Hermosa

Hermosa is a neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest side, it is bordered by train lines on the east, west and south with Belmont Avenue bordering the north. This neighborhood includes Kelvyn Park and before annexed in 1889 was a part of the “suburban” Jefferson Township. In the late 1880s the train lines brought new land owners who brought in residential construction and soon industrial businesses such as laminated wood, metal and manufacturing, followed. Once a post office was established, a name was needed and Hermosa was suggested, meaning the word beautiful in Spanish.

In 1889 Hermosa became a part of Chicago and as the turn of the century came so did more residential construction. Since it was growing slowly, The Hermosa Improvement Association was created in 1912. This organization helped create Hermosa Park and a building boom of new houses. Because of its location, industrial businesses continued to come to the area, including Schwinn Bicycle Company. Up until 1950/60 the population had a steady growth rate but at this time the community saw a drop in residents. Up until this point the neighborhood had been home to European immigrants, mostly Polish, Irish, Italian, Swedish and German. In the next few decades the ethnic majority switched to mostly Hispanic as Puerto Ricans and Mexicans moved in to the neighborhood.

Today Hermosa is known for its classic Chicago architecture, as over 60% of its buildings were built before 1940. The neighborhood is dominated by Chicago bungalows and multi-family buildings, mostly two flats. The unique geography of having this neighborhood surrounded by train tracks led Hermosa to have many dead end streets. This aspect isolates the community from the surrounding neighborhoods but also gives its residents a sense of security. These factors help the community remain close knit and neighborly and the unique community it is today.

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