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Dream Town Realty


West Chatham
Real Estate and Neighborhood Information

West Chatham Overview

Close to several main transportation arteries and home to a thriving middle class, West Chatham is experiencing a modest boom of affordable housing and development. The bulk of West Chatham's residences consists of one- and two-story houses, traditional brick bungalows and split-levels, with some three-flats thrown in the mix. Eating out in this south side Chicago neighborhood is a casual affair. Residents can order a pie from the local pizzeria or get carryout at the old-fashion drive-thru. The community park, fieldhouse and playlot in West Chatham supply enough green space and recreation opportunities to suffice the interests and activity level of any resident, whether you fancy a game of basketball or want to learn some fancy footwork with dance lessons.

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West Chatham History

Like much of the area on Chicago’s south side, the land where West Chatham neighborhood now exists was just swamp in the early 1800s. This marshy region known as 'Mud Lake' in its pre-settled days was a prime spot for duck hunting, and not much else. But in the 1860s, as the swamp and marshlands were drained, farmers began moving into the western edge of Chatham providing the basis for what would eventually develop into West Chatham neighborhood. The laying of the Illinois Central Railroad track in the 1870s brought the first industrial development to the area and by the turn of the century steel mills followed, as did European immigrants who provided labor. Italian, Hungarian and Irish railroad workers moved into Chatham proper and before long Swedes joined the mix, occupying the great number of bungalows springing up throughout the area. By the end of the 1920s, the population had expanded to over 36,000.

In 1950, the number of African American residents in West Chatham was only one percent. In the 1960s, however, the black population grew to over 60 percent by the end of the decade. Unlike many south side Chicago neighborhoods, the transition from a largely white-European populace to a majority of African American families was a relatively smooth one. While some white civic leaders preferred to keep the neighborhood white, no one wanted the violence that segregation was bringing to many other communities and cities across the country. So instead the neighborhood’s churches welcomed the new residents into their congregation. In addition, many highly successful African-American owned businesses took root here such as the makers of Ultra Sheen hair care products and several banks including what, until the mid 1990s, was the largest black-owned bank in the country, Independent Bank of Chicago. Eventually, most of the remaining residents of European descent left West Chatham and today the thriving neighborhood is predominately African American.

The Sights of West Chatham

West Chatham Neighborhood Photo
West Chatham Neighborhood Photo
West Chatham Neighborhood Photo
West Chatham Neighborhood Photo
West Chatham Neighborhood Photo

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Surrounding Neighborhoods

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