Edgeville Buzz

Long History Of Immigrants In Edgewater Showcased In New Exhibit


Saddle & Cycle Club Circa 1900, Photo: EHS Website

We all, at some point, came from somewhere else. And in Edgewater, which has long been a home to a new and evolving group of immigrants, a current exhibit highlights new Americans’ efforts to succeed and help Chicago grow.

The Edgewater Historical Society’s Voices of Edgewater: Immigration Then and Now exhibit opened on Oct. 23 and will continue until May 28, 2016.

It will feature stories, oral histories, artifacts, photos, textiles, maps and census statistics of the many waves of immigrants who settled in Edgewater.

According to Bob Remer, president of the Edgewater Historical Society, a number of immigrants from various countries have settled in Edgewater, at least for a time, over the years. He wrote about immigration in a 2005 EHS website posting.

In the late 1880s, John Lewis Cochran started a suburban housing development called Edgewater that, at the time, was located between Lake Michigan and Broadway Avenue.

Initial immigrants were from Germany, Sweden and Luxembourg. The City of Chicago annexed Edgewater in 1889. More immigrants continued to settle here, including, according to the 1930 U.S. Census, those from Ireland, Russia and Canada, and more people from Sweden and Germany.

In the 1950s and 1960s, immigrants began arriving from Japan, Korea, Greece, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. In the 1970s and 1980s, Remer wrote, other new residents arrived from Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian countries; Russia; the Middle East; and Greece. Other “new” residents, like Native Americans and African-Americans, may have been in the United States much longer. In the 1990s, immigrants included Nigerians, Bosnians and Ethiopians, among others. There have also been a number of immigrants from the area of world that was at one time known as Assyria. These countries include what would now be known as modern-day Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

The Edgewater Historical Society is located at 5358 N. Ashland Ave. and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.edgewaterhistory.org or call 773-506-4849.

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