The Story of Logan Square
Large mansions and old trees line Logan Square’s grassy boulevards, and several parks fill its boundaries. Currently one of the more racially and ethnically diverse community areas in Chicago, the community area continues to grapple with gentrification.
Before it was part of the city, the area that would become Logan Square was prairieland that was eventually bought up by private landowners. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, in the mid-1800s, railroads starting operating through Logan Square, and industry began to pop up as the neighborhood developed. Because the community was outside of the city’s fire limits at the time, the immigrant population grew after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, since they were able to build homes with more affordable materials.
Logan Square grew with various immigrant populations throughout the 20th century and by the 1990s, it was mostly Latinx. Gentrification is now a big topic in the community. As artists and young professionals moved into the area and rehabbed the old greystones and sprawling mansions along the boulevards, property values shot up. The popular 606 trail has also been a draw to young professionals and families.
According to a 2017 report from the University of Illinois at Chicago, “Since 2000, Logan Square has experienced a significant amount of gentrification, losing more [Latinx] residents than any other community area in the city.” More than 19,000 Latinx residents left the neighborhood from 2000 to 2014, while the non-Hispanic white population increased by approximately 10,000 residents. However, Hispanic residents still account for more than 43 percent of the neighborhood population, according to data from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Latinx culture remains central to the identity of Logan Square.
The Western, California, and Logan Square Blue Line stops serve the community.
Neighborhood Spotlight: Illinois Centennial Monument
Where Logan Boulevard meets Kedzie Boulevard stands a solitary, 67-foot-tall, Doric column topped by an eagle. The Illinois Centennial Monument is located in Logan Square Park, a small park at the center of a complicated intersection right near the Logan Square Blue Line stop. The monument marks the northwest section of the city’s 26-mile boulevard system, which is made up of 8 parks, 19 boulevards, and 6 squares.
Built in 1918, the monument was designed by Henry Bacon, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Its purpose was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Illinois becoming a state. The eagle atop the column is a nod to the Illinois state flag. In addition to the Doric column and eagle, relief sculptures are carved at the base. Designed by Evelyn Longman, they depict Hiawatha and Daniel Boone, among others.