Far Southwest Side
Washington Heights was populated mostly by farmers between the 1830s and the 1860s. After the 1860s railroads were built into the region and subdivision of the land soon followed. By 1891 Washington Heights was entirely annexed to the city of Chicago. By 1900 “the heights” region of Washington Heights developed into a separate settlement for higher-income residents.
This area became its own entity, renamed Beverly. Between 1920 and 1950 many brick bungalows were constructed. During this period the community was made up of mostly white ethnic groups, mainly Irish, but also including Germans and Swedes. After World War II Washington Heights experienced ethnic changes in its population as African Americans began to settle east of Halsted. “Blockbusting” efforts by real-estate agents initiated the turnover of white-owned property to African Americans.
By 1970 the population of Washington Heights was seventy percent black; by 1980 African Americans constituted ninety-eight percent of the population. Throughout these changes, Washington Heights retained its middle-class character. Washington Heights holds the Woodson Branch of the Chicago Public Library, which has the second-largest collection of American history and literature in the Midwest.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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