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Logan Square Community Collection

Identifier: nnhc-lsq

Scope and Contents

The collection includes a range of printed and photographic materials that document individuals, business, and other organizations in Logan Square, including several historical sketches. A fair percentage of this collection is composed of newspaper clippings which were clipped by the West Side Historical Society for its documentation. These clippings are almost entirely confined to the period 1942-1944. Some materials in this collection cover the Avondale neighborhood.


  • 1887-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1941 - 1955

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Logan Square and Avondale are two of Chicago’s 77 community areas, located approximately 5 miles northwest of the Loop. Logan Square is roughly bounded on the east by the Chicago River, on the north by Diversey Avenue, on the west by the Metra Milwaukee District North rail tracks, and on the south by Bloomingdale Avenue.

Avondale, which is sliced in half by Interstates 90-94, extends from Diversey north to Addison and from the Chicago River west to Pulaski north of Belmont. South of Belmont it extends slightly farther west, to the Metra rail tracks.

Native American people lived in the area for many generations before the first white settler arrived. In 1836, Martin Nelson Kimbell (1812-1895), a native of Tioga County, New York, purchased a 160-acre farm bounded by what are now Fullerton, Hamlin, Diversey and Kimball. A grocery/saloon at Milwaukee and Diversey was established not long after that. Milwaukee Avenue was surveyed in the early 1840s, and planked in 1848-1849 by the Northwestern Plank Company. This became the major highway to the city. Milwaukee Avenue was a toll road until 1889, when irate citizens burned the toll gate at Milwaukee and Fullerton and murdered the gatekeeper in the process. The gate was never replaced; the road was hand-surfaced in the early 1890s.

The southwest corner of Logan Square (south of Fullerton and east of Western) was annexed into Chicago in 1869. The Chicago and North Western Rail Road Maplewood station was erected in 1870 making the locale more attractive for settlement. A toy factory was built in Logan Square in 1871 and Avondale acquired a post office in 1873. However, commercial and residential development in both neighborhoods did not begin on a large scale until after their incorporation into the city: the annexation of Jefferson Township in 1889 brought with it the attendant city services of sidewalks, water lines and sewers. Immigration brought a largely Scandinavian and German-Polish population to western Avondale. The area’s first house of worship, however, was Allen Church which ministered to approximately 20 African American families in the Avondale neighborhood. With the population influx came manufacturing and business interests, the most famed of which was the Lyon and Healy piano and organ factory. The Logan Square neighborhood acquired its name with the construction of the square itself, named after Civil War general John A. Logan.

In 1884, Logan Square and Avondale counted 6,000 persons combined. The 1920 census recorded 108,000 living in Logan Square and 38,000 in Avondale. A building boom came after 1924 with Ada Sawyer Garrett’s sale of the Logan Square Ball Park for $650,000 which catapulted her overnight into one of Chicago’s wealthiest women. The park became a $12 million development.

By 1930, Logan Square’s population was 114,000 and Avondale’s was 48,000. By 1930, the population’s ethnicity had changed from a German/Scandinavian predominance to Russian Jewish/Polish ascendancy. After 1950, the Hispanic population of Logan Square began to grow, and by 1980 there were 44,000 Hispanic residents, over half the total population. In the year 2000, according to census data, 65% of Logan Square’s population identified as Hispanic or Latino.


1.5 Linear Feet (in 1 box, 22 photographs, 28 slides, 18 negatives, and 11 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



This collection contains news clippings, historical sketches, photographs, and ephemera related to the Logan Square neighborhood, mostly from the first half of the twentieth century. There is also a small amount of material related to the Avondale neighborhood.


This collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: Documents, 1909-1984, undated

Series 2: Photographs and slides, 1887-1989

Custodial History

The materials in this collection are drawn from two sources. The majority of the items dating from the 1940s and most of the photographs were received by Special Collections as part of the larger West Side Historical Society Collection. Much of the other material, including most of the historical sketches, were transferred to Special Collections from the Logan Square Branch of Chicago Public Library prior to its renovation in 1988.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to the Northside Neighborhood History Collection from Chicago Public Library’s Special Collections Division.

Related Materials

The Chicago Public Library Archives, Logan Square Branch

The Lillian M. Campbell Memorial Collection, which contains photographs of the Logan Square neighborhood, including street views.

Guide to the Logan Square Community Collection
Original author unknown. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Allyson Smally, 2022.
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