BC: Badillo, David A. "Humboldt Park." Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society, 2005. Web. 6 Apr. 2012.
FC: Humboldt | Park
1: Humboldt Park is located on the Northwest side of Chicago and is bordered by Armitage Ave. to the north, Western Ave. to the east, Chicago Ave. to the south, and Pulaski Road to the west.
2: Humboldt Park, the actual park and not the neighborhood, was named after naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt. Thereafter, the Humboldt Park neighborhood adopted its name from this infamous and 207-acre park.
3: Thanks to the arrival of the street railway in 1886 and the Elevated Railway in the 1890s, Humboldt Park became more accessible (during a time when park side communities were gaining popularity).
4: First in Humboldt Park's list of ethnic succession were the Danish and Norwegians that arrived during the 1880s and 90s when the downtown business district expanded. Near the end of the 19th century, it was the Scandinavians and Polish immigrants. Italians, Russian Jews, and Germans later appeared during the 1920s and 30s to take advantage of the new housing. | Leif Erikson statue built by the Scandinavian community of Humboldt Park.
5: It was in the 1950s when Humboldt Park began to be inhabited by Puerto Ricans; many of them had immigrated from Puerto Rico while others had been displaced when gentrification occurred in other neighborhoods. In the 1960s, the much of the Jewish community moved northward to North Park and Albany Park. With ample housing remaining, Puerto Ricans began to heavily move into the area from West Town as ethnic succession continued. | Remnants of the Jewish community in Humboldt Park can be observed from the numerous abandoned synagogues.
6: Popular between 1900-1920, two-flat houses, one-and two-story frame buildings, and brick bungalows were common in Humboldt Park. Depending on the community living there at the time, housing was adapted to facilitate that group's needs and preferences.
8: Many organizations that work toward social change and benefits for the residents of Humboldt Park emerged in the “1966 Division Street Riots”. These riots started with the shooting of a young Puerto Rican man by police during the first downtown Puerto Rican Parade. The underlying causes were poor living conditions and incoming African Americans. In the following years, Humboldt Park has worked for better social services and demanded the end to police brutality.
9: During the 1980s, immigrants of Mexican origin began to infiltrate Humboldt Park and became one of the largest Latino populations in the neighborhood. By 2000, 48 percent of Humboldt Park's population was Latinos. Since then, the neighborhood has welcomed African Americans and has seen the arrival of many Dominican immigrants.
10: The Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness: This organization is a coalition of individuals devoted to improving the health in the Humboldt Park community. The eight main focuses are asthma, active lifestyle, behavioral health, diabetes, health careers, HIV/AIDS, oral health, and school health. The Community of Wellness is also very concerned about the safety of youth in Humboldt Park. They work with community leaders to help improve safety conditions. The Community of Wellness has many funders such as Norwegian American Hospital, Northwestern University, Public Health, and many more. This is probably one of the largest and most progressive organizations in Humboldt Park.
11: Puerto Rican Cultural Center: Humboldt Park is home to many Puerto Ricans and the annual Puerto Rican parade. The Puerto Rican Cultural Center is an educational place where people of all ages can come to learn about Puerto Rican history, but they also offer activities, classes, and events. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the social and cultural needs of the areas Puerto Rican and Latino citizens. All the programs at PRCC encourage the participants to think about and engage in their social responsibility. PRCC helps deal with many social problems that affect the Humboldt Park area such as illiteracy, poor education, poor housing, homophobia, drug addiction, gang violence, teen pregnancy, police brutality, racism, and forms of human rights violations. Also, they help create a safe place for youth in Humboldt Park but also service people of all ages.
12: West Humboldt Park Development Council: WHPDC’s mission is to empower everyday citizens to take part in bettering their community and take ownership in their community. In order to combat crime, poverty, and unemployment, they try and get citizens involved in programs for improving employment skills, civic activities, and financial planning programs. WHPDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the people of Humboldt Park. They worked with the community to develop the First Community Land Trust of Chicago in 1992. They continuously work with the community to design long-term approaches in bettering the community. WHPDC helps create educational programs and is connected to many programs for youth such as Kelley Hall YMCA and Graffiti Zone.
14: "It's a great place to live...as long as you don't walk through the park or an alley late at night. But that's the same with the rest of the city. You have to be street smart." -Hector Garcia (Humboldt Park Resident) | "I think it's a wonderful ethnic community. The houses are to die for, but there's a lot of talk about gentrification, but I don't want to see the Puerto Ricans leave. They're what make the community so special and unique. It's their neighborhood and second home." -James Wartz (Humboldt Park Resident/Self-Proclaimed Yuppie)
15: "There's always a lot to do around the neighborhood. I know its gotten a bad rep, but thats been changing lately. There are also lots of yuppies moving into the area and there are more Starbucks then ever before." -Melissa Alicea (Humboldt Park Resident)
16: Humboldt Park continues to be known for its Puerto Rican culture and institutions. Recent attempts at gentrification, such as the buying and renovating of houses and stores by upper/middle-income persons to improve property values that displaces low-income families and small businesses has occurred and remains an issue. Nonetheless, the Latino population is adamant about maintaining their neighborhood.
17: Throughout its history, Chicago has displaced its communities of color to less desirable sections of the city through ethnic succession. Contrary to this pattern, the Humboldt Park neighborhood has served as the epicenter of Puerto Rican cultural production and affirmation. With a myriad of festivities, commemorative events, symbols, monuments, and grassroots organizations, Puerto Ricans have established their own piece of home in Humboldt Park and intend to keep it that way. Truly, this neighborhood rings true to Mike Royko's concept of an ethnic republics.