The neighborhood and streetscapes of Lincoln Park were formed by immigrants from Germany, Ireland and Italy. They came to Chicago for opportunity and settled into worker cottages and apartments built to house this massive population flux. They constructed churches and schools, many of which remain with their limestone and brick edifices anchoring neighborhood blocks and beautifying streetscapes. Copper-clad steeples, clay-tiled domes and bell towers dot the sky across the neighborhood horizon. They opened bars and taverns where they socialized on hot, summer nights and gathered to discuss the politics and needs of the day. They operated small restaurants, butcher shops, sundries and other family-run businesses. Their contribution and legacy resonate in the old storefronts, handsome brownstones and modest three-flats that intertwine with more elaborate Single-Family homes and boutique condominium buildings that run east to west and north to south, interrupted by verdant parks, el tracks and bustling pockets of commerce.
Lincoln Park is known for an impressive concentration of the best public, private and parochial schools in the city. A less-known fact is the presence of dozens of theaters from the well-known Steppenwolf to inconspicuous places such as The Greenhouse Theater Center on Lincoln Avenue. Small, neighborhood spots satiate locals’ appetites and enhance the community feel. Lincoln Park is divided into various neighborhoods each with a distinct personality. East Lincoln Park is renowned for the fabulous Lakefront, namesake park, zoo and museums that abut Landmark-protected brownstone and brick homes and apartments. This section also houses some of the most exquisite inventory and refurbished and newer Single-Family homes in Chicago. The DePaul neighborhood, where I lived for 15 years before moving to the northwest Wrightwood Park section, is home to the namesake university—the largest Catholic university in the United States. Heralded, newer music and theater schools bring added cultural vibrancy, and students diffuse a youthful energy that conflates with young, working professionals, families and long-time residents.
Lincoln Park is a neighborhood whose history is honored through its architecture. A dynamic neighborhood among trees and parks. The neighborhood I live in and love.