Special Collections and Preservation Division
Neighborhood Research History Collection
West Town Community Collection
.5 linear ft., 71 photographs, 3 oversize folders
Call number: Archives_WT
Much of the West Town area east of Wood Street was within the limits of what was incorporated as the City of Chicago in 1837. During the 1860s, homes were constructed near the railroad shops and yards and near newly constructed factories by the river and along Milwaukee Avenue. Poles had begun to settle the area, and the 1869 establishment of Humboldt Park in West Town’s northwest corner as well as Humboldt station by the Milwaukee Railroad led to a settlement of primarily Germans and Scandinavians north of the park. The area attracted many workers after the Fire who wished to build cheap frame homes, and in the following decades Polish immigration to the area increased, along with Russian Jews, Ukranians, and Germans. The population peaked in 1910, and began declining in the 1930s.
The collection is mostly comprised of newsclips, programs, historical
sketches, school newspapers, and similar materials. It is arranged
in eleven subject series ranging from Biographical Data to Transportation.
Notable features of the West Town Community Collection include:
Chicago Artesian Ice Company
Hochspeier Funeral home
Northwest Division High School
Polish Roman Catholic Union of America
Quarries in the West Town area
The collection also includes a number of photographs, listed at the end of the Box and Folder Inventory, which have been removed from the manuscript portion of the collection and placed in the Neighborhood History Research Collection/Audiovisual Collection. Cross references have been provided for related subjects appearing in different series. Newsclips in the original collection which were duplicated in the library’s newspaper holdings have been indexed in this guide, but not physically included in manuscript collection.
Separation Record:Oversized Materials
The following items have been removed to the locations given.
Artesian Well Ice House. Pen-and-ink with WT—Oversize 1
watercolor sketch byGarnset. 9 5/8 x 18
inches. Paper, cloth-backed.
Tuley High School. Tuley Review, Vol. 16, No. 1. WT—Oversize 2
February 25, 1938. Right half of pp. 3-4 missing.
Tuley High School. Tuley Review Supplement. WT—Oversize 3
Senior class, June, 1937. 247 individual photographs
with identifications. Gusek Studio.
The West Town Community Collection was originally part of the collections of the West Side Historical Society, which formed at the Legler branch of The Chicago Public Library in 1930 to promote and collect the history of Chicago’s west side. Upon the dissolution of the Historical Society in the 1950s, its records and materials remained at the Legler branch where they suffered the mistreatment and depredations of unsupervised use and inadequate storage facilities. To protect the materials, an agreement was struck in 1976 with the University of Illinois-Chicago Campus for the temporary custody of the collection at the University of Illinois. as agreed, the materials were transferred to The Chicago Public Library’s Special Collections Division ten years later, where they were divided up by community area, processed under the auspices of a grant from the Dr. Scholl Foundation, and placed in the Dr. Scholl Foundation, and placed in the Neighborhood Research Collection.
The West Town Community Collection is available to the public for research in the Special Collections and Preservation Division Reading Room on the 9th floor of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60605. The collection does not circulate, although photocopy and photoreproduction services are available depending upon the condition of the original materials. First time patrons to Special Collections must present photo identification and complete a Reader Registration Form. Telephone inquiries on this collection and other Special Collections holdings can be directed to 312-747-4875.
Series I: Biographical Data
1. Boyles, George R.: Newsclips, 1936, 1946.
Chisholm, Thomas McKay: Newsclip, 1931.
Eggleston, Ruth Chessman: Newsclip, 1929.
Hochspeier, F. W. See: Business Establishments: Hochspeier
Horth, Edward: Biographical Sketch and reminiscences, 1935.
Mills, Joseph: Newsclips, 1929, 1931.
Mitchell, Nellie. See: Chicago Daily News, Feb. 10, 1939.
Pierce, Dr. Paul. See: Chicago Tribune, Jan. 13, 1939.
Rice, George W. See: Historical Sketches and Essays: "The West
Side Stone Quarries."
Sloan, Percy H.: Newsclip, 1941.
Sztuckzo, Rev. Casimir: Newsclip, 1940.
Thiel, Otto H. See: Chicago Tribune, Oct. 5, 1936.
Series II: Business Establishments
2. Chicago Artesian Ice Company:
Business card, 1886.
History of the Chicago Artesian Wells by George A. Shufeldt, Jr.,
Newsclips, 1891, 1936.
See Also: OVERSIZE 1
3. Erickson’s Dry Goods: Notes on, n.d.
Hochspeier Funeral Home: History of, 1939.
Humboldt State Bank: Postcard, 1922.
Jewelers. See: WS/Business Establishments: Jewelers.
Quarries: Hand-drawn maps of Rice’s Quarry and the Artesian
Quarry by Henry W. Evan (?), 1926.
See also: photo CCW 1.22
See also: Historical Sketches and Essays: "West Side Stone
W. T. B. Read’s Sons Ice. See: Chicago Artesian Ice Company.
Stearn’s Drug Store:
History of, 1939.
Medicine bottle labels, ca. 1920.
Series III: Churches
3a. St. Matthew’s Evangelical & Reformed—55th anniversary; 1944.
4. St. Peter’s Evangelical
St. Stanislaus Kostka. See: Chicago Daily News, April 11, 1942.
St. Stephen’s (old):
Newsclips, 1943, n.d.
St. Trinite: Postcard, n.d.
Wicker Park Methodist: Program, 1935.
Series IV: Clubs and Organizations
5. American Legion, Paul Revere Post No. 623:
Association House: Newsclips, 1939, 1943.
The Comrade (newsletter), April 26, 1940.
Deborah Boys Club. See: Chicago Daily News, Dec. 2, 1939.
Emerson House Association. See: Chicago Herald & Examiner,
July 17, 1938.
Erie Neighborhood House.
See: Chicago Herald & Examiner, July 24, 1938; Mar. 4, 1939.
Laird House. See: Chicago Tribune, Sept. 19, 1937.
6. Masons (D. C. Creiger Lodge, No. 643.): Souvenir book, 1920.
Northwestern University Settlement:
Onward Neighborhood House: Newsclips, 1937, 1939.
Polish Roman Catholic Union of America:
History of, ca. 1930s.
See: Chicago Daily News, Jan. 10, 1937.
6a. West Town Chamber of Commerce—Nominations for
Series V: Historical Sketches and Essays
7. Descriptions of "Little Poland" tours, 1938-1940.
"The West Side Stone Quarries", George W. Rice, 1936.
Series VI: Hospitals
8. Norwegian-American Hospital: Souvenir book, 1930.
Series VII: Parks
9. Nelson’s Park: Map and Notes on. 1936.
Series VIII: Residences
10. 1530 Otto Street: Postcard announcing change of house number,
Series IX: Schools
11. Bancroft School: Program, 1895.
Chopin School: Program, 1940.
Class list, 1940.
Columbus Clipper (newsletter), Jan. 1940.
Picture of, ca. 1890s.
Programs, 1938, 1940.
Humboldt School: Program, 1891.
12. Lafayette School: Program, 1939
Mitchell School: Programs, 1939, 1940.
Moos Chronicle (yearbook), June 1941.
See also: Humboldt School.
13. Northwest Division High School:
Class and faculty lists, 1901, 1905.
The Review (magazine), 1899-1903 (not inclusive).
14. Sabin Junior High School: Programs, 1915, 1925.
Schley School: Program, 1901.
Tuley High School:
See Also Oversize material #2 and 3
Von Humboldt School: Programs, 1896-1898.
Washington School: Programs, 1860, 1885, 1886, 1938.
14a. St. Stanislaus Kosta High School—Class Play program; 1949.
Series X: Streets
Ashland Avenue. See: WS/Streets: Ashland Avenue.
15. Augusta Boulevard: Newsclips, 1939, 1941.
See also: ACC/Transportation: Augusta Boulevard.
Bickerdike Street. See: WS/Streets: Bishop Street.
Bishop Street. See: WS/Streets: Bishop Street.
Damen Avenue. See: WS/Streets: Damen Avenue.
Division Street: Newsclip, 1937.
Histories of, 1891, 1922, 1936, n.d.
Newsclips, ca. 1906, 1927.
16. North Avenue: Newsclips, 1928-1940.
Series XI: Transportation
Ambulances. See: Business Establishments: Hochspeier Funeral
Hearses. See: Business Establishments: Hochspeier Funeral Home.
Subway (Halsted-Grand/Milwaukee station). See: Chicago Daily
News, March 30, 1940.
Toll gates. See: Streets: Milwaukee Avenue.
1.1 Edward Ahlswede Dry Goods, 1886
1.2 Chicago Artesian Ice Co., c. 1870s
1.3-1.10 Hochspeier Funeral Home 1908—1939
1.11 Stearn’s Drugs, 1939
1.12 Roman Catholic Church—laying cornerstone for St. Boneface Church at 921 Noble Street.
1.13 Tabitha Hospital, 1900-1910
1.14-1.17 Fire Department, 1899, c. 1890
2.1 Hackley, Manning T. (Alderman, 28th Ward)
2.2 Read, William T. B. (1809-1898)
1.18 Burke home: 2028 Pierce Ave., 1937 Nov 3
1.19-1.20 Niedert home: N. Hoyne St., 1940s?
1.21 Read home: 2424 W. Chicago, 1876
1.22 Read home: 2424 W. Chicago, 1936
1.23 Schulz home, 1876
1.24 Carpenter School, 1883
1.25 Chopin School, 1940
1.26-1.29 Humboldt School, 1890, 1893
1.30 Mitchell School, 1940
1.31-1.32 Moos School, c. 1890s; 1941
1.33-1.36 Northwest Division High School, 1893; before 1916
1.36a Peabody School, 1903
1.37-1.38 Sabin School, n.d.; 1920s?
1.39 Sangamon Street School, 1880s
1.40 Washington School, 1882
1.41 Washington School, 1938
1.42-1.43 Humboldt School, 1895
1.44-1.45 Northwest Division High School, 1901, 1905
1.46-1.47 Sabin School, c. 1930s; 1938
1.48 Tuley High School, 1938
2.3 Lafayette School—Class photo, Room 10, 1891
1.49 Western & Chicago Avenues, 1876
1.50 Irving Ave. (Schiller Ave.? LeMoyne Ave.?), 1930s
1.51 Leavitt Street, 1400 block North, 1930s
1.52 801 N Milwaukee Ave., 1930s
1.53 906-914 W. Erie St., c. 1939
1.54 Hirsch & Maplewood, 1936
1.55 North & Fairfield Aves., early 1900s
1.56-1.65 Ashland Avenue Bridge Opening, 1936 Aug 20
1.66 Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Yards, 1916?
1.67 Citizens Line car #217, Milwaukee Ave., c. 1874
1.68 Chicago River at North Avenue Bridge