Jefferson Park, Chicago

Jefferson Park, Chicago

Jefferson Park refers to one of Chicago's 77 well-defined community areas as well as a neighborhood located on the city's Northwest Side. The territorial discrepancy between the two stems from the fact that the neighborhood of Jefferson Park occupies a larger swath of territory than the community area by including with in it land of adjacent community areas.

Jefferson Park is bordered by the community areas of Norwood Park to the northwest, Forest Glen to the northeast, Portage Park and the suburb of Harwood Heights to the south. Although the official community area map draws the boundary between Jefferson Park and Portage Park at Lawrence, many residents consider the boundary between the two neighborhoods to be at Montrose to the south, reflected in most 'Chicago Neighborhood Maps'.


Settlement in the vicinity of Jefferson Park began in the 1830s with John Kinzie Clark and Elijah Wentworth, whose claim was near what is now the Jefferson Park Metra Station, where he operated a tavern and inn. The tiny settlement of traders, hunters, and farmers consisted of simple one and two room log cabins until Abram Gale, for whom Gale Street is named, built the first frame house in Jefferson. Jefferson Park became the hub of an independent township that was incorporated at the nearby Dickinson Tavern in 1850 until annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889. The area was once home to a significant population of Volga Germans, and one of the area's one time local landmarks was a local apartment buildings in the vicinity of the park along Higgins Avenue dubbed by locals as "the Russian Hotel".

Jefferson Park is also, appropriately enough, home to the [ The Jefferson Park Historical Society] which is dedicated to preserve the area's rich history as well as host historical events and lectures.


Jefferson Park is a predominantly middle-class neighborhood of people coming from a variety of diverse backgrounds. Like many neighborhoods on the Northwest Side of Chicago the neighborhood has a heavy Polish-American presence, and is home to the Copernicus Foundation, the Polish parish of St. Constance, as well as a host of other Polish-American organizations, institutions and businesses.

Jefferson Park is also known for having a very high number of resident city and county workers. The area is filled with the homes of Chicago Public School teachers and staff, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department as well as Cook County Sheriff officers and staff.

Jefferson Park (Chicago Park District)

Jefferson Park is a seven acre park operated by the Chicago Park District. The park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is located on the site of the Esdohr Farm.


Jefferson Park residents are served by Chicago Public Schools, which includes neighborhood and city-wide options for students. There are also a number of private parochial schools run by Roman Catholic and Lutheran congregations in the area. The Chicago Public Library operates the Jefferson Park branch for neighborhood residents.


Jefferson Park is the home of the historic Gateway Theatre a former Movie Palace that is now the seat of the Copernicus Foundation. The Gateway Theatre still serves the community today as a performing arts center, hosting numerous cultural events such as theatrical performances, film screenings and concerts throughout the year.

Jefferson Park is also home to the award-winning Gift Theatre Company, a professional theatre company located at 4802 N. Milwaukee co-founded by Jeff Park native Michael Patrick Thornton.

The neighborhood holds two large festivals annually: [ Jeff Fest] in June and Taste of Polonia over Labor day weekend.

The Taste of Polonia has brought some of the nation's most prominent political figures to Jefferson Park to woo the support of Chicago's Polish community. President George H. Bush hosted the festival in 1992 and in 2000, future Vice-President Dick Cheney as well as Tipper Gore, and Hadassah Lieberman made an appearance [ [ Quest for the Presidency: Cheney dances, rides public train 09/05/00 ] ] . Vice-President Cheney's presence was particularly notorious with coverage in the New York Times of his lively antics which included dancing the polka, serving attendees kielbasa with stuffed cabbage and addressing a cheering crowd by shouting the polish phrase Sto Lat [cite news|url=|work=The New York Times|title=The 2000 Campaign: Campaign Briefing Published|date=September 5, 2000|accessdate=2008-03-25] .


The neighborhood is serviced by the Blue Line's Jefferson Park station located on its southeastern edge next to the Kennedy Expressway at the intersection of Milwaukee, and Avondale, less than three blocks away from the Gateway Theatre and the historic Jefferson Park Congregational Church. The station is attached to a stop along the Union Pacific/Northwest (UP-NW) commuter rail line provided by Metra, previously owned by the Chicago and North Western Railway and currently operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. In 2005, a monument to Thomas Jefferson was placed along the station's entrance along Milwaukee Avenue.


Gladstone Park

Gladstone Park is a neighborhood in the northern section of the Jefferson Park official community areas of Chicago, Illinois. It is centered at the large and confusing intersection of Northwest Highway and Central, Milwaukee, and Foster Avenues. The Kennedy Expressway runs nearby as well and has an entrance from Foster Avenue. The park for which the neighborhood is named is located a few blocks to the northwest between Northwest Highway and Milwaukee, on Menard Avenue.

Gladstone Park has a stop along the Union Pacific/Northwest (UP-NW) commuter rail line provided by Metra and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad which runs through Chicago, Illinois, and its surrounding suburbs.


External links

* [ Official City of Chicago Jefferson Park Community Map]
* [ The Jefferson Park Historical Society's official website]
* Chicago Park District
** [ Jefferson Park]
** [ Gladstone Park]
** [ Foster Austin Park]
** [ Roberts Square Playlot] Geolinks-US-hoodscale|41.968611|-87.763889
* [ Encyclopedia of Chicago]
* [ A Short History of Jefferson Park]

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