The Fire of 1871 did not extend into Near South Side which, as a result, became the temporary quarters of many displaced businesses. Rapid transit was established with the construction of the Elevated Railroad in the 1890s. This was followed by apartment and hotel building and the exodus of wealthier residents.
Discrimination during the Great Migration of African Americans to Chicago confined these new residents to a narrow corridor on Chicago’s South Side referred to as the “Black Belt.” By the end of the twentieth century, most of the area’s residents lived in Chicago Housing Authority complexes.
The decline of passenger trains also left rail yards vacant. However, during the 1920s, notable redevelopment took place in the district’s edges with the construction of parks and museums. Residential growth in the South Loop also extended into the Near South Side, making areas into residential streets once again after a century.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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