Recent letters from the Preservation & Restoration committee regarding zoning amendment requests.
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LSP's area of review includes all of Logan Square, bordered by Belmont Avenue to the north, the Kennedy Expressway to the northeast, Western Avenue to the east, Armitage Avenue to the south, and Pulaski Road to the west. Special consideration is given to the Boulevard Historic District, which includes Logan, Kedzie, Palmer and Humboldt Boulevards.
HISTORY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Martin Kimbell and Sarah Smalley-Kimbell from New York establish the first farm in the area; a 160-acre parcel now bounded by Kimball (named for them), Diversey, Fullerton and Hamlin Avenues.
Pictured: The Kimbell Farmhouse at the northwest corner of Kimball and Altgeld.
Northwest Plank Toll Road
The Northwest Plank Toll Road is constructed along the path of a historic Native American hunting trail, 14 feet wide, 27 miles from Chicago to Wheeling, Illinois. It was laid out directly from Kinzie Street to a flag struck at Armitage Avenue by W. H. Powell, proprietor of Powell’s Hotel, built in 1840. The road was an important route for the transport of fresh produce and hay. The road eventually provided a link between Chicago and Milwaukee, later becoming known as Milwaukee Avenue.
Pictured: The toll booth located at Fullerton and Milwaukee the morning after a mysterious fire.
Park Boulevard System
The Illinois Legislature authorizes the creation of a park boulevard system on the city’s periphery for recreation and relief from the rapidly industrializing city. They also served as catalysts for real estate development. It was constructed here by West Parks Commission, designed by Architect William LeBaron Jenney and refined by Landscape Architect Jens Jensen.
The Chicago and North Western Railroad
The Chicago and North Western Railroad constructs two stations to serve the towns of Maplewood and Avondale, spurring growth in this then-rural area. Residents were served with water through several artesian wells.
Churches and Schools
The area’s first church is constructed to serve a growing community of African Americans migrating from the South. Churches are later erected to serve Norwegian, Danish, German, Belgian and Polish communities. Several temples existed to serve the Jewish community.
The first permanent school, a four-room brick building known as the “Little Red Schoolhouse” was constructed near the intersection of Milwaukee and Diversey Avenues and remained in use until 1914. Avondale School followed in 1884, Brentano in 1893, Darwin in 1900 and Monroe in 1905.
Formation of Logan Square
The towns of Jefferson and Maplewood are annexed to the City of Chicago, forming the community of Logan Square, named for John Alexander Logan, Civil War general, politician and founder of Memorial Day.
Metropolitan Elevated Railway
The Metropolitan Elevated begins running trains from the Loop to Logan Square, establishing the area as an important destination and transfer point.
Pictured: The Logan Square elevated terminal.
Schwinn Bicycle Company
Arnold, Schwinn & Company construct a bicycle factory on Kostner Street west of the neighborhood. Founder Ignaz Schwinn builds a grand residence on the southeast corner of Palmer Square and nearby apartment building for the company’s employees. The residence was later demolished after being donated to St. Sylvester’s Parish. The parish constructed its present day school on the site.
The Logan Squares
Jim “Nixey” Callahan quits the Chicago White Sox and purchases an amateur playing field on the north side of Milwaukee Avenue from Sawyer to Diversey. It was the home of the semi-pro team the Logan Squares, who defeated both the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, both coming off the 1906 World Series. It was sold in 1924, the last large parcel in the area’s commercial district.
The Illinois Centennial Monument
The Illinois Centennial Monument is designed and constructed by noted architect Henry Bacon, famous for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Evelyn Longman sculpted the eagle and bas-relief base with allegorical figures inspired by classical imagery with modern elements to represent the state’s history and contributions to the nation including agriculture, transportation, commerce.
Automotive Row and Theatre District
The Logan Square business district is fully built out including Automobile Row, one of the city’s great auto markets with every brand represented and a theater district which included the Congress, Rio, Paramount (now Logan), Harding and Rose theaters.
I-94 Northwest Highway
The boulevards are widened to accommodate increasing automobile traffic and land is eventually cleared to construct Interstate-94 Northwest Highway, which bisects Logan Boulevard. The highway is named Kennedy Expressway in 1963, following the death of President John F. Kennedy.
Pictured: Construction crews excavate Milwaukee Avenue through Logan Square for the new subway stations.
Blue Line Extension and Logan Square Station
The Chicago Transit Authority demolishes several historic buildings around Logan Square to allow for the construction of the Blue Line extension to Jefferson Park. The new stations were designed by Myron Goldsmith of Skidmore Owings & Merrill and set a new design standard that is adopted by transit systems across the country.
Logan Square Preservation
Neighborhood organization Logan Square Preservation successfully added the Logan Square Boulevards Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2005 most of that district became an official city of Chicago Landmark District with overwhelming support from the community.
Logan Square Business District
The Logan Square Business District is officially protected as the Milwaukee-Diversey-Kimball Chicago Landmark District. It spurred a re-investment and restoration of some of the most significant retail buildings in the area.