In Avondale, you'll find yourself at home amongst beautiful new and vintage houses, green space, convenient transportation, and plenty of opportunities for recreation and fun. Community members welcome Avondale's parks as an extension of their own backyard playgrounds. Group gardening efforts, kids' camps, summertime movies in the park, and tons of other after school (or work) programs invite residents to gather together, learn new skills and stay active. The neighborhood's rich restaurant scene is also something to talk about with delicious Mexican food cafés, tasty pizza joints, quick-bite hot dog stands and popular coffee and doughnut shops. National brand name clothing stores and handy mega markets are also close by, establishing a prime location for everything you need within minutes of your front door.
Chicago's Avondale neighborhood has always been a tight-knit community, from its farm days to the urban residential site it is today. In the early nineteenth century, Avondale was all prairie land, set along an Indian trail that laid to the west of the Soo Line Railroad (originally called the Chicago/Milwaukee/St. Paul Pacific) near the Chicago River. The Indian trail was straightened out and planked in 1848 to make it the direct diagonal of Milwaukee Avenue where Avondale began to develop.
Unfortunately, the train tracks near Milwaukee Avenue had trouble keeping up with the frequent and weighty loads. The tracks were poorly made and became warped from the sun and overused, and once tollgates were added requiring people to pay for uncomfortable train rides, riders became furious. After the Chicago/Milwaukee/St. Paul tracks were extended to Milwaukee in 1870 and more stops were added, more farmers came in, including about twenty African American families, making Avondale an early ethnically diverse community. After the 1920s, Avondale welcomed many foreign-born residents, including Poles, Swedes, Germans and Austrians.
Avondale officially became a part of Chicago when the city annexed it in 1889. After that, the city put in hard-surface roads which helped recognize the town as an up-and-coming industrial and business district. Many European immigrants came to Avondale to work in the newly built factories. The electrification of transportation and the extension of the railroad also helped folks commute to jobs in the area and into the city.
After World War II, the popular Riverview Amusement Park opened up in Avondale with its parachute-drop rides and its storied rollercoaster called 'The Bobs' drawing crowds of visitors to the neighborhood for weekend fun. Riverview Park has since been shut down, but the active and enjoyable elements that once made Chicago's Avondale neighborhood a destination spot still exist.
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