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Hyde Park, IL

This is the 41st Chicago neighborhood. It's 7 miles south of the Loop. 51st Street/Hyde Park Boulevard, Midway Plaza (59th-60th streets), Washington Park, and Lake Michigan. North of 47th Street/Hyde Park Boulevard, a section of Hyde Park is technically part of the Kenwood neighborhood. Hyde Park-Kenwood includes Hyde Park, Kenwood's southern part, East Hyde Park, and Indian Village. In Hyde Park are the University of Chicago, Catholic Theological Union, Lutheran School of Theology, and McCormick Theological Seminary. Here are Chicago Pile-1 and Robie House. After twelve years of teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, Barack Obama campaigned for president in Hyde Park in the early 2000s. Jackson Park is home to the Barack Obama Presidential Center. In 1853, Paul Cornell, a real estate speculator and Ezra Cornell's relative, bought 300 acres of land between 51st and 55th streets along Lake Michigan. The lake supplied summer cooling and winter warming in a rural setting seven miles south of Chicago. It was near the Illinois Central, established two years before. 53rd Street station land secured by Cornell. Rich Chicagoans used Hyde Park to escape the city's growing noise and congestion.


The Hyde Park House opened in 1857 near the 53rd Street station. Hyde Park House was a social hub for two decades. Mary Todd Lincoln and her children spent two and a half months there in the summer of 1865. (shortly after her husband was assassinated). The Hyde Park House burned in 1879. The 1918 Sisson Hotel became condos (the Hampton House). In 1861, Hyde Park became a township. (Hyde Park Twp. State Street ran west-east, Lake Michigan and the Indiana state line went east-west. It included much of what is now Chicago's South Side. Chicago absorbed Hyde Park Township in 1889. Hyde Park was annexed as a Chicago neighborhood between 51st and 55th streets near the lakefront. The Hyde Park Herald began in 1882. The University of Chicago was founded at Hyde Park in 1891, two years after Hyde Park was incorporated into Chicago.


1893 saw the World's Columbian Exposition at Hyde Park, marking Columbus' 400th anniversary in the New World. This reputation drew new people and new development, gradually transforming Hyde Park into an urban zone. Because most of the structures were temporary, the fair left little visible traces. The Palace of Fine Arts, designed by Charles Atwood, is now the Museum of Science and Industry. In the early twentieth century, Hyde Park had many high-end hotels (mostly along the lakefront). Chi town's Hyde Park resort. After the Depression, most of these hotels became apartments (most of which are still standing today). This digital resource from Chicago Collections archives, libraries, and other cultural organizations includes vintage pictures of Hyde Park. Though near Chicago's Black Belt, Hyde Park remained almost entirely white until the mid-20th century. The Hyde Parkers employed racial segregation to exclude blacks. Similarly, the University of Chicago backed accords. In 1948, the Supreme Court struck down racially discriminatory covenants in Hyde Park. Abolitionist Leon Despres was elected to Hyde Park council in 1955. Known as Chicago's "liberal conscience," Despres routinely voted against then-Mayor Richard J. Daley's initiatives.


The significant migration of African Americans in the 1950s hurt Hyde Park's economy. In the 1950s and 1960s, the University of Chicago funded one of the nation's greatest urban renewal projects. Demolish and reconstruct entire blocks of old structures to create a "interracial community of high standards." When the plan was implemented, Hyde Park's African American population plummeted by 40%, since residents could not afford to stay in the newly restored areas. So Hyde Park avoided the economic collapse that affected the surrounding districts.


Hyde Park

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