New City’s boundaries were drawn in the 1920s around Chicago’s stockyards. However, this large community area has never embodied a cohesive culture or community. Canaryville gained the reputation as one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city through much of the twentieth century.
The area was largely populated by Irish and the environment was greatly shaped by the stockyards and meatpacking center. Gangs aided in Canaryville’s reputation and were active in attacks against African Americans during the 1919 Race Riot. Back of the Yards contained the largest livestock yards and meatpacking center in the country until the 1950s.
While most known for Sinclair’s The Jungle and its pollution, squalor and poverty, Back of the Yards also represented a strong and cohesive working-class community that organized itself through social and labor movements. However, with the ending of the meatpacking industry in the 1960s the neighborhood has once again had to work through physical and economic deterioration with the hopes of the new manufacturing development.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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