Sunday, May 12, 2019

Lost Communities of Chicago - Township of Jefferson - Village of Jefferson

Early settlers named the area’s first post office for President James Monroe. The name "Monroe" was already in use in another community in Illinois that was named Monroe, so they decided to honor President Thomas Jefferson instead. 

The State formed the Township of Jefferson in Cook County, Illinois, in 1850. When the township was founded, Chicago (population 30,000) was still a walkable urban area contained within a radius of a couple of miles. By 1855, the village had 50 buildings. On August 6, 1872, they changed from the township organization to the village organization.
This region comprised most of what is now known as Chicago's Northwest Side, including the entirety of the following community areas: Jefferson Park, Avondale, Logan Square, Hermosa, Forest Glen, Dunning, Albany Park, Portage Park, Irving Park, Montclare, and Belmont-Cragin.

In 1872 Norwood Park Township was created from the northwest corner of Jefferson. In 1889, Chicago annexed the rest of the township and ceased functioning independently. Norridge, Harwood Heights, and the town of Norwood Park were all part of the Norwood Park Township that had been cut out of Jefferson Township before the rest of Jefferson Township was annexed to the city. Norwood Park would be annexed later, with the at-the-time unincorporated parts of Norwood Township (Norridge and Harwood Heights) remaining unannexed. 

A tiny bit of Norwood Park Township remains unincorporated (not part of any city or suburb, but directly under county control) along Bryn Mawr between Cumberland and Canfield.

NOTE: This was a comment from "Unknown" on Blogger. (I would have used their name if they didn't select unknown instead of their name and stuck to the facts.)

In 1889 the Village of Jefferson was annexed into the city of Chicago. Its borders were Devon Avenue on the north, Harlem Avenue on the west, Western Avenue to the east, and North Avenue to the south. It added 36 square miles of property t chicago. 

By the year of annexation, Jefferson had become active and prosperous. The Jefferson settlement was linked to the city of Chicago by the Milwaukee and Elston Plank Roads, both of which had been in operation since the 1850s. These roads had initially been Indian Trails, and they were later called the “Upper” (Milwaukee) and “Lower” (Elston) roads.  Elston got its name from Dan Elston, a former alderman and bricklayer who graded, maintained, and principally used the road. Both Milwaukee and Elston became toll roads owned by Amos Snell, and they operated until the annexation (tolls were necessary on planked roads to cover the costs of repair and maintenance). At that time, citizens burned down the toll gates in protest of first, having to pay the tolls and indignation over the extreme increase in traffic. 

Chicago Tribune, Thursday, February 9, 1888
Amos J. Snell, the West Side millionaire, was shot dead early yesterday morning by burglars in his residence, at the northwest corner of Washinton Boulevard and Ada Street. The murder was committed shortly after 2 o'clock in the morning.
The Amos J. Snell Mansion
The murder of Amos J. Snell has never been solved.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. How then did what is now the suburbs of Norridge and Harwood Heights carve themselves out of the City of Chicago?


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