Back to North Lawndale.......
Probably the most beautiful street in North Lawndale is the 1600-1800-1900 blocks of Millard Ave. which run as one consecutive street. I don't know how many streets are like this in Chicago, but there are no breaks in this street in that area, it is just one long block. Look at Google maps to seee what I mean.
In the beginning, this street was home to the most wealthy segment of Lawndale's Bohemian population. Many of Millard Avenues residents were doctors, lawyers, business owners, politicians, and other professions of note. I mention this area in my book about South Lawndale because early on, this is where the wealthy Bohemians lived. I call the area "Bohemian Millionaires Row." Here is a real photo postcard image from my collection of Millard Ave. N. of Ogden taken from the Douglas Park El tracks circa 1908.
Here is another real photo postcard of Millard Ave. looking south near Ogden Ave. from my collection that I also used in my book. The view was taken from the west side of the 1800 block of Millard Ave. looking south towards Ogden Ave. The message on the back of the postcard is particularly interesting. When the original Lawndale subdivision was established by developers Millard and Decker, the area was initially populated by old "blue blooded" Anglo families. They did NOT like the Bohemian people that were moving into their neighborhood from Pilsen, Merigold, etc. The "Bohunks" were looked upon with distrust and prejudice. Here is an excerpt from my book where I comment on this postcard image.
This section of Millard Avenue was home to some of Lawndale's most prestigious Bohemian families. Although most were business owners, doctors, lawyers, and politicians, anti-Bohemian sentiment was still strong at this time. This post card was sent to New York in 1908. Clair writes to a friend, "North of us, not bad in looks, but mainly wealthy Bohemians. The great disadvantage of this district."
Like the rest of the neighborhood this street was later occupied by wealthy Jews. Eventually African Americans moved to this street and have kept this group of amazing gray stones and mansions remarkably preserved. There are only a few vacant lots. Millard Ave. is definitely worth a drive to check it out.
Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2011 02:45PM by Berwyn Frank.