Settled by Dutch immigrants in the 1840s, Roseland was originally called “High Prairie” (“de hooge prairie” in Dutch) for its setting, which was slightly higher than their previous settlement in current-day South Holland.
An agrarian community for several decades, Roseland gained its current name due to the neat appearance and flower gardens of its inhabitants. It stayed bucolic until the advent of the nearby Pullman Factory and the major boom in industrial jobs that helped neighborhoods like Roseland to flourish as middle-class communities through the first half of the 20th century. But when the steel and auto industry jobs faded, Roseland’s economic fate was intertwined, and the area has struggled to recover.
Roseland’s history also includes a difficult and even violent period of race relations and integration. When eight African-American families moved into veterans’ housing in the Fernwood Park neighborhood in 1947, a white mob showed up, a three-day race riot ensued, and 1,000 police offers were required to restore order.