EXPLORE CHICAGO’S OLD TOWN NEIGHBORHOOD
The German immigrants that moved to the area during the second half of the 19th century, turned what was a swamp into farmable land nicknamed “The Cabbage Patch” during the early years of Chicago. Prior to the Germans, Native Americans inhabited the area that served as a trading center for many different tribes until Native Americans were forcibly removed in 1833. St. Michael’s Church is one of the seven buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire and still stands today.
The neighborhood is home to the first gay-rights organization in American History, The Society for Human Rights, which was founded by Henry Garber in his house. The Henry Garber House is now a National Historic Landmark. After the ‘white flight’ of the 1950s and 1960s, the neighborhood was abandoned and the low cost of rent attracted a community of Puerto Ricans, artists during the rise of hippie culture, and the unafraid and ‘out’ gay community. This exciting mix of people led to many interesting boutiques and venues to open in the neighborhood, including Crate & Barrel and Second City. Reinvestment in the 70s and 80s forced many of the residents to move to Lincoln Park and Lakeview.
Today, residents are drawn to the Victorian buildings, brick alleys, and bustling social scene. Old Town brings together the best parts of Chicago into one beautiful and lively neighborhood. Both a modern community and a historic stomping ground, its mixture of new and old has something for everyone.