Chatham-Grand Crossing Community Collection
Scope and Contents
The Chatham-Grand Crossing Community Collection contains a selection of items that fall into the following topical areas: biography, business, clubs and organizations, historical sketches, municipal agencies, religious institutions, schools, transportation and wartime activities. The materials include articles, correspondence, flyers, news clippings and reminisces.
- 1852 - 1989
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff at Chicago Public Library Special Collections to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Biographical / Historical
The Chatham neighborhood is 10 miles south of the Loop. The neighborhood extends from 79th Street south to 95th Street where its east and west borders intersect at Cottage Grove Avenue and 95th Street. The Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood is just north of Chatham. The boundaries of this community extend from 79th Street north to 63rd Street. As its name suggests, the area encompasses several smaller neighborhoods including Grand Crossing, Park Manor, Brookline, Brookdale, and Essex. Both community areas were annexed into Chicago as part of Hyde Park Township in 1889. Chatham is number 44 and Greater Grand Crossing is number 69 of the 77 official communities that make up Chicago.
Chatham was settled by European farmers and along the tracks for the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1860s. Nearby industrial development attracted subsequent waves of European immigrants. In the 1920s, the area’s population swelled with the construction of new bungalows and it evolved into a middle class neighborhood.
Settlement began in Grand Crossing in the 1850s. In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition stimulated the growth of single-family homes, two-flats, and apartments in Grand Crossing. In 1912, the Calumet electric street railway at 63rd and Grand Boulevard (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) was extended to Cottage Grove and 93rd Street. In 1904, the White City amusement park opened in the northern section between Grand Boulevard, Calumet Avenue, 63rd Street and 67th Streets. It closed in 1933 and the structure was torn down in 1950 to make way for the Parkway Gardens, a public housing project.
Chatham and Grand Crossing were popular residential destinations for Black residents looking to expand out from the crowded Bronzeville (Douglas) neighborhood in the years after World War II when the waves of southerners relocated to Chicago in what is known as the Second Great Migration.
.75 Linear Feet (in 2 boxes and 2 oversize folders)
Language of Materials
The Chatham-Grand Crossing Community Collection contains a selection of items that fall into the following topical areas: biography, business, clubs and organizations, historical sketches, municipal agencies, religious institutions, schools, transportation and wartime activities. The materials include articles, correspondence, flyers, news clippings and reminisces. The bulk of the items are from the 1920s-1950s.
The collection is arranged into alphabetically by topic and then alphabetically within topic.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The original materials in this collection were gathered by the Chatham Branch Library at 822 E. 79th Street. They were transferred to the Special Collections and Preservation Division and processed in January of 1989.
- Chatham (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Local sources
- Greater Grand Crossing (Chicago, Ill.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Chicago Public Library. Chatham Branch. (Organization)
- Guide to the Chatham-Grand Crossing Community Collection
- Original author unknown. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2021
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository
Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States