Lower West Side Community Collection

Dates: 1906-1944
Size: .25 linear feet, 8 photographs
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: Archives_LOW
Provenance: The collection was originally housed in Chicago Public Library's Legler Branch Library. In the 1980s Special Collections, working with a Dr. Scholl Foundation grant, transferred and processed the collection to make it fully available to the public. Related materials in the NHRC files are the Belmont-Cragin, Portage Park, Humboldt Park, and West Side Community Collections. Processed November 18, 1988.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Lower West Side Community Collection [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.

Historical Note

The Lower West Side neighborhood is 3 miles southwest of the Loop. This community is bounded by the Chicago River on the south and east and by the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks on the north and west. The northeast sections of the neighborhood were included in the city's boundaries when it incorporated in 1837. The remaining sections were annexed in 1853. It is number 31 of the 77 official communities that make up Chicago.

For an overview of the Lower West Side, see

  • "Lower West Side," Encyclopedia of Chicago
  • "CA31 -- Lower West Side," Local Community Fact Book, Chicago Metropolitan Area, 1990

Scope and Content

The materials in this collection document the era when the Czechoslovakians and Germans held sway in the Lower West Side. The bulk of the collection concerns the Gads Hill Center which was a settlement house, and Trinity Evangelical Church, whose newsletters continued to be published in English and German into the 1940s. More information re Trinity Church can be found in the Kircher Family Papers; Julius Kircher pastored the church for half a century.

Supplement 1:

Supplement 1 consists of a photocopy of an unpublished autobiography of Emma Rouse King, who was born on in the Lower West Side neighborhood in 1879. The manuscript was written in the 1950s, and covers not only King’s girlhood, but her life subsequent to leaving Chicago. In addition to the manuscript are photos and biographical information about the author.

These materials were donated to Chicago Public Library by King’s daughter, Faith Evans, in 1989.

Related Material

Biographical Data

Austin, Ruth See CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, 1939 Oct 15; and folders 1:8-10
Gorski, Albina See CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, 1944 Apr 27
Hunt, Susan Hadley See CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, 1941 Sep 10
Husek, Joseph See CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1940 Sep 8
Kircher, Julius and family See Kircher Family Papers
Novak, John See CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1952 Aug 3

Business Establishments

Novak’s Apothecary Shop See CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1952 Aug 3

Religious Institutions

German Evangeli. Trinity See Trinity Evangelical (1:4-7)
Halsted Street Institutional See CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, 1941 May 23, May 17; CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1938 May 29
Sacred Heart See CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1938 May 15.
St. Procopius See CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, 1942 Jun 6
Trinity Evangelical See CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1940 Oct 20

Clubs & Organizations

Howell Neighborhood House See CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1939 Jan 29
Martha Verein See Trinity Evangelical Church (folders 1:4-7)

Historical Sketches

Bohemian Community See CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, 1941 Feb 8

Container List

Religious Institutions

Box 1 Folder 1 Mennonite—Newspaper clipping; 1939
Box 1 Folder 2 St. Procopius—Postcard; undated
Box 1 Folder 3 Swedish Free Mission—Dedication program; 1906
Box 1 Folder 4 Trinity Evangelical—Anniversary booklets; 1909, 1934
Box 1 Folder 5 Trinity Evangelical—Bulletins; 1904-1917
Box 1 Folder 6 Trinity Evangelical—Bulletins; 1939-1944
Box 1 Folder 7 Trinity Evangelical—"Der Dreieinigkeits-Bote"/Trinity Herald" (Newsletter); 1924, 1932-35, 1939-41

Clubs & Organizations

Box 1 Folder 8 Gads Hill Center—Annual reports, brochures, newsletters, newspaper clippings; 1937-1943
Box 1 Folder 9 Gads Hill—Historical pageant script; 1938
Box 1 Folder 10 Gads Hill—Pamphlets & programs; 1924-1943

Historical Sketches

Box 1 Folder 11 Bartolozzi, Lorraine, "Community Study of the Lower West Side," [1930s]


Box 1 Folder 12 Jirka, Komensky, Whittier; 1938-1940



Box 1 Folder 13 King, Emma Rouse (1879-1956)—Biographical information, photos
Box 1 Folder 14 King, Emma Rouse, My Span of Life—Autobiography; [1950s]

Historical Sketches

Box 1 Folder 15 Hoyt, Homer, "Rebuilding Old Chicago—The Lower West Side," 1941


Photograph 1.1 Business Establishments--Heydenreich Drug Store, 1892-93
Photograph 1.2 Religious Institutions--St. Paul’s Church, 1902
Photograph 1.3 Clubs & Organizations--Gad’s Hill Center, 1930s
Photograph 1.4 Schools--Pickard School, 2nd grade, 1891
Photograph 1.5 Schools--Pickard School, 4th grade, 1891
Photograph 1.6 Transportation--Bridge: Halsted & 22nd St., 1911
Photograph 1.7 Business Establishments--T.W. Harvey Lumber Co., circa 1900
Photograph 1.8 Portraits--Ruth Austin, 1919 W. Cullerton; 1940?
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