Brighton Park Community Collection

Dates: 1927 – 1992
Size: 1 linear foot; 4 oversize folders; 2 photographs; 1 audiocassette
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_BPCC
Provenance: Materials in the Brighton Park Community Collection were transferred to the Special Collections and Preservation Division from the Brighton Park Branch Library in 2002. Additional materials are added occasionally through transfer and donation. Box 2, folder 1-3, were added in 2018.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Brighton Park Community Collection [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.

Historical Note

Brighton Park is located southwest of Chicago’s Loop, between Central Park Avenue to the west, Western Avenue to the east, the Stevenson Expressway to the north, and 49th Street to the south. Settlers first located in this area (at that time swampy land) in the 1830s. The fledgling town had aspirations to become Chicago’s livestock trading center but these plans were dashed when the Union Stock Yards opened in 1865 in another Chicago neighborhood. Brighton Park continued to be an industrial area with the establishment of the Santa Fe Railroad’s Corwith Yards at 35th Street and Central Park Avenue. The developing rail network in Chicago ensured Brighton Park’s future growth as both an industrial and residential neighborhood. The community of Brighton Park, part of Lake Township, was finally annexed into Chicago in 1889.

Brighton Park’s proximity to both Chicago’s Loop and to Midway Airport, along with excellent public transportation, keeps the area vibrant despite the decline in the community’s industrial base.

Scope and Content

Brighton Park Community Collection is organized into four series: historical sketches; religious organizations; schools; and street scenes. Photographs and an audio cassette are described following the Container List.

Most of the material in the Brighton Park Community Collection was created by local historian and reporter, Joseph Hamzik, during the 1960s. Hamzik wrote articles for several community newspapers, including Brighton Park Life, Back of the Yards Journal, Southwest News Herald, and the Bridgeport News. Copies of many of these articles are in the collection. A smaller amount of information relates to schools and churches in the area.

Container List

Series 1: Historical Sketches

Box 1 Folder 1 The Kelly Community, A Survey by Students of the Thomas Kelly High School, 1938
Box 1 Folder 2 Gleanings of Archer Road by Joseph Hamzik, 1961
Box 1 Folder 3 Gleanings of Archer Road by Joseph Hamzik, 2nd copy, incomplete, 1961
Box 1 Folder 4 Community newspaper articles written by Joseph Hamzik, 1 of 2, 1961–1975
Box 1 Folder 5 Community newspaper articles written by Joseph Hamzik, 2 of 2, 1961–1975
Box 2 Folder 1 History of Brighton Park on Slides by Joseph Hamzik, Tray 1, circa 1975.
Box 2 Folder 2 History of Brighton Park on Slides by Joseph Hamzik, Tray 2, circa 1975
Box 1 Folder 6 History of Public Schools in Brighton Park by Joseph Hamzik, 1992
Box 1 Folder 7 Essays on Chicago, What Chicago Means to Me, 1970
Box 1 Folder 8 History of Brighton Park by Mary Degner, circa 1970s
Box 1 Folder 9 The History of Brighton Park by Joseph Hamzik, also Teaching Unit, undated, see also Audio Cassette # 1 for original recording.

Series 2: Religious Organizations

Box 1 Folder 10 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peace, U.A.C., Twenty-fifth Anniversary, 1927
Box 1 Folder 11 St. Agnes Church, history of, undated
Box 1 Folder 12 St. Joseph and St. Anne Church, Golden Jubilee, 1939
  Oversize folder 1 Newspaper, Welcome Pope John Paul II, issue of Brighton Park, McKinley Park Life covering Pope John Paul II’s visit to Chicago, October 4, 1979

Series 3: Schools

Box 1 Folder 6 History of Public Schools in Brighton Park, by Joseph Hamzik, 1992
Box 1 Folder 13 Kelly High School, clippings, 1966
Box 2 Folder 3 Kelly High School yearbook, The Lamplighter, 1964-1965
Box 1 Folder 14 Mark Twain School, history of, 1938

Series 4: Street Scenes

  Oversize folder 2 Map, Percent of Negro Population, in Census Tracts, City of Chicago, 1950, 1960 [two sided]
  Oversize folder 3 Map, reproduction of Map of Chicago and its Southern and Western Suburbs, 1853, annotated by Joseph Hamzik to highlight Town of Brighton, 1962
  Oversize folder 4 Map, reproduction of Map of Chicago, Omnibus Lines, 1857, annotated by Joseph Hamzik to show Brighton House Line, circa 1962
Box 1 Folder 15 Map, hand-drawn, showing Archer Road, Central Park, 43rd Street, 47th Street, undated


Photograph 1.1 Brighton Park Race Track, undated
Photograph 1.2 Map, Unincorporated “Town of Brighton” created November 19, 1853, by J. Hamzik, undated
  See Box 2, Folders 1-2, for slides from talks given about Brighton Park history.

Audio Cassette

Audio Cassette 1 Recording of The History of Brighton Park, written and narrated by Joseph Hamzik, undated

Cataloged Publications

Call number
E711.6 .C45 1905
McKinley Monument Memorial, prepared by the South Park Commissioners, Chicago, 1905
Call number
LA269.C4H83 1940
Hundred years of the Chicago School History, by John Howatt, Chicago, 1940
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