Taking it's name from Garfield Boulevard, the area's main east-west thoroughfare, and the "a rather inconsequential topographic rise" that was left behind in the retreat of glacial Lake Michigan, Garfield Ridge is a neighborhood that started as a farming community and soon developed into a stable middle-class community. In addition to being home to the northern half of Midway Airport, which was the world's busiest airport between 1932 and 1961, Garfield Ridge was increasingly becoming surrounded by a growing industrial base in the early 1900s. These newly created jobs, as well as the economic infrastructure provided by Midway, were incentive enough for people to move to the area.
The population of the neighborhood steadily rose throughout the first half of the century, but Garfield Ridge's rise hit a lull in the 1960s after the city's focus on air travel shifted to O'Hare. The community was able to continue on "its path to urban maturity," though, when the city expanded Orange Line service to the neighborhood and renewed its interest and investment in Midway Airport in the 1990s.