The Story of Armour Square
From the ‘L,’ Chicagoans might spot the Armour Square community area from the stadium lights illuminating Guaranteed Rate Field, home to the Chicago White Sox. Armour Square is located on the South Side, just a few miles south of the Loop. A city map shows that the community area is long and narrow, sitting between the Bridgeport and Douglas community areas. The northern section of Armour Square includes the Chinatown neighborhood.
During the Civil War, Armour Square was a working-class community of Germans, Irish, Italian, and Swedish immigrants, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago. Though it did not burn in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Armour Square became home to many of the people who were forced to move out of the city after new building codes requiring the use of brick made housing too expensive.
African American residents moved into Armour Square during the 20th century. Armour Square’s population expanded even more when the Chicago Housing Authority constructed the Wentworth Gardens public housing complex. By mid-century, Armour Square’s population was nearly half African American. Soon after, the construction of the Dan Ryan tore down many homes and displaced much of the population.
Today, much of the southern portion of Armour Square is occupied by Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox (read more below). The Red Line makes stops at Cermak-Chinatown and Sox-35th in Armour Square
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Neighborhood Spotlight: The White Sox
In 1900, Charles Comiskey moved his baseball team to Chicago. His team previously called Iowa and Minnesota home, where they were known as the Sioux City Cornhuskers and the St. Paul Saints, respectively. He called them the Chicago White Stockings, which was formerly the name of the Cubs, so the name was already well-established in the city. In 1901, the franchise became a major league team in the American League. In 1904, the White Stockings got their new name: the White Sox. Six years later, Comiskey built a park at 35th Street and Shields Avenue that eventually bore his name.
After 81 years at the original Comiskey Park, the Chicago White Sox built a new home right next door to the old park in 1991. Old Comiskey was torn down and is now a parking lot. The new stadium, which cost $137 million, was also named Comiskey Park before it was renamed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003. Since 2016, it has been named Guaranteed Rate Field.
Things to Do
Head to a White Sox game during baseball season and then grab a hot dog at 35th Street Red Hots.