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West Morgan Park is a part of Morgan Park.
This small south side haven of residential streets and Prairie-style bungalows offer Chicago families comfort and space, with access to the excitement of the city yet removed from the hustle bustle. Real estate in West Morgan Park varies from quaint redbrick bungalows to good-sized two-story Colonials. The few residential buildings in the neighborhood are limited to older courtyard condos and low-rise multi-unit structures. Retail business in West Morgan Park holds to antique treasures and vintage furnishings sold in quirky shops. And whether you have Irish blood or not, it's hard to ignore Chicago's strong Irish roots in West Morgan Park, seeing as the annual South Side St. Patty's Day Parade comes right through the neighborhood each year.
West Morgan Park is an eight square block neighborhood adjacent to the greater Beverly/Morgan Park community area. The neighborhood takes its name from English settler, Thomas Morgan, who owned much of the land that would one day become his namesake. When the Blue Island Land and Building Company purchased the property from Thomas Morgan’s heirs in 1869, it was their intention to develop the area for residential and commercial purposes. To this end the company donated a plot of land for the establishment of the Mount Vernon Military Academy (present day Morgan Park Academy) and even persuaded the Baptist Theological Union to relocate to the vicinity. A little side note: Among the Union’s members was William Rainey Harper who would go on to become the first president of the University of Chicago.
The streets of Morgan Park proper were designed in a style that conveyed the setting of an English country town complete with small parks, roundabouts and meandering roads. However, Morgan Park’s western section was much more attune to the typical Chicago grid layout with standard rectangle blocks and fewer cul-de-sacs. Incorporating in 1882, the tiny town enjoyed over thirty years as its own municipality before it was annexed to Chicago in 1914. This was rather late compared with most of Chicago’s towns-turned-neighborhoods and it did not come without a fight. Wishing to remain an independent community, Morgan Park’s residents resisted annexation for years but finally voted for the union on the promise of improved schools and better police and fire protection.
Today West Morgan Park is a stable neighborhood that has attracted many families to its quiet backdrop, due largely to the Beverly Area Planning Association and their annual home tour which has promoted housing and the historic preservation of the neighborhood’s Prairie-style architecture. This non-profit grassroots group of businesses and civic organizations has been working for the betterment of the Beverly/Morgan Park region for the past 60 years.
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