Monday, December 24, 2018

The White Birch Forest at Lunt and Ashland in 1900, Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois.

Rogers Park News-Herald, June 29, 1900.

By the turn of the 20th century, a lot of Rogers Park lakefront was still Birch and Oak Forests which, not surprisingly, gave its name to Birchwood Avenue. The subdivision of Birchwood Beach extended from Birchwood Avenue south to Touhy Avenue for about 1/2 mile and west to the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad tracks (today's CTA Red Line) in the Rogers Park community of Chicago.

At the rate the native birch trees are dying out and getting cut down it won't be long before the great forest will become extinct.
The Birch Forest extended from about Birchwood Avenue south to Touhy Avenue, about 1/2 mile, and west to just west of where Sheridan Road is today, in the Rogers Park community of Chicago, ca.1900.
Dr. Ward Green Klarke, interviewed in November of 1927.
While I did not come to Rogers Park to live until 1906, I remember coming to the district as early as 1884 to hunt. Ducks found Rogers Park a good lighting place and we came here for the excellent hunting to be found. At that time there were no cross streets between Pratt and Touhy Avenues. I remember when Carter Harrison was mayor and Sheridan Road was improved from a sandy stretch to a cinder path. That was in 1894 and the time of the bicycle craze, and people riding their bikes used to venture north of Devon Avenue because the wooded land was beautiful.
White Birch Woods in the Rogers Park community of Chicago, Illinois.
Then the Birchwood District was covered with white birch and now (in 1927) you cannot find one in the whole of Rogers Park.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 
Accounts from Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society 


  1. I grew up in Rogers Park in the '60's and am amazed that, not long before then, most of the area was undeveloped. These articles are really informative. Thanks for sharing them!

  2. Does anyone have any clue why these folks dressed up and went to the woods for a photo? Easter Egg Hunt or something of that nature?

  3. The Birch tree “forest” was designed and maintained by native peoples as a resource.


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