Did you ever wonder why some of the city's neighborhoods got their names? Some of them are self-explanatory - Lakeview, South Loop, River North - but others are kind of strange. Since I'm a giant nerd, I decided to research popular neighborhoods' names and include it in this weeks 'Did You Know, Chicago?'.
Land developers Charles and Joel Wicker bought tons of land in the 1870s with plans to build a neighborhood, and kindly donated four acres to the city to build a public park. That park was named Wicker Park, and the name stuck for the entire neighborhood.
You've probably heard that Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw, and it has been that way for over 100 years. During the early 20th century, this area was known as the Polish downtown and many Poles resided here. The Poles had a tendancy to keep goats in their homes, and since a male goat is called a "buck," the area became known as Bucktown.
Not surprising, Logan Square is named as such for the square in the middle of the neighborhood. The actual Logan Square was named after Civil War hero and former Congressman General John A. Logan.
Before it was the eco-friendly neighborhood it is today, Andersonville was just a distant suburb of Chicago. Swedish immigrants began arriving after the Great Chicago Fire and by the 1900s the area was dominated by Swedes. The name Andersonville comes from the popular Swedish surname, Anderson.
This area was known as the "Black Metropolis" in the early 1900s, its development credited to such famous African Americans as Louis Armstrong, Marla Gibbs, Lou Rawls and Ida B. Wells. In the 1930s the local newspaper was the first to call the neighborhood Bronzeville for the color of the residents' skin.
Filed under: Did You Know, Chicago?
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