Ever wonder about the idiosyncrasies of the neighborhood? Read 12 historical facts about Logan Square you didn’t know.
1. Where Logan Square Gets Its Name
Logan Square takes its name from General John A. Logan, a Civil War hero and Illinois Senator. His name can be found throughout the state, including the official state song, but you won’t find his likeness anywhere in the neighborhood. For that, you have to head to Grant Park, where a full-size statue of Logan on horseback (the “Logan Monument”) resides where 9th Street dead-ends into Michigan Avenue. Learn more about General John A. Logan.
2. Logan Square Monument Celebrates Statehood
The Logan Square Monument, or Illinois Centennial Monument, was built in 1918 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood. Designed by Henry Bacon, famed architect of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is a single 70-foot tall marble Doric column topped by an eagle, in reference to the Flag of Illinois. Reliefs surrounding the base depict figures of Native Americans, explorers, farmers and laborers to show the great changes during the state’s first century. Learn more about the Illinois Centennial Monument.
3. Diverse Populations Always Called Logan Home
Logan Square has long been home to immigrant populations. In the late 1800s, upwardly mobile German and Scandinavian immigrants moved to the area, building the solid graystone two- and three-flats and single-family houses that line Logan, Kedzie and Humboldt Boulevards, and Logan and Palmer Squares. After World War I, Poles and Russian Jews arrived to take their place, constructing rental apartments and flats. In the 1960s, an influx of Hispanics moved in and in the 1980s, artists claimed Bucktown as their haven. By 1990, Hispanics made up almost two-thirds of Logan Square’s population, comprising the largest Puerto Rican, Cuban, and South and Central American populations in Chicago, together with a sizable Mexican community.
4. A Horse Debt Inspired Whirlaway Lounge
The Whirlaway Lounge (3224 W. Fullerton Ave.) takes its name from a debt owed toward a horse that died over 60 years ago. Whirlaway was a Triple Crown-winning horse in 1941, and, legend has it, the original owner of the Whirlaway Lounge took long odds and bet him, then bought the bar with the winnings. Logan Square’s Jaimes family has owned the bar since 1980.
5. Chicago’s Boulevards an Ambitious Project
The historic Chicago boulevards, an ambitious 26-mile system constructed for use during the 1893 World’s Fair, is a ring of parks connected by wide, planted-median boulevards that winds through the city. Logan Square encompasses 2.5 miles of the boulevard system and includes sections of Logan Boulevard, Kedzie Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard, as well as two parks, Logan Square and Palmer Square. Learn more about Chicago’s Historic Boulevard System.
6. Logan Home to Misspelled Streets
Kimball Avenue isn’t the only misspelled street name in Logan Square. Diversey Avenue takes its name from brewer and alderman Michael Diversey, who immigrated from Germany in 1830 and eventually founded a brewery called, variously, Lill & Diversey Brewery, Diversey Beer Brewery and The Chicago Brewery. According to his gravestone, though, he was actually born Michael Diversy.
7. Logan Square Boundaries
Our definition of Logan Square falls in line with the city’s official Community Area designation for Logan Square, so it includes Bucktown. Thirty years ago, real estate developers considered several names for Bucktown to give it greater appeal. The neighborhood was nearly christened North Wicker Park or West DePaul, before developers learned it’s not easy to change what people call a neighborhood. The name, by the way, comes from a time 100 years ago, when it was a lot more common for homeowners to keep goats on their property. Male goats are called bucks.
8. Palmer Square’s Namesake Dates to Civil War
Like the overarching neighborhood, Palmer Square takes its name from a Civil War general and politician: John McAuley Palmer, who served as military governor of Kentucky immediately after the war, then was elected governor of Illinois, then Senator. He won the endorsement of the New York Times for his presidential campaign in 1896, campaigning for a third party that believed in some convoluted thing about the gold standard.
9. Outlaw Baseball Called Logan Square Home
Outlaw baseball was once Logan Square’s biggest contribution to the city. Pitcher Jimmy Callahan, angry at White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, started the Logan Squares in 1906, building the semipro team a stadium at Diversey and Milwaukee. Players, often former major leaguers, could participate in the games and still keep their day jobs. After the 1906 World Series, when the Sox beat the Cubs, semipro teams took on the pros and the Squares swept the pro teams.
10. Where Longman & Eagle Got Its Name
Logan Square’s Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie Ave.) takes its name from the Illinois Centennial Monument half a block away. Sculptor Evelyn Longman created the reliefs that run around the bottom of the Centennial Monument.
11. Central Park Avenue Dates Back to 1869
Central Park Avenue in western Logan Square doesn’t have its namesake in Logan Square. In fact, there is no Central Park anywhere in Chicago. The street retains its name from a time before 1869, when the city renamed Central Park as Garfield Park (located about 2 miles south of Logan Square’s borders). Central Park, Humboldt Park and Douglas Park had all been designed together, along with grass-lined boulevards to link them. Those pathways still exist today.
12. Logan Station Formerly End of the Line
The original Logan Square station served as part of the Northwest branch of the Metropolitan Elevated (and successors CRT and CTA) since 1895. The complex included a double-track, two platform station, a car inspection shop and a storage yard. In the late ‘60s, the Logan branch was extended past its namesake terminal, necessitating the removal of the elevated station and the construction of a new subway that traveled in the median of the Kennedy Expressway. Learn more about the Logan Square Blue Line Station.