Buena Park is a part of Uptown.
More than a sub-neighborhood of Uptown Buena Park is a full-fledged, self-sufficient community that has perfected the art of active lakeside living. A waterfront golf course, public beach, off-leash dog park and protected boat harbor are all within walking distance of your front door, not to mention amazing restaurants, happening bars and reputable theaters. Of course the warmer weather months are when things are really swinging in Buena Park. Folks can't resist Lake Michigan's draw — sun, sand and surf — a relaxing vacation spot located right in Chicago. But even when the wind bites at your nose and the beach is deserted, Buena Park bumps up the coziness with lots of comfy coffee houses, belly-warming eateries and welcoming neighborhood pubs.
Although many lump Chicago's Buena Park neighborhood in with Uptown, Buena Park is considered a neighborhood all its ownâ€”a small residential nook located within the larger umbrella region of Uptown. It has its own unique identity and history and, in fact, the development of Buena Park actually predates that of Uptown.
The area now known as Buena Park originally began as a suburb of Chicago when wealthy Chicagoans started building homes there during the 1870s. One of those wealthy residents was Robert A. Waller, a prominent real estate developer. Waller contributed to the expansion of the suburb in 1887 when he subdivided his considerable property and offered it up for residential growth. For his role in Buena Park's progression, Waller is considered the neighborhood's founder.
In 1889 Chicago annexed the developing area. The Northwestern Railroad came to Uptown a year later, bringing with it the development of large apartment buildings and an influx of people to a region that had previously been only sparsely populated by immigrant farmers. While Uptown continued to flourish for the next three generations as a popular entertainment destination, Buena Park thrived as a residential haven for middle and upper classes seeking proximity to Uptown's spotlight, while staying out of its harsh glare.
After the economic boom of the 1920s came the bust. The aftermath of World War II led to a severe housing shortage and as a result Buena Park's stately houses and apartment buildings were broken up into small, inexpensive living units. The area was in severe decline until it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Since then, efforts have been made to restore Buena Park's former architectural glory through upscale renovations and restorations.
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