Bronzeville Real Estate
Although not an officially defined Chicago neighborhood, Bronzeville has been creating a lot of positive buzz. It covers most of the Douglas, Oakland, and Grand Boulevard areas; some people feel it extends southward into the Washington Park neighborhood. Most would agree that Bronzeville is generally bounded by 26st Street on the north, 51st Street on the south, Cottage Grove on the east, and State Street on the west. Bronzeville holds a vast array of rehabbed (or waiting to be rehabbed) structures and new residential buildings. It also has a fascinating history.
Until the early 20th century, the area that came to be called Bronzeville developed in much the same way as the rest of Chicago's South Side. King Drive (then called South Parkway) held imposing mansions, and the side streets had solid, middle-class housing. Beginning in about 1900, large numbers of African-Americans migrated from the south to Chicago, lured by industrial jobs. Restrictions (unofficial, but very real) limited these migrants to living in the area of Bronzeville, first called the "Black Belt." A full-scale economic and social framework developed, almost a "city within a city." African-American owned and operated banks, stores, life insurance companies, even cosmetic companies prospered to serve these black customers. The Chicago Bee and Chicago Defender newspapers covered the area. Music and jazz clubs flourished. "Black Metropolis" was another frequently-used name for the area. Musician Louis Armstrong, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, pilot Bessie Coleman, writer Richard Wright, and civil-rights activist Ida B. Wells typified the varied notables who at one time or another lived in Bronzeville.
At the same time, the population of the racially constricted area was straining its capabilities. Houses and apartments were subdivided to hold more people. Overcrowding became common. In 1941, the City built a gigantic housing project and named it after Ida B. Wells. This was followed by other massive high-rise projects, most notably Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens. All served to geographically contain blacks. They also concentrated poverty and fostered hopelessness. And gradually the City admitted they had been a mistake. By 2007, all had been demolished.
Housing in Bronzeville
Today Bronzeville is bustling with housing rehabilitation and new development. Renovation of vintage single-family houses, 2-flats to 6-flats, and larger courtyard buildings continues at an astounding pace. Construction of new houses, rowhouses, and condo buildings is taking place both on in-fill lots and on the vast empty tracts left by demolitions. Residents appreciate Bronzeville's proximity to the lake, the Loop, Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and McCormick Place. And Bronzeville, once again popular, offers them every sort of housing choice.
The City of Chicago has designated as a landmark a collection of nine structures that remain from the glory days of early 20th-century "Black Metropolis." All are clustered near 35th and Michigan, the heart of the area. Bronzeville is still rich with original residential buildings. The Calumet-Giles-Prairie District (3100 to 3500 south) contains an outstanding collection of vintage homes, as does the Washington Park Court District. And the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Roloson Houses, at 3313-19 S. Calumet Avenue, are world famous.
Bronzeville Single Family Homes
Bronzeville Condos / Townhomes
Bronzeville Multi-Family Homes
Other Neighborhood Information
Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Kenwood, South Loop, South Shore and Woodlawn