New East Side/ Lakeshore East Neighborhood

New east side realtors in Lakeshore east chicagoHow Lakeshore East got it’s name

The small downtown neighborhood of Lakeshore East, also called the New East Side is a relatively new neighborhood in Chicago. Primarily developed by Metropolitan Structures and later Magellan Development Group with a concept of creating a “village in the heart of the city”. The name is the result of marketing efforts by real estate developers to rebrand the area once covered in railroad tracks and later a golf course.

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If you are interested in buying or selling in any Chicago neighborhood, Let’s Talk!

Credits: Curbed , Wikipedia, Neighbors of the West Loop, Encyclopedia of Chicago , Genealogy Trails, Town Square Publications

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