River West neighborhood
River West neighborhood
Posted by: Mdotson ()
Date: February 17, 2013 06:42PM

I'm looking to find out more information about the River West neighborhood. Specifically in the region of Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden to Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted. I've been trying to find more info about the old shoe factory on 925 W Huron and overall what this area use to be and how its evolved. Any information would be great! Thank you!

Re: River West neighborhood
Date: February 17, 2013 10:58PM

[b]From what I understand it was an old Italian nieghborhood. I usedto minister at trhe Gospel League Home at 955 w. Grand many years ago.[/b]

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: QlassiQue ()
Date: February 18, 2013 01:59AM

If you haven't already read it, you may find the 2009 FC article on the Ogden Avenue's extension and removal interesting:


Also, some of the research links listed on the FC Links page may be helpful:


Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: February 18, 2013 11:33AM

This too may be helpful. In the book -- Historic City: The Settlement of Chicago (published by the City of Chicago in 1976) community settlement maps show the locations of approximate ethnic settlements:

1860 --- Swedish in the area of Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden.

1870 --- Norwegians in the area of the SW corner of Milwaukee/Halsted.

1900 --- Italians in the area at, and south of Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted.
An industrial area is shown at Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden.

1920 --- Industrial areas shown at both Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden and Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted.

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: Dunning1 ()
Date: February 19, 2013 03:54PM

Years ago, I had a girlfriend that worked for the old Manufacturers Bank at Division and Ashland, and used to get off of work late. I would go from my job downtown and swim at Eckert Park and she would come and meet me later. It seems that Eckert had a lot to do with the neighborhood. I was always kind of surprised by the old grain silos off of Ogden Avenue there, and it turns out that was Bernard Eckert's milling company. I have a feeling that he donated the land or some of the money for the park. Mayor Dever was also a product of that area, he became first a judge, then mayor. Another interesting place in the area is St. John Cantius Catholic Church. While not being catholic myself, I recently attended a funeral service there. This is one of the few churches that still practices the old Latin rites, and the funeral service I attended was the complete Mozart Requiem mass, complete with orchestra and choir!

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: February 19, 2013 07:34PM

The J. P. Smith Shoe Co. Factory
Built c. 1912
Architect: Horatio Wilson
Has been placed on the
By The United States
Department of the Interior


Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: PHILC ()
Date: February 19, 2013 07:54PM

My grandmother grew up in this area, born there in 1897 and lived there until about 1912. Their home was about a half block north of grand on Aberdeen and was torn down when the Kennedy Expressway was built. She was there I think as the area was transitioning from Swedish to Italian. Her parents were married at the Lutheran Church in the 1880s that was at May and Huron Streets, until Ogden Ave was extended and the church was torn down.

The Gospel LEague building at 955 W Grand was originally built by the Chicago Commons, a settlement house in the same vein as Hull House. They built it in the late 18902 and it was a central focusing force for that neighborhood. My grandmother spoke highly of all the things it offered to kids in the neighborhood.

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: February 19, 2013 09:26PM

Milwaukee Avenue Bank during a bank failure in 1906.


search: Milwaukee Avenue Bank

Re: River West neighborhood
Date: February 19, 2013 10:55PM

[b]The Gospel League Home had a lot of valuable furnature on the upper floors. I wonder what happened to that pricless stuff. I was there in the 80's and would preach on Sunday Morning.[/b]

Re: River West neighborhood
Date: February 19, 2013 10:58PM

[b]The band leader from The Chicago United String Band was raised in that area by that building.[/b]

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: Deejo ()
Date: February 27, 2013 02:31AM

Nelson Algren's short story "A Bottle of Milk for Mother," which was the basis for his novel Never Come Morning, is all set inside the Police station formerly located at Racine just south of Chicago Avenue (now the middle of the Kennedy). The incarcerated youth who is the protagonist of the story hears the bells of St. John Cantius from his cell. The crime he allegedly committed in the story took place at Noble in between Chicago and Augusta. Various other locations in the River West and Wicker Park areas are described in the story, which is set in the 1940's.

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: Rustymuscle ()
Date: March 01, 2013 06:03PM

The Racine police station--731 N. Racine--was the setting for Lee Marvin's 1950s M Squad TV show. I am quite sure a couple of us "discovered" it here 3 or 4 years ago. The thread is still available, a great read. I believe the show is still available on METV. Many B roll shots of Marvin driving to and from the station. Screen grabs are also in the thread I just mentioned.

Additionally, the 1929 book "the Gold Coast and the Slum" by Zorbaugh is an excellent read about the changes that occurred in the near north side.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/2013 06:04PM by Rustymuscle.

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 23, 2015 04:57PM

my late uncle Johnny told me that before my grandparents bought a house in bucktown that they lived on aberdeen st (in this area), I think he indicated just north of grand ave, which would be around 1920-21, although i've been unable to pinpoint the location any better than that since

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: gglow ()
Date: April 23, 2015 07:45PM

The Lutheran church PHILC refers to became Santa Maria Addolorata in 1931.
A fire destroyed an earlier Santa Maria. I also believe it was at May and Erie,
across from De leo's grocery. Both were torn down, to make way for the Northwest
expressway (Kennedy). De Leo's then opened the restaurant at Central and Elston,
and the church rebuilt at Ohio and Ada.

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: April 24, 2015 11:32AM

Has anyone ever heard of a "neighborhood name" specifically for the Italian settlement along Grand Avenue in this area?

Re: River West neighborhood
Posted by: PKDickman ()
Date: April 24, 2015 03:27PM

Mr Downtown Wrote:
> Has anyone ever heard of a "neighborhood name"
> specifically for the Italian settlement along
> Grand Avenue in this area?

That was just part of "The Patch" when I was a kid.

Now "The Patch" seems to have dwindled to the little triangle between Grand, Chicago and Western.

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