McKinley Park was annexed to Chicago in 1863. Many industries relocated to McKinley Park due to the fire of 1871. By 1876, eleven new factories and twenty-seven brickyards opened. During this time meatpacking operations also developed, resulting in a strong working-class community that still exists to this day.
The packinghouses polluted the environment by dumping wastes directly into the Chicago River, to the point that the river became known as “Bubbly Creek”. Although industries created pollution, they also created job opportunities, resulting in population growth during the 1870s as Irish, German, Sweden, English, and native-born Americans moved into the area. The Central Manufacturing District was started in 1905 on a 265-acre industrial park.
Other giant industries operated in this region, including Pepsi-Cola, the Wrigley Company, and the Chicago Sun-Times. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a sixty-nine acre park was created that was named for President McKinley after his assassination, which has led to the naming of the entire community. In the 1990s Mexicans moved into the area and new infill housing began to be built. The CTA rapid transit stations were built in the area, which has spurred development of shops and also increased property values.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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