Mount Greenwood, on Chicago’s far southwest side, was named by George Waite in 1879 when he received an 80-acre land grant from the state. Waite didn’t waste time trying to come up with some fancy title for his newly acquired property—he simply called it Mount Greenwood—the first part referring to the ridge that runs through the neighborhood, and the second part describing the trees that topped this ridge. Makes sense.
But the area was not only known as Mount Greenwood, it was also cleverly nicknamed by locals 'Seven Holy Tombs,' which referred to the several cemeteries that surrounded the community—which happened to be eight in number, not seven…um, okay. Anyway, as a result of the many funerals passing through Mount Greenwood, taverns and restaurants cropped up to serve mourners. At the start of the 20th century pro-temperance movement, Protestant groups tried to make Mount Greenwood dry. Their crusade officially ended when Mount Greenwood incorporated as a town in 1907 and elected to remain 'wet.' Mount Greenwood enjoyed two decades as its own township, but was voted into annexation with Chicago in 1927. Like many other communities annexed to Chicago, Mount Greenwood was hoping this new union would provide the community with better public services. It did eventually, but it would be another 10 years before sewers and paved streets arrived in the area and even longer for street curbs and gutters.
Mount Greenwood was settled by German and Dutch farmers in the late 1800s, who were later followed by European immigrants from Scandinavia, the British Isles and Poland. The neighborhood experienced great population growth during the post-WWII baby boom. This led to a rise in demand for residential housing, and the increase in the number of families created the need for more parks and schools during the 1950s and’60s. A lacking industrial base in the area failed to sustain the neighborhood’s labor demand, however, and the population began a decline that would last throughout the 1970s and’80s. These days Mount Greenwood remains a blue-collar community that happens to be home to a number of Chicago’s finest—city police officers and firefighters—making it a safe and secure community for many Chicago families.