The Chicago Historical Society was founded in 1856 to study Chicago’s history. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed the original building on Dearborn and Ohio. In 1930, the society moved to its current location at the corner of Clark and North, where the Chicago History Museum stands as a research center and public museum.
Lincoln Park was originally Lakeside Public Cemetery, intended to bury victims of smallpox and cholera. In 1860, it became Lake Park, and was renamed Lincoln Park to commemorate President Lincoln after his assassination. In 1869, the park expanded to the North and South and the remains were relocated.
The park was updated again in 1904 and Café Brauer, designed by Dwight H. Perkins, was built. In the 1930’s, the park was inducted into the Chicago Park District. Over time, Old Victorian Lily Pond, a Chicago Historical Landmark, designed by Alfred Caldwell; bridges; comfort stations; and beach houses were added.
The last extension was completed in the 1950s, when it expanded by 1,208 acres, making it the largest park in Chicago. Six bathing beaches, three boating harbors, a golf course, driving range, dozens of sculptures and monuments, a conservatory, and gardens were added.
The statue “Lincoln, the Man," by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands in the south section of Lincoln Park. It interprets the former president “burdened with the responsibilities of the hour," said Frederic Lauriston Bullard, minister and Lincoln scholar. Saint-Gaudens used a cast of the a life mask made by sculptor Leonard Wells Volk, who made the cast of Lincoln in 1860 in his studio off Clark.
There are many copies of the sculpture, including one in London. There are five other Lincoln statues in Chicago, including another at the far north end of the LAUT.
Formerly Lincoln Park's administrative headquarters, the Lincoln Park Cultural Center building was built in 1927 by O’Neil Construction and designed by Edwin Hill Clark, who designed several homes, both full size and otherwise- he worked on the Thorne Miniature Rooms housed at the Art Institute- and several Lincoln Park Zoo buildings. It officially became the Cultural Center in 1965.
The Lincoln Avenue Row House District building , built in 1875, holds four row houses. According to the building's plaque: "They were built with front facades of Joliet limestone, a local-quarried building stone that was popular in the 19th century Chicago." Today, these row houses are still private homes.
In 1974, 13 acres of land were set aside for the future Oz Park, named in 1976 in honor of author L. Frank Baum, who lived near the site around 1891. In the 1990’s, the Oz Park advisory council commissioned John Kearney to make the park's Tin Man sculpture and, later, the Lion.
Despite popular belief, Dorothy’s Play Lot was not named after Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, but after Dorothy Malamerson, a local teacher. Ms. Malamerson made significant donations to support children’s physical well-being.
For the 100th anniversary of the book, the park held the “Celebration of the Wizard of Oz”, with readings costumes, games, and prizes. Since there is no field house, all indoor activities are held inside Lincoln Park High School. In return, Lincoln Park High School uses Oz Park for all outdoor sporting events.
Oz Park hosts movies in the summer and a pumpkin patch in the fall.
The Kaufmann Store and Flats building was designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan and originally housed a bakery According to the building's plaque: "It illustrates the type of design that Sullivan later developed in such frames structures as the auditorium and Carson Prairie Scott & Co." Today it houses a restaurant and an interior design store.
St. Pauls has been in Lincoln Park since 1898, after the congregation's original site burned in the Great Fire, but that building was destroyed by a second fire in 1955. In addition to the church's long history in the city, its name reflects both Chicago's German American community and the city's sometimes complicated relationship with its immigrant populations. You can read the story at Saint Pauls site (see 3rd to last paragraph): https://www.spucc.org/about-us/st-pauls-history.
The McCormick row houses were built between 1882 and 1889 by the McCormick Theological Seminary, a 190 year old institution still located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, as rental properties. They were designated a Chicago Landmark in 1977.
Just about a block off Lincoln Avenue is DePaul University's Art Museum. Although currently closed due to the pandemic, there are currently installations at the front window as well as other upcoming outdoor installations. The museum focuses on contemporary art and has rotating exhibits all year long.
Taste of Lincoln Avenue is an annual Wrightwood neighborhood fundraiser which began in 1984. The two day summer celebration between Fullerton and Wrightwood draws 50,000 visitors a year. The event features food and craft vendors, live music, and a carnival area for children.
In 2019, the event took place on July 27th and July 28th. It is located on Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood.
In 1912, 2424 Lincoln was "Fullerton Theatre". Since then, it has twice more been a theater as well as a garage. In 1934, during the incident at another LAUT site, the Biograph Theatre, FBI agents were stationed there to help prevent John Dillinger's escape. Lincoln Hall today hosts diverse shows.
The Biograph Theater is the oldest remaining neighborhood movie houses. The land was bought in 1912 and the building built in 1914. Samuel N. Crowen, the architect, included a storefront lobby, recessed entrance, free standing ticket booth, and canopy marquee.
On July 22, 1934, it received national recognition due to the killing of John Dillinger, a bank robber who fled to Chicago and got plastic surgery to hid from the police. This worked for a while, but he eventually met Anna Sage, an undercover FBI agent disguised as a prostitute. On July 22nd, they went to theater and were met by police. He was killed in the alley behind the theater.
While much of Lincoln Ave is historic, the year 1886 isn't stamped on a whole lot of Chicago buildings. The John Hufmeyer building at 2770 Lincoln bears just such a stamp in stone, commemorating the erection of the building and the Chicago business and tradesman who owned it. It was designed by Charles Hermann, who also designed several other sites in the city. Hufmeyer is buried in Graceland Cemetery, which houses the remains of many well-known Chicagoans and can be found just a 30 minute walk east off the trail.
Father Essing purchased five acres of land in 1882 in the Lakeview neighborhood for a new church and chose St. Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorist Fathers, as the patron saint.
The original church, designed by Adam Boos, stood where the Athenaeum Theater is now. Father Max Leimgruber became the first pastor in 1885. In his two years, he baptized 1,091, performed 130 marriages, and confirmed 393.
In 1889, with more than 800 families registered, the parish needed a larger church. By 1897, a new location was selected and the first day of its attached school was in September 1892 with 70 students. Over the next few years. it expanded to over 1000 students, creating a need for a new building, built in 1903.
The Athenaeum was added in 1911 as a recreational area for scouts, students, faculty, and parishioners. In 1939, the Athenaeum burnt down and later rebuilt. Eleven years later the main church caught on fire, reopening two years later.
Walking up Lincoln Ave, your eye might catch on the dramatic façade of the Cinema Lofts, just a few steps off the diagonal at 1635 Belmont. Like several other sites on the LAUT, Cinema Lofts' building was once a theater and cinema: the Belmont Theatre, which opened in September 1926, and The Belmont. Built in the 1920s and designed by W.W. Ahlschlager, the building was converted to a bowling alley in the 60s, closed in the 80s, and demolished, with the exception of its eye-catching façade, in 1996.
The former Marshfield Trust and Savings Bank is a 1920s "terra-cotta clad [Classical Revival style] flat-iron building makes most of its triangular building lot...The building contractor was Avery Brundage, who went on to be president of the international Olympic Committee." The building today has a dance studio on the first floor.
Sulzer Library and Wells Park sit across the street from each other just north of Montrose.
Sulzer was named after Conrad Sulzer, an early Lakeview Township settler. The building was designed by firm Hammond, Beeby and Babka in 1985, the same firm that designed the Harold Washington Library.
Wells Park offers a wide variety of activities, including indoor and outdoor basketball courts, baseball, soccer, tennis courts, horse shoe, chess, a playground, indoor pool, gym, weight room, and a seniors club. It was one of the five parks created by the Lincoln Park Commission in 1910. A small field house was built in 1915 and later replaced in 1970. Abe Saperstein, the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, started his career as a basketball coach at Wells Park in the 1920’s.
The Old Town School of Folk Music first opened in December 1957 on 33 North Avenue. Over 150 students attended weekly guitar and banjo classes. Dancing and singing classes were also offered. Many famous artists have performed there, such as Pete Seeger.
During the 1960’s the school continued to grow and taught Roger McGuinn, Bob Gibson, and many others. In 1968 it moved to 909 West Armitage.
In 1987, the school was awarded the Beatrice Foundation Award for Excellence. In the 1990s the school needed more space and moved to the former Hild Library, located on Lincoln Avenue. The new school building was dedicated on September 18, 1998, with a concert by Joni Mitchell and Peter Yarrow.
Today the program averages nearly 6,600 students per week. The school continues to provide hundreds classes in music, dance and art, offering free concerts on most Wednesdays.
The Krause Music store is a National Historic landmark building. In 1921, William Krause chose architect William Presto to design a building that would serve both as a music store and apartment complex. What makes the building a Historic Landmark is the work done by Luis Sullivan. This building was his last commissioned work. He added a beautiful green terra cotta façade, giving the building a unique look.
The building was completed in 1922. The store sold pianos, sheet music, and was one of the first stores to sell radios. Unfortunately, during the height of The Great Depression, Krause committed suicide in the apartment on the second floor. His widowed wife rented and then sold the building to a funeral parlor, which was there for 60 years.
In 1977, the building was recognized as a historic landmark. In 2006, the building was purchased by Studio V Design, and they restored the façade and interior.
The Pershing Theatre was built in 1918 by Walter Ahlschlager and renamed the Davis Theatre in the 1930s. Now both a historical landmark (as of 2016) and community center, the Davis Theatre has adapted once again with its "pop-up" drive-in at 1684 N Throop St., helping keep viewers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lincoln Square Deutsch Amerikanischer National Kongress chapter purchased the Western Ave. building in 1967. It was originally designed by Paul Gerhardt in 1927 as the Three Links Lodge. Currently, the center hosts a school, the historic Chicago Brauhaus restaurant remodeled as the Brauhaus Room, the Scharpenberg art gallery, and museum, as well as events year-round to promote German culture and Chicago's German-American community.
Near Lincoln Square stands a second Lincoln Avenue statue of the president it is named for,titled "Chicago's Lincoln." The statue was sculpted by Dr. Avard Fairbanks, and unveiled in 1956.
Lincoln Square is an island at the intersection at the intersection Lincoln, Lawrence, and Western. Between entrances marked by arches, there are many shops and a fountain in the center.
"In 1885, Henry Palmblad spoke to an assembly. His speech was the beginning of the Hospital. It opened April 1, 1886, and was dedicated June 26, 1886.
It was originally a one-story frame dwelling located at Bowmanville, Illinois. The new hospital was dedicated in 1903 and construction of new and better units continued through the decades. It celebrated its 75th anniversary on June 26, 1961.
The Hospital pioneered the use of X-Ray treatment for cancer.
Before the hospital, this area was occupied by Archaic Indians from 6000-3000 B.C.; underwater during the Nipissing stage until about 1500 B.C., re-occupied by early woodland and upper Mississippi Indians until modem times. A village of 750 Miami Indians and a French Jesuit mission station existed here in the 17th century.
In 1885, the Swedish Evangelic Mission Covenant purchased the site to establish a home of mercy. At the time the land was purchased, the area was known as the city of Bowmanville. It remained the city of Bowmanville until July 15, 1889, when it was annexed to the city of Chicago." (original Chicago Lincoln Avenue Trail guide)
The Islamic Center of Chicago was founded in 1987 and today hosts a mosque, with daily prayer service; weekly and summer schools as well as an elementary school; and Islamic events and celebrations.
Unless otherwise indicated, the history of these locations was researched at the Chicago Historical Society. Key references include Chicago Politics, Ward By Ward, by David K. Fremon; Chicago Sculptures, by James L. Riedy; The Encyclopedia of Chicago, by James R. Grossman; The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago's Parks, by Julia S. Bachrach; The National Register of Historic Places; and The City of Chicago's List of Landmarks.