Independence Park Park IL Homes & Real Estate

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Irving Park, Chicago

Irving Park, designated as Community Area 16, is one of the 77 officially recognized community areas in Chicago. This neighborhood, which is a part of the city's Northwest Side, is geographically demarcated by Montrose Avenue to the north, Addison Street to the south, the Chicago River to the east, and the Milwaukee Road railroad tracks to the west. Within these boundaries, Irving Park extends west of Pulaski Road, ranging from Belmont Avenue in the south to approximately Leland Avenue in the north. The community is named after Washington Irving, an acclaimed American author.

One of Irving Park's notable subsections is Independence Park, enclosed by Montrose Avenue, Pulaski Road, Addison Street, and Cicero Avenue. This area features a diverse architectural landscape, including Queen Anne, Victorian Style Homes, and Italianate homes, alongside a few remaining farmhouses and numerous bungalows for sale.

The local infrastructure includes the CTA Blue Line, which provides convenient public transportation with stations at Addison, Irving Park, and Montrose. The neighborhood is served by ZIP codes 60618, 60630, and 60641. 

This diverse and historically rich neighborhood continues to be a significant part of Chicago's urban landscape.

Beginnings of Irving Park

The development of Irving Park commenced in 1843 when Major Noble acquired a 160-acre tract of land from Christopher J. Ward, where he established a farm. This farm's historical boundaries would today be marked by Montrose Avenue to the north, Irving Park Road to the south, Pulaski Road to the east, and Kostner Avenue to the west. Major Noble’s residence, situated on the east side of Elston just south of Montrose, also served as the Buckthorn Tavern, a popular stop for travelers along the North West Plank Road (now Elston Avenue). After years of successful farming, Noble sold his farm and retired to McHenry County.

In 1869, four New Yorkers—Charles T. Race, John S. Brown, Adelbert E. Brown, and John Wheeler—purchased the farm for $20,000. They soon bought an additional 80 acres south of Noble’s farm for $25,000 from John Gray. Originally planning to continue farming, they shifted to develop a residential suburb named "Irvington" after Washington Irving. However, upon discovering the name was already in use elsewhere in Illinois, they renamed their development "Irving Park."

Railroad access was secured by an agreement with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, which agreed to make local stops if the developers constructed a station. This station, still operational and serving the community, catalyzed the area's development.

Between 1870 and 1874, the original developers constructed grand mansions along Irving Park Boulevard, though most have since been demolished. The Steven A. Race mansion still exists, relocated to 3945 N. Tripp Avenue. Another early home, originally built for Erastus Brown, survives at 3812 N. Pulaski Road, albeit significantly altered.

The area's first church, the Dutch Reformed Church and Society of Irving Park, was built in 1872 at the southeast corner of Keeler Avenue and Belle Plaine Avenue. It was the sole house of worship for thirteen years until it underwent a major remodel in 1908. Other religious communities soon established themselves, enriching the area’s cultural fabric.

Annexation and Growth

By the late 1880s, local residents began to miss the conveniences of city life. In 1889, Irving Park, as part of Jefferson Township, was annexed to Chicago. This brought major improvements, including water from Lake Michigan and enhanced fire and transportation services. The original subdivision rapidly expanded, incorporating new areas like Grayland, which opened in 1874. This new area, stretching from Kostner to Cicero Avenue between Irving Park and Addison, centered around the Grayland station of the Milwaukee Road Railroad.

The late 1890s saw further expansions with the development of West Walker, Gross Boulevard addition, and the Villa addition, each characterized by distinct architectural styles and community layouts.

By 1910, local efforts had established eight parks, the largest being Independence Park, a hub for community celebrations and events. The consolidation of Irving Park with the Chicago Park District in 1933 further integrated the area into the city framework.

Over the 20th century, despite challenges such as the construction of the Kennedy Expressway which disrupted the community in the mid-20th century, Irving Park continued to develop, with new housing and community facilities, reflecting its resilient and dynamic nature.

 

Neighborhoods within Irving Park Community Area

Old Irving Park

Known as 'Old Irving Park' or 'Grayland', this neighborhood forms the historical heart of the Irving Park Community Area. Its geographical bounds are Montrose Avenue to the north, Addison Street to the south, Pulaski Road to the east, and Cicero Avenue to the west, encompassing the area of the original two farms developed in the 1870s.

The Villa

The Villa district, known locally as Polskie Wille, lies between Pulaski Road and Avondale Avenue, bordered by Addison Street to the south and Avondale Avenue to the north. Established in 1902, this area is noted for its Craftsman and Prairie style homes, many influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural style. Architects Hatzfeld and Knox, prominent for their Prairie style designs, contributed significantly to the area’s development. While St. Wenceslaus church, a striking Romanesque Revival-Art Deco structure, is just south of The Villa, it remains a key landmark for visitors.

Independence Park

Independence Park, sharing its name with the neighborhood park, was developed in the late 1800s. It is bordered by Irving Park Road, the Kennedy Expressway, Elston Avenue, and Addison Street. This neighborhood blends residential areas with local parks, providing a community-focused environment.

West Walker

Situated between Montrose Avenue and Irving Park Road, and framed by Central Park Avenue to the east and Pulaski Road to the west, West Walker includes the distinct 'West Walker Triangle'—an enclave bound by Irving Park Road, Pulaski Road, and Elston Avenue. This area is known for its residential charm and community spirit.

California Park

Emerging in the 1920s, California Park is nestled between Montrose Avenue, Addison Street, Kedzie Avenue, and the Chicago River. This neighborhood features modest single-family homes and local businesses, reflecting a close-knit community atmosphere.

Kilbourn Park

Kilbourn Park is primarily a middle-class residential and industrial neighborhood, located between Milwaukee Avenue and Belmont Avenue, with the Union Pacific/Northwest rail line and Cicero Avenue framing its other borders. Although part of Irving Park, it shares more similarities with the neighboring Avondale area both architecturally and sociologically.

Avondale Gardens

Also known as Merchant Park, Avondale Gardens stretches from Addison Street to Belmont Avenue, bordered by the Union Pacific/Northwest rail line and Pulaski Road. Recently, some have started calling it "South Independence Park". It mirrors Kilbourn Park in its architectural style and the demographic makeup of its residents. The area also pays homage to John and Clara Merchant, notable local figures with their home designated as a city landmark.

Little Cassubia

Little Cassubia, or Małe Kaszuby, was a historical neighborhood located between Irving Park Road and Addison Street, and Kimball Avenue and Kedzie Avenue. Named after the Kaszub people who resided there and established the Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Parish, it reflects the area's rich ethnic heritage and community bonds.

 

 

 

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