Logan Square was recently named one of the 10 hottest neighborhoods in the country, and I have to say that at first I was pretty surprised. I never paid much attention to Logan Square as it's a bit farther than my lazy ass usually goes, and it's covered in hipsters. However, this recent honor made me take a second look, and I discovered some very cool things that make me want to take a day trip to the neighborhood.
Logan Square began as a town called Jefferson, and it was filled with farms that grew fruits and vegetables for the city. Farmers would take their crops into the city via the North West Plank Road, known today as Milwaukee. Pieces of Logan Square were annexed into the city from 1863 to 1889.
After the Chicago Fire in 1881, the neighborhood's population grew rapidly as Chicagoans fled outside the city's fire limits. When the "L" came out to the area in 1890, standard frame houses began popping up everywhere. As popularity grew, the city built the famous tree-lined boulevard and squares system. Immigrants with new money moved to the area to build their dream homes along the boulevards.
Rental apartments and even more immigrants came to Logan Square, and population peaked around 1925. Unfortunately, homes began to deteriorate, and the Kennedy Expressway and Blue Line construction projects in the 1950's disrupted the neighborhood and caused many to move. It wasn't until the 1960's that Logan Square saw the first uptick in its population.
Logan Square was named after John Alexander Logan, a general in the union army during the Civil War. He later went on to be an Illinois state senator, a congressman and a United State senator. He was the most important figure in the movement to make Memorial Day an official holiday.
Logan Square is home to the Illinois Centennial Monument, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Illinois' statehood. Built in 1918, it was designed by Henry Bacon, the same architect who designed the Lincoln Memorial ion Washington, DC. You can find this monument in the actual Logan Square park.
Logan Square, the name of the park that gives the community its name, is the northernmost part of Chicago's famous Park Boulevard System. This district is a system of connected square parks spanning 26 miles across the city. Created in the late 1800's, this string of parks was designed to give residents a refuge from pollution and overcrowding in the largely undeveloped outskirts of the city. These boulevards were lined with beautiful historic homes that can still be seen in Logan Square today. On November 1, 2005, the Chicago City Council designated the “Logan Square Boulevards District” as an official Chicago Landmark District.
Filed under: Did You Know, Chicago?