Irving Park, Chicago Community Area #16 sits 7 miles northwest of the Loop. It is bounded on the east by the Chicago River and the Community Area of North Center, the Milwaukee Train lines and Portage Park to the West, Addison, and at points Belmont along with Community Area of Avondale and neighborhood of Kilbourn Park to the South, and Montrose, and at points Lawrence and the Community Area of Albany Park to our North.
Prior to being annexed to Chicago, the suburban communities that make up today’s Irving Park Community Area fell outside the city’s post-fire ban on wood-frame construction. The result is a present-day community rich with some of the oldest surviving construction in the city. Lots were subdivided larger than city lots and as a result the area soon attracted many wealthy residents looking for a nearby suburb to Chicago. Development boomed prior to the annexation by Chicago in 1889, but the population exploded and building and development accelerated after the area joined the city. Soon the area attracted citizens of varying economic backgrounds as rental homes and more modest homes shared the blocks with stately mansions. Between 1895 and 1914 more than 5,000 new buildings, including 1,400 multifamily buildings were erected in this period of significant architecture development creating one of the greatest built environments in all of Chicago. It features comfortably nestled neighborhoods such as the Villa, (a registered National and City Historic Landmark), Old Irving, Independence Park and Grayland. On the tour, we will take in beautiful works of architecture such as Dwight Perkins’ Carl Schurz High School, the Henry V. Peters House by Walter Burley Griffin, St. Viator by Charles Wallace and dozens of other truly special buildings.