Go to the Digital Library top page!

Social Studies

Click here to go to introduction.

Table of Contents > Chapter 10

Grand Boulevard — Washington Park (continued)

Among the newcomers to Grand Boulevard in the 1890s were a large number of Irish Catholics. Irish immigrants had lived west of State Street since the 1860s, and they had formed three parishes. St. Anne (1869) at 55th and Wentworth, St. Elizabeth (1881) at 41st and Wabash, and St. Cecilia (1885) at 45th and Wells. Although St. Elizabeth's included wealthy families who lived along Wabash, Michigan, and Indiana Avenues, the congregation was predominantly working class. Indeed, the majority of contributors to a new Gothic church in 1892 lived in frame cottages on Armour (Federal), Dearborn, and State Streets.

Like their Jewish neighbors in Grand Boulevard , second-generation Irish were eager to put their imprint on the neighborhood (See Fig. 1). In 1901 Corpus Christi parish was formed to serve Catholic families who lived east of Indiana Avenue (See Fig. 2). This new congregation included Irish-American families who had moved south from the old parishes of St. John and St James as well as former residents of the stockyards district. For example, in 1900 Tom Gahan, a well-known political figure "Back of the Yards," moved to a mansion at 4619 S. Grand Boulevard, thereby becoming one of Corpus Christi's earliest benefactors.

Grand Boulevard's location and the availability of vacant land made it an attractive area for institutions as well as residences. Between 1890 and 1910 important social service agencies and schools constructed new buildings in the neighborhood. Among the institutions to relocate in Grand Boulevard from the Near South Side were the Erring Women's Refuge (1890) at 5024 S. Indiana, the Chicago Orphan Asylum (1899) at 5120 S. Grand Boulevard, the Chicago Home for the Friendless (1897) at 5059 S. Vincennes, and St. Francis Xavier Academy and College (1901) at 49th and Cottage Grove.

In addition to supporting the work of the Chicago Home for Jewish Orphans and Aged Jews at 62nd and Drexel in nearby Woodlawn, Jewish families in Grand Boulevard contributed to such charitable and social institutions as Resthaven, 4401 S. Grand Boulevard; the Deborah Boys Club, 4720 S. Grand Boulevard; the Miriam Club, 4501 S. Forrestville; and the Ruth Club, 6001 S. Indiana. Catholic charitable institutions included the Chicago Industrial School for Girls (1899) at 4910 S. Prairie and St. Joseph Home for the Aged (1894) at 5148 S. Prairie.

« previous 4 of 14 next »

Figure 1: From 1912 to 1944, Sinai Temple dominated the southwest corner of 46th and Grand Boulevard (King Drive). »

Figure 2: Corpus Christi Church, southwest corner 49th and Grand Boulevard, c. 1920. »

Need help searching?
Search help

Search eCUIP:

Examples: or
Contact eCUIP!

Need help?

Return to the eCUIP top page!