Rogers Park/West Ridge Community Collection
Scope and Contents
The Rogers Park/West Ridge Community Collection documents life in the Rogers Park and West Ridge communities from the mid- nineteenth century to the present day. There is a particularly large amount of material from local families and individuals, businesses, and community organizations, as well significant amounts from schools and religious institutions. There are smaller amounts on cemeteries, municipal organizations, parks, political campaigns, residences, theaters, and transportation in Rogers Park and West Ridge. The collection includes a wide range of material types, including fliers and brochures, news clippings, correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, newsletters, historical sketches, advertisements, maps, posters, ephemera, and others. Several of the families, businesses, or organizations included in this collection have substantial sets of material, covering several boxes, that show change over time and cover a variety of topics and perspectives. Many others are represented by a single item or folder. The collection ranges in date from 1845-2021, but the largest portion is from the mid to late twentieth century.
- Creation: 1845 - 2021
Conditions Governing Access
Series 1-15 are open without restrictions. Access to Series 16 is restricted.
The biographical files in Series 16 are restricted until 2040.
The business files in Series 16 are restricted until 2086.
Conditions Governing Use
Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Biographical / Historical
Rogers Park and West Ridge, two of Chicago’s seventy-seven community areas, are located nine miles north of the Loop on the city’s far North Side. Both are located on Chicago’s northern border, just south of the City of Evanston. Native American people, including the Potawatomi, lived, traveled, and traded in the area for many generations prior to the arrival of European settlers. Chicago continues to be home to a large Native American population.
Rogers Park runs from Howard Street and Juneway Terrace south to Devon Avenue and Sheridan Road, and from Ridge Boulevard east to Lake Michigan. The Village of Rogers Park was incorporated in 1878 and annexed to the City of Chicago in 1893. A small amount of additional land north of Howard Street was annexed in 1915.
West Ridge, located just west of Rogers Park, is also known as West Rogers Park. It encompasses the area from Howard Street south to Bryn Mawr and Peterson Avenues, and from Kedzie Avenue and the Chicago River east to Ridge Boulevard. West Ridge was incorporated as a village in 1890 and annexed to Chicago just three years later, in 1893.
Biographical / Historical
According to their mission statement, the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society “collects, preserves and shares the story of the diverse community of Chicago’s far north side. Established by local residents who believed their part of Chicago was a place with much to celebrate, the Society today serves the community through its publications, neighborhood tours, Living History programs and other educational and outreach efforts.” The group began meeting informally at the Rogers Park Library in 1973 and formally established itself as the Rogers Park Historical Society on July 28, 1975. They were granted a charter from the State of Illinois on March 17, 1976. In 1994, they formally changed their name to the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society to recognize their interests in and work with both community areas.
Their work encompasses educational programs, exhibitions, publications, and an annual historic house tour. Just a few of their many accomplishments include publishing a newsletter (1986-2017); organizing programming and celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of Rogers Park and West Ridge's annexations to the City of Chicago (1992-1993); publishing two books, “Chicago’s Far North Side: An Illustrated History of Rogers Park and West Ridge” (2000) and “Neighborhoods Within Neighborhoods: Twentieth Century Life on Chicago’s Far North Side” (2002); establishing a lecture series, the Living History Speaker Program (2016); and creating a community cookbook, “The World in One Neighborhood: The Varied Cuisines of Chicago’s Far North Side” (2017).
From 1994-2003, the society maintained a Museum and Educational Research Center at 6424 N. Western Avenue. After a few temporary sites, they moved to their current space at 7363 N. Greenview Avenue in August 2015. In 2019, they began the process of transferring their paper archives to Chicago Public Library's Northside Neighborhood History Collection, while maintaining ownership of their photographic archvie. As of 2023, the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society remains active through their programs, collections, community partnerships, and service to the Rogers Park and West Ridge communities.
Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society, “Mission and History,” https://rpwrhs.org/history/, accessed May 20, 2023.
135 Linear Feet (in 166 boxes, 40 oversized folders, 2 maps, and 1 volume)
Language of Materials
Rogers Park and West Ridge, two of Chicago’s seventy-seven community areas, are located nine miles north of the Loop on the city’s far North Side. This collection documents life in Rogers Park and West Ridge from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.
Arranged in 16 series:
Series 1: Biographical, 1845-2021
Series 2: Businesses, 1889-2015
Series 3: Cemeteries, 1908-2004, undated
Series 4: Clubs and Organizations, 1885-2019, undated
Series 5: Historical Sketches and Guides, 1909-2009, undated
Series 6: Maps, circa 1870s-2008, undated
Series 7: Municipal Agencies, 1892-2008, undated
Series 8: Newspapers, 1896-2011, undated
Series 9: Parks, 1925-2014, undated
Series 10: Politics, 1912-2016, undated
Series 11: Religious Institutions, 1891-2017, undated
Series 12: Residences, 1906-2009, undated
Series 13: Schools, 1891-2013
Series 14: Theaters, 1908-2012, undated
Series 15: Transportation, 1920-2004, undated
Series 16: Restricted, 1944-1986, undated
From 2018-2022, the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society transferred the majority of their archival collections to the Northside Neighborhood History Collection. They had collected this material over the course of many years as part of their efforts to document their local community. Their photograph collection and three-dimensional objects were not transferred to the NNHC.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society and members of the community, 2018-2022.
- Chicago (Ill.)--Maps
- Community life -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Folk music
- Historic theaters
- Newspapers -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Parks -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Political campaigns -- Illinois -- Chicago.
- Religious institutions -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Schools -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Small business -- Illinois -- Chicago.
- Societies and clubs -- Illinois -- Chicago
- Women -- Societies and clubs
- Guide to the Rogers Park/West Ridge Community Collection
- Allyson Smally
- 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 Northside Neighborhood History Collection Repository
Sulzer Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
4455 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60625 United States