Humboldt Park, Chicago

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Humboldt Park
—  Community area  —
Community Area 23 - Humboldt Park
Location within the city of Chicago
CountryUnited States
StateIllinois
CountyCook
CityChicago
Neighborhoods
Population (2010)
 • Total56,323
Demographics 2010[1]
 • White4.44%
 • Black40.89%
 • Hispanic53.35%
 • Asian0.39%
 • Other0.93%
Median household income$29,605[2]
 
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Humboldt Park
—  Community area  —
Community Area 23 - Humboldt Park
Location within the city of Chicago
CountryUnited States
StateIllinois
CountyCook
CityChicago
Neighborhoods
Population (2010)
 • Total56,323
Demographics 2010[1]
 • White4.44%
 • Black40.89%
 • Hispanic53.35%
 • Asian0.39%
 • Other0.93%
Median household income$29,605[2]

Humboldt Park is one of 77 officially designated community areas located on the northwest side of Chicago, Illinois. The Humboldt Park neighborhood is widely known for its large Puerto Rican presence. Humboldt Park is also the name of a 207-acre (0.8 km²) park adjacent to the community area.

Contents

Early history

The park was named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and geographer famed for his five-volume work Cosmos: Draft of a Physical Description of the World. [3] His single visit to the United States did not include Chicago. The creation of Humboldt and several other Westside parks provided beauty, linked together via Chicago's historic boulevard system. The park is flanked by large graystone homes.

Chicago annexed most of the neighborhood in 1869, the year the park was laid out[4]. Because the area lay just beyond the city's fire code jurisdiction, as set out after the 1871 fire, this made low cost construction possible.

The neighborhood has been a center for many ethnic groups over the years, including Polish, German, Black American & Puerto Rican.

Boundaries and Subsections

In conventional use, the neighborhood's borders include Western Avenue to the east, Pulaski Road to the west, Wabanasia Avenue to the North, and the Union Pacific tracks to the south. The railyards southeast of Grand and Sacramento are also part of the community area. There are two distinct areas of Humboldt Park: East Humboldt Park and West Humboldt Park, with Sacramento Boulevard being the diving line between the two. Both sides have large Hispanic populations, the bulk of which is of Puerto Rican origin, making the area as whole, the center of Chicago's Puerto Rican community, though the neighborhood also has significant numbers of Mexicans and other Hispanics. Most blacks live in the western portion of the neighborhood and most whites live in the eastern portion of the neighborhood.

See http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/map

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/census/2010/

East Humboldt Park

East Humboldt Park is east of Sacramento Boulevard. The area is facing higher rent and in the process of gentrification. Most residents on this side of Humboldt Park are middle class residents. In fact, the area has the largest middle class Puerto Rican community in the Midwest. The area is home to many Puerto Rican cultural institutions, as well as two sixty feet Puerto Rican flags on Division Street.

Puerto Rican influx

The east end of Paseo Boricua along Division Street, facing west near Western Avenue.
Fiesta Boricua on Paseo Boricua.

As early as the 1950s, Puerto Ricans settled in Humboldt Park. Many came directly from Puerto Rico as migration was averaging over ten thousand Puerto Ricans per year in the 1950s and 1960s, throughout the United States. Others came from the local neighborhoods of Old Town and Lincoln Park where a large prime real estate area of Chicago, near Lake Michigan and downtown, gentrified and Puerto Ricans were displaced. The infamous Division Street Riots resulted in the start of organizations for Puerto Rican rights in 1966. Organizations like the L.AD.O.(Latin American Defense Organization), S.A.C.C.(Spanish Action Committee of Chicago) and the Caballeros de San Juan and Damas de Maria, helped to slow down the riot caused by a police shooting of an unarmed youth. At another smaller riot in 1969, the Young Lords worked with criminal gangs like the Latin Kings, the Spanish Cobras, the Latin Disciples and the above mentioned community organizations to build unity and to redirect youth energies toward empowerment strategies. There were several solidarity marches from Lincoln Park to Humboldt Park and to City Hall; demanding social services, an end to police brutality and an end to neighborhood displacement.

In 1995 city officials and Puerto Rican-American activists offered a symbolic gesture to recognize the neighborhood and the Puerto Rican residents' roots. They christened it "Paseo Boricua" and installed two metal Puerto Rican flags—each weighing 45 tons, measuring 59 feet (18 m) vertically and stretching across the street—at each end of the strip.

Over time a culture center was established, and the offices of local Puerto Rican politicians relocated their offices to Division Street. Recently, the City of Chicago has set aside money for Paseo Boricua property owners who want to restore their buildings' facades.

It is the only officially recognized Puerto Rican neighborhood in the nation.[citation needed] New York, with its vast Puerto Rican population, does not have an officially designated Puerto Rican neighborhood.

6a013480a9e8e9970c0134832a69fd970c.jpg

Today Paseo Boricua is the first location outside the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to be granted the right to fly an official municipal flag of Puerto Rico.

Institute of Puerto Rican arts and culture

Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

With the support of the community, Puerto Rican leaders in Chicago leased the historic Humboldt Park stables near Paseo Boricua that house the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, its the only museum in the nation that is completely dedicated to the history of Puerto Rican culture and the Puerto Rican diaspora. About $3.4 million was spent to renovate the exterior of the building and another $3.2 million for the interior.

[5]

Other history and trends

Our Lady of the Angels School Fire occurred at the Our Lady of Angels School on December 1, 1958 in the Humboldt Park area. The school, which was operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, lost 92 students and three nuns in five classrooms on the second floor.

In the 1970s, Humboldt Park became more dangerous with high levels of gang activity, crime, and violence. The neighborhood continues to be economically depressed, with housing values below the city-wide average. Overcrowding remains a serious problem, as does gang activity and violent crime. Gentrification beginning in the late 1990s, along with changing police tactics, and cultural, political and social organizations, have changed the politics, economy and crime rates of the area.

Cultural references to the community

Humboldt Park figures prominently in the literary works that chronicled Chicago's blue collar life in the 1950s and 1960s.

Humboldt Park has also been featured in film.

Education

Chicago Public Schools operates district public schools.

Rowe Clark Math & Science Academy, a CPS high school, is in Humboldt Park.[6] "3645 W Chicago Ave

United Neighborhood Organization operates the Humboldt Park School.[7]

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School was located in Humboldt Park.

Historical populations
CensusPop.
193080,835
194079,329−1.9%
195076,199−3.9%
196071,609−6.0%
197071,326−0.4%
198070,879−0.6%
199067,573−4.7%
200065,836−2.6%
201056,323−14.4%
[8]

References

External links