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Hyde Park, located on the South Sidemarker of the City of Chicagomarker, in Cook Countymarker, Illinoismarker, United Statesmarker and seven miles (11 km) south of the Chicago Loopmarker, is a Chicago neighborhood and one of 77 Chicago community areas. It is home to the University of Chicagomarker, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Science and Industrymarker, the Oriental Institute and the Renaissance Societymarker. It is formerly the name of a Township that included numerous other neighborhoods that have all been annexed by the city of Chicago.

Hyde Park was founded by Paul Cornell in the 1850s near the Illinois Central Railroad south of Chicago. In 1861, the Hyde Park Townshipmarker was incorporated, extending from 39th to 63rd Streets. The southern border was later extended as far as South 138th Street and as far west as State Street. The township was independent of Chicago until 1889, when it was annexed to the city.

As a neighborhood, Hyde Park's definition has shrunk to a core area grouped closely around Cornell's development on 53rd Street and the lakefront. Today, the name Hyde Park is officially applied to the neighborhood from 51st Street (Hyde Park Blvd.) to the neighborhood around the Midway Plaisancemarker or simply The Midway (between 59th and 60th) The neighborhood's eastern boundary is Lake Michigan and its western boundary is Washington Park.

Some consider Hyde Park to include the area between 47th and 51st Streets (E. Hyde Park Blvd.), although this area is actually the south half of the Kenwoodmarker community area. The area encompassing Hyde Park and South Kenwood is also referred to as Hyde Park-Kenwood. It hosts two of the four Chicago Registered Historic Places from the original October 15, 1966 National Register of Historic Places list (Chicago Pile-1marker, & Robie Housemarker).

The Hyde Park Herald, a local newspaper, has covered neighborhood news since 1882. The neighborhood has gained particular fame as the home of President Barack Obama, who lived in Hyde Park for years and now owns a home in neighboring Kenwoodmarker.

History (Hyde Park)


Paul Cornell, a successful businessman, real-estate speculator, and abolitionist, purchased of land between 51st and 55th Streets along the Lake Michiganmarker lakefront and the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1850s, with the hope of attracting other Chicago businessmen and their families to the area. Some of Cornell's associates, including the sheriff, used their houses in Hyde Park as stops on the Underground Railroad. The neighborhood was south of downtown Chicago, and enjoyed weather tempered by Lake Michigan; cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Cornell parceled out the land and successfully negotiated for a rail depot at 53rd St to lure guests to The Hyde Park Housemarker, a hotel he built to serve as the neighborhood's social epicenter. The hotel served as the popular focal point of most community activity from the 1850s until it burned in an 1879 fire. It was visited by popular and well-to-do guests, including the newly widowed Mary Todd Lincoln. In 1917, a new structure was erected on the site of the hotel. It is now a condominium building called the Hampton Housemarker.

Growth and fame

In the early 1890s, with the founding of The University of Chicagomarker by John D. Rockefeller, Hyde Park began to make its mark. In 1893, Hyde Park hosted the World's Columbian Expositionmarker. While the fair covered hundreds of acres, the only structure left today is Charles Atwood's Palace of Fine Artsmarker, which has since been converted into Chicago's Museum of Science and Industrymarker.

The University of Chicagomarker, with leadership from William Rainey Harper, its first president, and large financial contributions from John D. Rockefeller, quickly became one of the nation's best universities, which has 85 Nobel prize winners associated with it.

By the 1920s, the University of Chicago lured Chicago's oldest institution of higher learning, the Chicago Theological Seminarymarker to relocate from the near west side to Hyde Park, on property immediately adjacent to the University's central quad. Since then, four other theological schools and the University's own Divinity School have joined Chicago Theological Seminary in Hyde Park, making the neighborhood home to nearly half of the Chicago region's accredited theological schools.

By the 1930s, Hyde Park was prospering as a popular hotel and resort area boasting over 100 hotels, including a dozen elaborate structures on the lakefront. By the 1940s, following the Depression and during the war, some of these hotels began to cater to a less affluent and transient population. Many were later converted to apartment and condominium buildings. A thriving artists' colony on 57th Street led to the founding of the 57th Street Art Fair in 1948, which continues as Chicago's oldest juried art fair.

Economic decline

By the 1950s, Hyde Park was suffering from the economic decline that was affecting much of the South Side—a decline that began during and after World War I, with the Great Migration of African Americans from the southern to the northern states. Large numbers of these migrants, traveling to Chicago, settled in Hyde Park, which then offered inexpensive but substandard housing. In 1955, Leon Despres, the noted civil rights champion, was elected alderman of Hyde Park, a position he kept until 1975. Despres argued passionately for fair housing, racial integration, and historic preservation.

Urban Renewal

In the 1950s and 1960s the University of Chicago, supported by the community under the title "Fight Against Blight" and by community leaders including Hyde Park Herald publisher Bruce Sagan, sponsored of one of the largest urban-renewal plans in the nation. In coordination with the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, the urban renewal plan resulted in the demolition and redevelopment of entire city blocks of decayed housing and other buildings with the goal of creating an "interracial community of high standards."

In the 1960s, as a result of the project, Hyde Park's average income soared by 70%, but its Black population fell by 40%, since the substandard housing, primarily occupied by poorer Blacks and other minorities, had been purchased, torn down, and replaced, with the result that these residents could not afford to remain in the newly-rehabilitated areas. On the other hand, middle-class Blacks were offered increased opportunities for employment and home-ownership. The project meant that Hyde Park did not experience the same economic depression that occurred in neighboring areas, such as Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Oakland. Also, it ensured that it remained a very racially-diverse neighborhood .

Historic structures

The following National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) properties are located within the community area: Chicago Beach Hotelmarker, Arthur H.marker Compton Housemarker, East Park Towers, Site of First Self-Sustaining Nuclear Reactionmarker, Flamingo-on-the-Lake Apartments, Isadore H.marker Heller Housemarker, Charles Hitchcock Hallmarker, Hotel Del Prado, Hotel Windermere East, Frank R.marker Lillie Housemarker, Frank R.marker Lillie Housemarker, Robert A.marker Millikan Housemarker, Poinsettia Apartments, Promontory Apartments, Frederick C.marker Robie Housemarker, George Herbert Jones Laboratorymarker, St. Thomas Church and Convent, Shoreland Hotelmarker, German submarine U-505marker, and University Apartments. In addition, the NRHP Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District and Jackson Park Historic Landscape District and Midway Plaisancemarker are located, at least in part, within the community area.

Notable residents

Notable Hyde Park residents have included :

The neighborhood has produced three U.S. Senators: Paul Douglas, Carol Moseley Braun, and Barack Obama. The neighborhood contains buildings designed by such famous architects as Eero Saarinen, I. M. Pei, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Rafael Viñoly, and Frank Lloyd Wright.


Hyde Park is home to a number of higher education institutions:

Location and transportation

The neighborhood is connected to the rest of the city by both Chicago Transit Authority and Metra transportation services. CTA bus services include:

In addition to these standard services, CTA provides several routes paid for by the University of Chicago:
  • 170 - University of Chicago–Midway
  • 171 - University of Chicago–Hyde Park
  • 172 - University of Chicago–Kenwood
  • 192 - University of Chicago Hospitals Express

These buses allow transfers to Red and Green Line trains to the Loop or provide direct express service to downtown. Metra's Electric Line, located on the former Illinois Central, has several stops in Hyde Park and provides service to downtown by way of the Millennium Stationmarker. South Shore Line trains stop at the 55th-56th-57th Street Stationmarker and provide service to Indianamarker. Hyde Park is also one of over 20 neighborhoods containing an I-GO Car.


The even numbered streets in Hyde Park (e.g., 52nd, 54th, etc.) are almost exclusively residential. 51st, 53rd, 55th, and 57th Streets and Lake Park Avenue to the west of the Metra tracks host the vast majority of the businesses.

53rd Street, Hyde Park's oldest shopping district, is lined with many inexpensive restaurants, frequently offering take-out, and small businesses between Ellis to the west and Lake Park to the east. 53rd also features a recently-constructed Border's Bookstore. A small-business-oriented shopping center, Harper Court, extends north of 53rd Street along Harper Ave. It includes a wide variety of shops, from Dr. Wax (a record store), Hyde Park Pets, and the (now closed) Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop, a popular restaurant serving southern/Cajun food. A Farmers' market is held on Harper Court in the summers.

Promontory Pointmarker extends out into Lake Michigan at 55th street. Promontory Point extends far enough east into the lake that it provides spectacular views of both the Downtown Skyline to the north and the South Chicago and Northwest Indiana skyline to the south. It is a popular place to watch summertime fireworks displays from Navy Piermarker to the north, especially for Independence Day. "The Point," as it is affectionately known, sits on Chicago Park District land and like most of Chicago's lakefront park land, it is popular with hikers, bikers, joggers, runners, sunbathers, picnickers, and adventurous swimmers. Many residents of Hyde Park and fans of the point show their pride by putting bumper stickers on their cars, bikes, skateboards, etc. that simply read "Save the Point." These indicate opposition to the concrete seawall proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers for The Point and the neighboring 57th St. Members of the "Save the Point" campaign prefer a limestone seawall, as currently exists.

The south east corner of Hyde Park contains the northern end of Jackson Parkmarker upon which sits the Museum of Science and Industry, a remnant of the Columbian Exposition. Adjacent to the Museum is a large park containing a small Japanese garden. The Midwaymarker, running from Stony Island Avenue to Cottage Grove Avenue connects Jackson Park to Washington Parkmarker.

Between the lake and the Metra tracks on 55th street is a series of Asian restaurants, serving Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. To the west of the Metra line between 54th and 55th streets lies the Hyde Park Shopping Center. The shopping center is anchored by the Treasure Island grocery store. Prior to Treasure Island, the space was occupied by the Hyde Park Co-Op grocery store, which shut down due to financial difficulties in early 2008. The Hyde Park Shopping Center also includes a Walgreens, an Ace Hardware, an Office Depot, a Potbelly Sandwich Works, The Bonjour bakery and outdoor cafe, and an upscale French restaurant, "La Petite Folie." Across from the shopping center on 55th Street are located a dry cleaner, a computer store (Windy City Computer), a sandwich shop (Jimmy John's), and a small bank.

57th Street is noted for independent bookstores, including the South Side branch of Powell's, an antiquarian bookshop (O'Gara and Wilson's), and the general-readership branch of the Seminary Co-op bookstore, known as "57th Street Books." 57th Street also offers the Medici Restaurant and Bakery, Edwardo's Pizza, and the timeless Salonica Grill, along with small groceries, hairstylists, and dry cleaners. On the first weekend in June, the venerable 57th Street Art Fair takes up 57th Street between Kimbark and Kenwood Avenues.

Very few retailers operate west of Woodlawn, excepting the bookstores at the Chicago Theological Seminary, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and the University of Chicago. The neighborhood south of 55th Street and west of Woodlawn is dominated by the University of Chicagomarker. North of 53rd Street the neighborhood is mainly residential.

Image gallery

Image:Masaryk EquChi1.jpg|A view of the Memorial to Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk by Albin Polasek on Midway Plaisancemarker.Image:53rd_st_Hyde_Park.JPG‎|Shops and restaurants on E 53rd StreetImage:53rd_and_Lake_Park.JPG|The Metra station on E 53rd and S Lake Park Ave.Image:La_Petite_Folie.JPG‎|The courtyard of the Hyde Park Shopping CenterImage:Akiba-Schechter.jpg|Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day SchoolmarkerImage:penkiasdesimtpenkta.JPG|E 55th St. and S. Everett Ave.Image:57th St. Hyde Park.JPG|S South Shore Dr. and E 56th St.Image:Promontory_Point.JPG‎|Banks of Promontory PointmarkerImage:Hyde Park, Chicago.jpg|Museum of Science and IndustrymarkerImage:55th and Cornell Ave..jpg|The dollar store on E 55th St. and S Cornell Ave.Image:HydeParkChicagoSeenFromLakeshore.jpg|Looking south toward Hyde Park from the shore of Lake MichiganImage:

See also


  2. Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce 2007-2008 Member Directory, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, pp. 32-33, 2007.
  3. Eds. Grossman, James R., Keating, Ann Durkin, and Reiff, Janice L., 2004 The Encyclopedia of Chicago, p. 404. The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-gttttt226-31015-9
  5. Julie Richman and Mary Louise Womer, Chicago's 57th Street Art Fair, 57th Street Art Fair Committee Publishers, 1997

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