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A LITTLE ABOUT ALBANY PARK

 Located in the Northwest side, You could say Albany Park is the “Melting Pot” of Chicago. Whether they’re from, Korea, Mexico, The Middle East, And even some with Yugoslavian descent. All of them bring a little piece of culture to one of Chicago’s liveliest and most active communities. With all these diverse cultures centered in one neighborhood, You’re guaranteed to have a multitude of options when it comes to, Grocery stores, Restaurants and other businesses. One of the best opportunities to experience all this diversity is in ,The Annual Albany Park Summer fest. Everything from Food, to Music and everything in between, it’s the perfect place to be in August, when it comes around every year. Being the neighborhood with the highest ratio of foreign born citizens, the youth do an amazing job of bringing attention to modern day issues, and show the contribution of immigrant working class citizens in chicago. The diversity in this neighborhood is just one part of what makes Albany Park a great place to live. 

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ALBANY PARK HISTORY

Way back in 1868, Albany Park welcomed its first settler, a land speculator named Richard Rusk who bought 10 acres in the undeveloped region northwest of Chicago and converted it into a brickyard on the banks of the river. By the 1870s and 80s, Chicago’s population was booming, and residents started settling further outside the central city, moving into the territory near Rusk’s brickyard. Chicago annexed the entire area in 1889-the land that would become Chicago’sAlbany Park neighborhood.

Less than five years later, a quartet of high-powered real estate investors purchased more than 600 acres of former farmland for residential development. One of the investors included streetcar mogul DeLancy Louderback, who was also an Albany, N.Y native. He lobbied to name the development after his hometown, and worked with his partners to bring transportation lines to the vicinity, a crucial move in its residential and commercial expansion. Centrally located Lawrence Avenue saw its first electric streetcars in 1896, and another streetcar that ran north along Kedzie Avenue to meet Lawrence Avenue was finished in 1913. But it was the extension of the Ravenswood elevated track (now the Brown Line) to Lawrence and Kimball avenues in 1907 that made the most significant impact on the development of Albany Park and its transportation abilities. The completion of the Ravenswood ‘El’ sparked a rapid growth in construction, most of which was close to the train station at the intersection of Lawrence and Kimball avenues. Between 1910 and 1920, the neighborhood saw its population more than triple, from 7,000 inhabitants to more than 26,000. A decade later, Albany Park’s population more than doubled again, to more than 55,000 people.

When it was still farmland, the area was largely populated by working class Germans and Swedes. But after 1912, a sizeable number of Russian Jews who were fleeing the overcrowded neighborhoods of the city’s near west side, moved to Albany Park in search of more space to plant roots and raise their families. The neighborhood remained predominantly Jewish until after World War II, when many Jewish families moved out of the city to the North Shore suburbs.

Suburban flight led to a period of social and economic decline in Albany Park until 1978, when several neighborhood associations sought to improve the area’s appearance and eliminate the vacated storefronts. For the next two decades, low interest loan programs and streetscape beautification initiatives increased neighborhood property values. Suddenly, a new wave of immigrants from Mexico and Asia moved in, bringing a new cultural vitality to Albany Park neighborhood. By the year 1990, this northwest Chicago community was home to the city’s largest number of immigrants from the Philippines, Guatemala and Korea. Today the area maintains its niche as a launch pad for recently arrived immigrant groups and cultures from around the world.

ALBANY PARK FACTS

Location: 8 miles northwest of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: Irving ParkRavenswoodRavenswood ManorNorth MayfairMayfair
Boundaries: North Branch of Chicago River to the east, Foster Avenue to the north, Pulaski to the west and Montrose Avenue to the south.
Crime Statistics: Go to CLEARMap to search specific streets and areas for crime incidents

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ALBANY PARK TRANSPORTATION

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