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North Mayfair Community Collection

Identifier: nnhc-00038

Scope and Contents

North Mayfair Community Collection contains material about a variety of subjects. Formats in the collection include 19th-century newspapers, 20th-century photographs, and research notes by Dale Bolling, author of three books about North Mayfair. Subjects covered range from biographies of early families to histories of community organizations. The largest and most detailed files are the historical sketches, which include reminiscences in which local residents describe their lives in North Mayfair.


  • 1869 - 2000

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

North Mayfair is a residential neighborhood near La Bagh Woods with a commercial district along parts of its perimeter. It runs from Pulaski (4000 west) to Cicero (4800 west) and from Lawrence (4800 north) to Bryn Mawr (5600 north). North Mayfair lies within Albany Park, one of the 77 official community areas of the City of Chicago, but it has a strong identity of its own.

Native American people were the original residents of the area that is now North Mayfair. Among the first Europeans to arrive were the Harding and Spikings families. William Harding acquired a land grant in the 1830s and Richard Spikings arrived in the 1840s. Like many early (and later) residents, they lived in the area for decades. In the 1870s William Harding Spikings, a builder, constructed a large brick house on the southeast corner of Pulaski and Ainslie that stood until 1941.

The Erickson family, also early landowners, had a farmhouse on Kostner south of Foster that was owned by the family into the 20th century. By the time Jennie Erickson died at the age of 96 in 1954, the area had been annexed into the City of Chicago (1889) and Northwest Side farms had given way to subdivisions. Also, the area, known as Montrose in the 19th century, was now called Mayfair. This name was first used for the community's railroad station on the Chicago & North Western line in the mid-19th century. Mayfair was also the name of the local post office, established June 2, 1882. In the 20th century Mayfair generally refers to the area south of Lawrence Avenue and North Mayfair to the neighborhood north of Lawrence.

The identity of the modern neighborhood was greatly strengthened in 1929 when twenty-three residents organized a community group for North Mayfair, which later became the North Mayfair Improvement Association. One of the first projects the group tackled was convincing state and local authorities to transform Foster Avenue from a rough road to a modern street. After that success, they pushed for bus service on Foster, organized scrap drives in World War II, watched the planning and construction of expressways in the 1950s and 1960s, worked with the North River Commission in the 1970s (and beyond) and opposed development projects at St. Lucas Cemetery in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, they were concerned with issues common to most neighborhoods, such as zoning decisions, new developments, and local parks.


1 Linear Feet (in 2 boxes (including 31 photographs))

Language of Materials



North Mayfair is a residential neighborhood near La Bagh Woods within the community area of Albany Park on the north side of Chicago. This collection contains news clippings, letters, and other material that document the history of local families, businesses, parks, organizations and other topics. It also contains historical sketches and reminiscences from former residents.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: Documents, 1869-2000

Series 2: Photographs, circa 1880s-circa 1990s

Custodial History

The collection reflects Dale Bolling’s work as an author, editor, and compiler of North Mayfair history.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Dale Bolling in 1997 and 2000.

Related Materials

North Park Village Records


Guide to the North Mayfair Community Collection
Original author unknown, 2001. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Allyson Smally, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northside Neighborhood History Collection Repository

Sulzer Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
4455 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60625 United States
(312) 742-4455