Get Directions
Chicago IL

Wicker Park, IL

Wicker Park is a Chicago neighborhood northwest of the Loop, south of Bucktown and west of Pulaski Park within West Town. Charles and Joel Wicker purchased 80 acres (32 ha) of land along Milwaukee Avenue in 1870 and laid out a subdivision with a mix of lot sizes surrounding a 4-acre (1.6 ha) park. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 spurred the first wave of development, as homeless Chicagoans looked to build new houses.
Before the turn of the twentieth century, Germans and Scandinavians tended to live in the area's north and northwestern sections. Wicker Park became the abode of Chicago's wealthy Northern European immigrants. The district proved especially popular with merchants, who built large mansions along the neighborhood's choicest streets—particularly on Hoyne and Pierce, just southwest of North & Damen, known then as Robey. Hoyne was known as "Beer Baron Row," as many of Chicago's wealthiest brewers built mansions there.
With the end of the 19th century the area was subsumed into the surrounding Polish Downtown and the area adjacent to the park which gave the neighborhood its name became known as "the Polish Gold Coast". In the 1890s and 1900s, immigration from Poland and the completion of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Lines greatly boosted the population density of West Town, especially in areas east of Wicker Park. The area around Division, Milwaukee, and Ashland was once known as 'Kostkaville', and the intersection retains the moniker "Polish Triangle" to this day. The provisional government of Poland met in Wicker Park during World War I. The near Northwest Side is home to many of the most opulent churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago, built in the so-called 'Polish Cathedral style'.