West Englewood’s first settlers were German and Swedish farmers. By 1920 the population of West Englewood reached 56,276 with job opportunities in the stockyard and railroads, and the number continued to grow in the 1930s as African Americans moved into the area. Between 1970 and 1980 black population jumped from forty-eight to ninety-eight percent.
The area also experienced a drop in economic prosperity, due to the closing of the Chicago Transit Authority bus barn and the loss of stockyard and railroad jobs. For the first time, West Englewood’s population began to decline. In 1990 only fourteen percent of the residents had an income of $50,000 or higher and nearly only a quarter of the population graduated from high school.
Many groups were established to address the needs of this community, including the demolition of abandoned buildings and the reparation of major streets. The West Englewood United Organization, established by three local churches, provided financial advice and assistance to homeowners and ran summer programs for local children.
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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