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  • Logan Square Preservation Archives

    Logan Square Preservation has been collecting an archive of materials about the history of the neighborhood for many years. The archive consists of historic photographs of the streets and boulevards of Logan Square, as well as artifacts and ephemera from neighborhood businesses and organizations.

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    Living History

    Have you or your family lived in Logan Square a long time? Help us preserve Logan Square’s rich and diverse history by sharing a copy of your family photos or memories of the neighborhood! Contact the Archive committee by email – archive@logansquarepreservation.org.

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    Archives Online Catalog

    The catalog of items in the Logan Square Preservation archive is available online. The online catalog includes a photo, title, date and more identifying details for the signs, publications, ephemera and other small items in the archive.
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    Archive Materials Map

    Is there a historic photo of your house in the Logan Square Preservation Archive? Check the map to see locations of LSP Archives materials.

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    Historic Prints

    Many of the historic photos in the LSP Archive are available from our online store. All prints are on acid-free paper, with optional professional mounting.

  • Zoning and Land Use

    Logan Square Preservation is committed to responsible development as part of our mission to preserve the character of our historic neighborhood.

    Logan Square Preservation's mission is to educate about and advocate for the preservation and restoration of our historic neighborhood. That mission is reflected in the principles for zoning and development.


    1. We are opposed to the tear down or significant alteration of historic buildings. The preservation of our history through its historic housing stock is at the heart of our organization and this community.


    This position was affirmed by the community in a referendum on the March, 2016 ballot referendum. That referendum was supported by 93% of 32nd Ward voters.

    • "Shall the Alderman of the 32nd Ward pursue zoning policies to protect the historic buildings and character of Logan Square?”

    2. We encourage the adaptive reuse of existing historic buildings and will consider zoning changes to accomplish such use.

    3. We support the preservation of family sized units and small worker’s cottages.

    4. In the case of empty lots or requests for subdivisions we review them on a case by case basis and consider the following criteria:

    • We take the long view, assuming these new buildings will live 100+ years. We weigh that against the current development trends and their potential impact on Logan Square. These proposals are developer driven. It is important to understand that, sometimes, no change is better than compromise.
    • We consider the mass and density of the proposed building in context. Does the height, setback, and density of the proposed building relate to its street?
    • We consider design of the proposed building. Is it a positive contribution? Does it relate to its street and to Logan Square?
    • We consider the opinion of neighbors. LSP is both a preservation group and a community group. Our recommendations are made within this context.
    • We consider external factors:
      • What are the surrounding politics of the Ward and the City? 
      • What are the trade-offs of the proposed development?
      • What are the economics? What is possible and what is not? 

    Finally, we live in the real world and will not always have the opportunity for the “perfect” decision.


    Logan Square Preservation provides a recommendation to the Alderman to support, to support with conditions, or to oppose each change. Recommendations are approved by the President and sent with his/her signature and posted on this web site.


    Our primary task is to inform and consult with our members. The Committee uses that feedback and the committee's expertise and experience to work with developers to make projects acceptable to our members and the community.


    The process follows these general steps.

    • Logan Square Preservation is notified of zoning changes or variances submitted to the offices of the 1st, 26th, 31st, 32nd, and 33rd Ward Alderman for both residential and commercial properties within our review area. We are also one of the Neighbor Led Organizations (NLOs) that participate in the 35th Ward's CDZD35 Community-Based Zoning and Development Process.
    • The Preservation & Restoration committee meets monthly to discuss zoning amendment requests and other land use issues. The committee also surveys and hosts discussions at regular membership meetings, meets with other affected community groups, and will organize open community meetings for developments of twenty or more units.
    • The Committee provides feedback on letterhead to assist the Ward office in complying with an open community review process.

    Proposal Reviews

    Recent letters from the Preservation & Restoration committee regarding zoning amendment requests.

    To submit a new proposal, email zoning@logansquarepreservation.org.

    *Please update your address book - other email addresses will be discontinued.

    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.

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    It is important to understand that the authority to approve or disapprove a zoning amendment request or variance belongs to the City's Zoning Board of Approvals. Aldermen are able to give or withhold their support, which is based on constituents directly and through community groups such as Logan Square Preservation.


    Note that zoning variances (as opposed to amendment requests), and licensing for liquor and other public places of amusement (PPAs) are frequent and hyper-local. LSP may facilitate involvement by neighbors or other community groups, but will not be a primary participant except when they also relate to a zoning change or are of a level of importance that requires LSP's involvement.


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    Kimbell Farm


    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.

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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.