Chicago Lawn, Chicago

Chicago Lawn, Chicago

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Chicago Lawn is one of the 77 community areas
Community areas of Chicago
Community areas in Chicago refers to the work of the Social Science Research Committee at University of Chicago which has unofficially divided the City of Chicago into 77 community areas. These areas are well-defined and static...

 of Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

. It is located on the southwest side of the city. Its community neighbors include Gage Park
Gage Park, Chicago
Gage Park is one of Chicago's 77 well-defined community areas, located on the city's southwest side; it is also the name of a park within the neighborhood. Gage Park's population is largely working-class, and its housing stock is mostly bungalows. For generations, the neighborhood was Eastern...

, West Englewood, Ashburn
Ashburn, Chicago
Ashburn, one of Chicago's 77 community areas, is located on the southwest side of the city. Greater Ashburn covers nearly five square miles. The approximate boundaries of Ashburn are 75th Street , Western Avenue , 87th Street and Cicero Avenue ....

, and West Lawn
West Lawn, Chicago
West Lawn, one of Chicago's 77 official community areas, is located on the southwest side of the city. It is considered to be a "melting pot" of sorts, due to its constant change of races moving in and out of the area, as well as the diversity that exists there. It has a small town atmosphere in...

. It is bounded by Bell Avenue on the east, Central Park Avenue on the west, 59th Street on the north, and 75th Street on the south. This puts it 13 km (8.1 mi) southwest of the Loop
Chicago Loop
The Loop or Chicago Loop is one of 77 officially designated Chicago community areas located in the City of Chicago, Illinois. It is the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago...

. Some Chicagoans who are familiar with the Southside refer to the area as "Marquette Park," after the park
Marquette park
Marquette Park, the largest park on the southwest side of Chicago at , is located at in Chicago Lawn neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The park is named for Father Jacques Marquette .-Planning and Development:...

 in its center, but the nickname is seldom—if ever—used among actual residents of Chicago Lawn.

History


The city of Chicago Lawn was founded by John F. Eberhart in 1871. Although it was annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889, it remained mostly farmland with some scattered settlements until the 1920s. Between 1920 and 1930 the population increased from 14,000 to 47,000. Residents of German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 descent began to move into the area from the Back of the Yards and Englewood
Englewood, Chicago
Englewood, once known as "Junction Grove" , is one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago. At its height, over 97,000 people lived in its approximately 3 square miles , but the neighborhood's population has since dropped dramatically...

 neighborhoods. Poles
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

ns, and Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

ns followed them. Most new residents belonged to various Protestant denominations, but Chicago Lawn also was home to many Roman Catholic churches and schools. Today, there are six Catholic institutions that make up the Marquette Park Catholic Campus Council. Chicago Lawn was a thriving urban neighborhood as the Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 hit the nation and by 1940 its population had reached 49,291. In 1941, the National Biscuit Company
Nabisco
Nabisco is an American brand of cookies and snacks. Headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, the company is a subsidiary of Illinois-based Kraft Foods. Nabisco's plant in Chicago, a production facility at 7300 S...

 announced plans to build a huge bakery in Chicago Lawn. When completed, this was the largest bakery in one location in the world. The size of the facility was doubled in the late 1990s.
The Lithuanian community
Lithuanians in Chicago
Lithuanians in Chicago and the nearby metropolitan area are a prominent group within the "Windy City" whose presence goes back over a hundred years. Today Chicago possesses the largest Lithuanian community outside Lithuania, who have dubbed the city as Little Lithuania, and many...

 has maintained a notable presence in the area by establishing a network of institutions that earned their community the label as the Lithuanian Gold Coast. They formed some of the richest savings and loans in the city. The Lithuanian Sisters of Saint Casimir
Sisters of Saint Casimir
The Sisters of Saint Casimir are a Roman Catholic religious community of women founded in 1907 in Scranton, Pennsylvania by Mother Maria Kaupas...

 founded Holy Cross Hospital in 1928 and Maria High School
Maria High School (Chicago, Illinois)
Maria High School is a private, Roman Catholic, all-girls high school in Chicago, Illinois. It is located near Marquette Park and Holy Cross Hospital and is within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.-Background:...

 in 1952 (originally established as St. Casimir Academy in 1911). The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church was established in 1927 on the corner of 69th Street and Washtenaw Avenue. It was founded as a Lithuanian national parish
National parish
National parishes are Catholic parishes that serve particular ethnic communities. They are distinguished from the other type of parish, the territorial parish, which serve a geographic area of a diocese. National parishes have existed in Rome for centuries to meet the spiritual needs of the...

 and services are still held in Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

. An Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 monument was erected by Chicago's Lithuanian community
Lithuanians in Chicago
Lithuanians in Chicago and the nearby metropolitan area are a prominent group within the "Windy City" whose presence goes back over a hundred years. Today Chicago possesses the largest Lithuanian community outside Lithuania, who have dubbed the city as Little Lithuania, and many...

 in Marquette Park
Marquette Park
Marquette Park may refer to one of several places that are named in honor of Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit missionary.*Marquette Park in Chicago, Illinois*Marquette Park in Gary, Indiana...

 commemorating Lithuanian pilots Stasys Girėnas
Stasys Girenas
Stasys Girėnas was a Lithuanian-American pilot....

 and Steponas Darius
Steponas Darius
Steponas Darius was a Lithuanian-American pilot....

 who died in the crash of the Lituanica
Lituanica
Lituanica was an Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker airplane flown from the United States across the Atlantic Ocean by Lithuanian-American pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas in 1933...

 in 1933.

Chicago's changing racial demographics had a profound impact on Chicago Lawn. In the 1960s most of the white Americans had fled Englewood and West Englewood and Chicago Lawn became a target for civil rights
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)
The African-American Civil Rights Movement refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South...

 groups' open housing marches. In 1966 a march led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

, into Marquette Park
Marquette Park
Marquette Park may refer to one of several places that are named in honor of Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit missionary.*Marquette Park in Chicago, Illinois*Marquette Park in Gary, Indiana...

 met a violent reaction. King himself was hit by a rock. Violence also erupted in the neighborhood when Gage Park High School
Gage Park High School
Gage Park High School is a public 4-year high school located in Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, USA.It is part of the Chicago Public Schools Dist...

 attempted to integrate after Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 , was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which...

. The primary resistance to integration came from fear of declining property values by people who put their life savings into their homes and disruption of ethnic bonds, especially for the Lithuanians. Some Irish, Poles, and Lithuanians still remain, though most have moved further south and west. Many Lithuanians and Poles have reestablished a community in Lemont
Lemont, Illinois
Lemont is a village located in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, and is roughly southwest of Chicago. The population was 16,625 at the 2007 Special Census.-History:...

.

By 2000 Blacks comprised 52.9% of the population, while Hispanic groups accounted for 35.1%, and the white population dropped 72%. Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation (House of Peace for the Children of the Ancient Ethiopian Hebrews), at 66th Street and Kedzie Avenue, serves members of the local Jewish community, many of whom are black. Rabbi Capers Funnye and Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is the wife of the 44th and incumbent President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States...

 are first cousins once removed.

Heritage History


1930s When the census reported 8,919 people in West Lawn, primarily German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

, Czech, Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, and Italian, with a small Lithuanian immigrant population. Residents were factory, clerical, and professional workers. Since the 1970s, younger Mexican families have been attracted to the area, and some Arab families and businesses have followed the 63rd Street retail run moving toward the west from Chicago Lawn.

1990s African Americans composed 27 percent of the population. Hispanic groups mostly of Mexicans and some of Puerto Ricans accounted for 28 percent. Arabs of Palestinian
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 descent have also taken up residence. Some Irish, Poles, and Lithuanians still remain. However, most have moved further south and west. Many Lithuanians
Lithuanians
Lithuanians are the Baltic ethnic group native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,765,600 people. Another million or more make up the Lithuanian diaspora, largely found in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Russia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their native language...

 have reestablished a community in Lemont
Lemont, Illinois
Lemont is a village located in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, and is roughly southwest of Chicago. The population was 16,625 at the 2007 Special Census.-History:...

.

Arabs and Islamic Community


1920's Arabs immigrant to Chicago, Political turmoil in the decades following the creation of Israel in 1948 brought more Palestinian Muslims to Chicago. Arab families live in Chicago Lawn and Gage Park Neighborhoods. Arab community founded Chicago Islamic Center and Mosque on 63rd. Many Middle Eastern store and restaurant near Mosque area. Arab families come from Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. In the 1950s, Palestinians with families moved out of their boardinghouses and shops and into apartments and homes just west of Chicago's “Black Belt.” By the 1970s, they formed a concentrated residential community in Gage Park and Chicago Lawn, on the South Side, and had established a business district with stores catering to Arab clientele.
Chicago's largest concentration of Palestinians still lives in these areas and in the communities to the south and west of them. In the 1980s, many upwardly mobile Palestinian families moved to the southwest suburbs, bringing significant Palestinian and Arab populations to Bridgeview
Bridgeview, Illinois
Bridgeview is a village in Cook County, Illinois in the United States. It is located approximately from the Chicago Loop. As of the 2010 census, the village population was 16,446...

, Alsip
Alsip, Illinois
Alsip is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 19,725 at the 2000 census. It is a suburb of Chicago.Alsip was settled in the 1830s by German and Dutch farmers. The village is named after Frank Alsip, the owner of a brickyard that opened there in 1885...

, Oak Lawn
Oak Lawn, Illinois
Oak Lawn is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 55,245 at the 2000 census.Oak Lawn is a suburb of the city of Chicago, located southwest of the city...

, Hickory Hills
Hickory Hills, Illinois
Hickory Hills is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 13,926 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Hickory Hills is located at ....

, Palos Hills
Palos Hills, Illinois
Palos Hills is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is a suburb of Chicago. The population was 17,665 at the 2000 census. It is the home of Moraine Valley Community College as well as Amos Alonzo Stagg High School.-Geography:...

. Alsalm Mosque Foundation is small place to worship, Palestinians built new Mosque Foundation
Bridgeview Mosque Foundation
The Mosque Foundation is located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. It serves the spiritual, religious and communal needs of area Muslims by means of nurturing their faith, upholding their values, and fostering the wellbeing of the community around it through worship, charity, education,...

 in 1982 in Bridgeview.

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