The Story of Lakeview and Wrigleyville
Lakeview (sometimes also spelled Lake View) has worn many geographical hats since the 1800s. It has taken the form of a large township, a proper city, and now one of the official 77 community areas of Chicago. Originally considered a suburb of Chicago, Illinois officially incorporated it as Lake View Township in 1857 and as a city in 1887. It was officially annexed by Chicago in 1889, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago.
Watch: Wrigley Field
From then on, the area rapidly became urbanized, sped up by the construction of Wrigley Field (originally named Weeghman Park). Built in 1914 on the site of a former seminary on Clark and Addison streets by Charles Weeghman, Wrigley Field has created a devout following of its own. Weeghman originally built the park for the Federal League Chicago Whales, but brought in the Cubs in 1916.
The Wrigley family purchased the team in 1920, and the surrounding neighborhood has since been dubbed Wrigleyville. “Cubs Win” flags, which sport a solitary, bold “W,” line the storefronts not just in Lakeview, but all over Chicago’s North Side – especially after the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, breaking their 108-year drought. Since becoming owners of the team in 2009, the Ricketts family has invested more than a half billion dollars to renovate the ballpark and surrounding plaza, changing the look of the area surrounding Wrigley Field, according to a 2018 WTTW News report. Wrigleyville now features rooftop bars, sleek hotels, and other shiny, new buildings.
According to recent data, Lakeview is the most populous community area in the city with over 100,000 residents. Today, it has many young residents. The Red, Brown, and Purple lines run through Lakeview, with stops at Sheridan, Addison, Belmont, Wellington, Diversey, Southport, and Paulina. Lakeview is also made up of a series of smaller neighborhoods, including the Southport corridor, Lakeview East, West Lakeview, Wrigleyville, and Boystown.
Neighborhood Spotlight: Boystown
Bronze pylons with their signature rainbow-colored rings flank North Halsted Street in the heart of Boystown. The neighborhood acquired its nickname in the 1980s as gay bars began to pop up on Halsted, and more gay men moved to the community following the previous two decades of increasing gay activism. Boystown became a cultural center for Chicago’s LGBTQ community, as well as the center of the gay rights movement, particularly during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
In 1997, the Daley administration declared Boystown an official “gay village,” becoming the first to be designated as such in the United States. The 25-foot, bronze pylons were installed a year later as part of The Legacy Walk, a half-mile stretch with plaques commemorating LGBTQ leaders, such as James Baldwin and Alvin Ailey, and important events such as the Stonewall Riots and the Harlem Renaissance. Today, rainbow banners and crosswalks also guide the way up Halsted alongside shops and popular gay bars, such as Sidetrack, Progress, and Roscoe’s.
The Chicago Pride Parade is the neighborhood’s signature event. It astarted as small march in 1970 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In recent years, the parade has attracted more than 1 million spectators annually.
Things to Do
Try Korean-style fried chicken or the huge Buddha bowls at Crisp on Broadway, or head to Southport Avenue to the historic Music Box Theatre, where you can catch indie movies or your favorite films in 70 millimeter.