Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Thriving Art and Fine Dining in Chicago’s Walkable Wicker Park
In 1868 The Chicago Board of Public Health chose to create a fashionable park west of Milwaukee Avenue and south of North Avenue. An alderman, Charles Wicker, purchased 80 acres to be developed as a subdivision with a four-acre park at its center in this area. The subdivision building was begun by Chicagoans who were displaced by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. By the end of the 19th century Wicker Park was home to many of Chicago’s wealthy Northern European immigrants who subsequently built cathedrals similar to those in Europe. The church styles included Renaissance Revival and Baroque Revival architecture. During the late 1950s, the Kennedy Expressway was built which displaced many residents and by the 1970s the city lost slightly more than 11% of its residents. At one point an area of North Avenue became a haven for prostitution, drug dealers and gangs. New affordable housing became available because of community development groups like Northwest Community Organization and by 2012 Wicker Park was named the #4 hippest hipster neighborhood in the country by Forbes.
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