Past Meetup

Jefferson Park Walking Tour with Forgotten Chicago

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Join Forgotten Chicago ( and the Northwest Chicago Historical Society ( as we offer an encore of our popular Jefferson Park walking tour, last offered in August 2010. Jefferson Park began as a small rural village in the mid-19th century and soon began to grow, with its location as a transportation hub resulting in the unusual street grid seen below. Growth in Jefferson Park occurred most rapidly during three distinct eras which we will examine in depth during this tour.

We’ll look at some of the remaining housing stock from when Jefferson Park was a quiet 19th century railroad suburb. The 1910s and 20s brought tremendous growth to the area as well as a wide range of ethnicities, and this tour will examine the development patterns and exemplary housing stock from this era as well as a unique ethnic enclave. We’ll also discuss growth during the 1950s and 60s spurred by construction of the Northwest (later Kennedy) Expressway and rapid transit, and suggest why and how this era’s development affected the neighborhood’s layout and urban environment.

The tour will also touch on other facets and curiosities of architecture, urban design and everyday life in the area. We’ll examine the center of Jefferson Park as a prime example of a neighborhood shopping district and look at different eras of storefront design and retail architecture. Remnants of long gone movie palaces and chain stores will be looked at as well.

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Industry played a large part in the development of most Chicago neighborhoods but this was not the case with Jefferson Park. We will examine the industries that did locate here and question why the area did not grow in this sector relative to other areas. All of these elements will be tied together as we study the evolution of one of Chicago’s unique outlying neighborhoods.

Tour Details:

When? Sunday June 9 at Noon. Rain or shine.

Where? The tour will meet and begin at the Jefferson Park Blue Line station (Milwaukee and Gale Street). It will conclude at the same location.

How Long? The tour will consist of approximately 3 1/2 miles of walking and will last about 3 hours.

How much? $15 per person. Advance purchase is required. To purchase tickets click here. ( No walk-ups. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. If severe weather cancels the tour, credit will be issued for use on a tour of equal value.