History & Genealogy of
Hyde Park
Presented by Illinois Genealogy Trails

History .....:

Founded by Paul Cornell in 1853, the village of Hyde Park was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1889. The present Hyde Park - Kenwood Community stretches from Lake Michigan to Cottage Grove from 59th street to 47th. Those boundaries encompass south Kenwood, with Hyde Park ending at Hyde Park Blvd [51st street]. For this reason, the area is often known as Hyde Park/Kenwood. Politically, Hyde Park is currently located in 2 wards --the 4th and 5th. Neighbors to the south include Woodlawn and to the north Kenwood. Hyde Park is locked on two sides with a major park, from the Burnham plan on the west and the lake on the east.

Hyde Park was the home of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor, as well as home to the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. The World's fair was held in Hyde Park which was how the Museum of Science & Industry was brought to this area. Some well-known architecture in the area includes the Robie house [1907] by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Rosenwald mansion, the Sears store and the Leopold & Loeb mansion. The first self-sustained nuclear reaction occurred in Hyde Park and is marked by a Henry Moore sculpture.

Some history of the area from Thomas Crane, former resident of Hyde Park:

"Much of the Hyde Park area that did not fall due to Urban Renewal is still standing including some of the homes between 57th and 59th Streets along Kenwood Avenue. It is like taking a step back in time when you walk along that street. If you look in the back of some of the houses, you can see some of the old coach houses where they boarded the horses and the haylofts that where built on top. For anyone that is interested in history it is quite a tour to take. When I worked at the University, the administrators would use me as a tour guide as I was knowledgeable in the area after having grown up there. Most of the people that I worked with and others that have come on the scene since are transplants as they came from other parts of the Country. Many of the sights to see are the Robe House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Midway Studios where Loradeo Taft worked when he did a lot of Chicago sculpture. "

Interested in reading more about Hyde Park from the perspective of a former resident? Tom has graciously agreed to write an informal history of the area, starting from the days of his youth there. It is filled with references to many local landmarks, historical tidbits he heard from the elders of the time, as well as his own personal observations. Click here to read TOM CRANE'S "GROWING UP IN HYDE PARK"

History of the University of Chicago - the "New" and the "Old"
Old University of Chicago in 1867

THE WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION - Held in Hyde Park from May - October 1893

Quaker Records -
Meeting Minutes for 1931-34

Biographies .....

JOHN B. CREIGHTON, police station keeper at Kensington, was born in Montreal, Canada, December 26, 1846. His parents family coming to Lyons now Riverdale, Cook County, in 1852, he was here raised and educated. He was engaged with his father in contracting and the building of streets and highways until 1867, when he removed to Hyde Park and embarked for himself for six years. He was then foreman from 1874 to May 1, 1883, when he went on the police force. In 1873 Mr. Creighton married Miss Appilena Dewar, of Morris, Ill. They have three children--James B., Jr., William F. and a daughter unnamed. He is a member of the Masonic Order of Hyde Park, and has served one year as water inspector. [Excerpt from HISTORY OF EARLY CHICAGO MODERN CHICAGO AND ITS SETTLEMENT EARLY CHICAGO, AND THE NORTHWEST BY ALBERT D. HAGER, p. 625...Transcribed by Dori Leekley]


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