Woodlawn Real Estate
The Woodlawn community area is bounded 60th Street on the north, 67th Street on the south, Martin Luther King Drive (400 east) on the west, and Lake Michigan on the east, plus a small triangle formed by 67th Street, Cottage Grove Avenue, and the Chicago Skyway. The evolution of Woodlawn over a 150-year period is a fascinating sociological chronicle.
Woodlawn was initially settled in the 1850s by Dutch farmers. They sent their produce to nearby Chicago on the Illinois Central Railroad, which opened a station at 63rd Street in 1862. Woodlawn, as part of Hyde Park Township, was annexed to Chicago in 1889. Population of Woodlawn never topped 1,000 until 1890, when construction of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition brought a 20-fold increase in Woodlawn’s population. Construction of apartment buildings, tourist hotels, and the 63rd Street branch of the elevated train transformed the area.
The end of the fair and its visitors threatened an economic depression. The Washington Park Subdivision, Woodlawn area just south of Washington Park, did maintain some tourism. It contained Washington Park Racetrack, which continued until 1905, when betting was outlawed. The racetrack was followed by the White City Amusement Park, which lasted until the Great Depression. In 1914 came the fabled but short-lived Midway Gardens dance pavilion, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
In the 1920s, Woodlawn was experiencing the enormous migration of blacks from the rural south to northern urban areas. It was then that racially restrictive covenants were adopted; the U.S. Supreme Court found them invalid in 1948. The subsequent fears and “white flight” engendered by racial change had a profound effect on Woodlawn for the following 40 years. As early as 1946, the City of Chicago had designated Woodlawn as a “conservation area,” but no plan was implemented. Many Woodlawn residents were suspicious of the motives of the major institution to the north, the University of Chicago.
True positive change finally began in 1959 when, aided by Saul Alinsky, the coalition that ultimately became The Woodlawn Organization (TWO) was formed. TWO spearheaded community renewal and social service programs for Woodlawn. Gradual changes have finally resulted in an amazing rebirth in Woodlawn. Much residential rehabilitation and construction has taken place. On-going community improvement efforts have been joined by the University of Chicago, which constructed a new residence hall in Woodlawn and has extended into Woodlawn the boundaries of its police patrol area.
Housing in Woodlawn
Woodlawn housing is a mix of late 19th century row-houses plus two- and three-flat buildings, six-flats, and courtyard buildings from the early 1900s. The pace of renovation of these buildings has escalated dramatically during the past 20 years. New construction of single-family and condominium buildings has filled in what had been vacated land.
Noteworthy in Woodlawn is the 1928 building of the First Presbyterian Church, 6400 S. Kimbark, which traces its history to 1833. The congregation has been an active participant in the rebirth of Woodlawn. Designated Chicago Landmarks include the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion (63rd Street at Lake Shore Drive), Lorado Taft’s Midway Studios (6016 S. Ingleside), St. Gelasius Church Building (6401-09 S. Woodlawn), and the Lorraine Hansberry House (6140 S. Rhodes). The 1918 Statue of the Republic in Jackson Park is a smaller replica of the original from the World's Columbian Exposition.
Woodlawn Single Family Homes
Woodlawn Condos / Townhomes
Woodlawn Multi-Family Homes
Other Neighborhood Information
Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Kenwood, South Loop, South Shore and Woodlawn