Fuller Park is one of Chicago’s smallest community areas, encompassing a narrow two-mile strip. The community of Fuller Park was fairly poor from the beginning. After the Civil War, Fuller Park consisted of mostly Irish descendants, employed either by the railroads or stockyards. After the Great Fire in 1871, residential growth increased as developers hoped to avoid the expensive building codes found within the city.
By 1920 African Americans, Mexicans and Slavs had replaced the Irish and Germans. In the 1950s, the Dan Ryan Expressway overran and split the community, displacing a third of the population. Fuller Park underwent a huge population change from eighty percent white in 1945 to ninety-seven percent black in 1970. The local economy was hit hard during this time when the Union Stock Yard closed in 1971.
The numbers also decreased dramatically from 17,000 to 4,000 by 1990. In the 1980s, Fuller Park received fewer bank loans for home improvement than any other neighborhood in Chicago. The poverty rate is over forty percent, with single mothers leading a large number of these families. To this day, rehabilitation efforts are being made by neighbors of Fuller Park.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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