St. Charles Lwanga Church at Garfield Boulevard and Wentworth
is the oldest institution in the area. When it was founded in 1869
as St. Anne's parish, this area was only sparsely populated.
In a few years, however, it was built up by railroad employees who
worked in the nearby Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific car shops.
Irish Catholics financed the present Gothic structure (1875-80).
In keeping with its status as a "boulevard church," a
limestone facade was added to the brick exterior in the 1920s. Although
the neighborhood to the east became part of Chicago's black community
after 1919, St. Anne remained a white parish until the 1940s. In
a sharp break with tradition, St. Anne parish changed its name in
1971 to reflect its identity as a black institution. The parish
commemorates St. Charles Lwanga, the first black African martyr
in the Catholic Church.
Midway Liquors building at 5500 S. State Street
was one of the first brick buildings constructed in the area following
the extension of the cable car line to 63rd Street in Englewood
in the late 1880s. State Street was the boundary line between
the towns of Lake and Hyde Park until 1889, when both areas were
annexed to Chicago. The new cable line transformed State Street
from "a succession of sand hills and mud ponds" into
one of the city's most important thoroughfares. The resulting
building boom filled up the "long sweeps of prairie"
with brick flat buildings, which in turn hastened the creation
of a modern urban neighborhood.