Neighborhood

West Garfield Park


 
  

Neighborhood Description

"Originally named Central Park but renamed in 1881 after President Garfield was assassinated," West Garfield Park was home to one of Chicago's many horse racing tracks in the late 1800s. While a popular destination, and a big part of the overall commercial growth in the area, the track couldn't compete with the "prestigious Washington Park course or the Hawthorne track." In addition, the track's unsavory clientele made it a common target for police raids in the 1890s. In fact, the Chicago police raided the track three times in 1892, and "during the last raid, a horseman shot two police officers and was himself killed, sealing racing's fate there."

The demise of the track, as well as the construction of the Lake Street elevated line, brought growth to the area and opened space for new housing and commerce. "A policemen's syndicate sold its members homes on Wilcox Street, nicknamed 'Uniform Row,'" and the establishment of the Sears plant in neighboring North Lawndale brought new residents to the southeast part of the neighborhood.

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