Illinois Genealogy Trails


Neighborhood map

History of
Lake View
Cook County, IL


Lakeview (properly and historically spelled as "Lake View") is a neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago. It is located along the shores of Lake Michigan and runs approximately from Diversey Parkway on the south to Irving Park Road on the north and from Lake Michigan on the east to Ravenswood Avenue on the west.

Lakeview was originally a suburb outside the boundaries of Chicago and was a summer getaway for the city's residents, with the center of the village as the Lakeview Hotel. Lakeview was annexed to Chicago in 1889.


Lake View Map

-- Northalsted (aka "Boys Town") -
Boys Town has the distinction of being America's first officially recognized gay village.

-- West Lakeview --
-- Lake View East --
-- Lakeview --
-- Wrigleyville --

Wrigleyville is the neighborhood in Chicago around Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play, and is a commerical Irish area.

Wrigleyville's exact boundaries, since it is within the larger neighborhood of Lakeview, can vary according to the source, though the boundaries are often cited as being Irving Park to the north, Fremont to the east, Roscoe to the south, and Southport to the west.

New Town, now an obsolete term, was the name for the neighborhood around the intersection Clark Street and Diversey Parkway during its hippie heyday.

History .....

This is a large township, extending north from the city limits, a distance of over 5½ miles, and from the lake shore west, from two to three miles. The south boundary is but two and a half miles from Clark street bridge. Its natural features are among the best in the vicinity of Chicago. The wooded section, in the southern edge of which Lincoln park is situated, extends along the lake shore, far to the north, and many miles beyond the northern limits of Lake View. This gives the place the very desirable advantage of grove lots throughout its length and breadth and affords many very pretty residence sites which have been largely taken advantage of by citizens of Chicago whose means enabled them to enclose large lots and build handsome homes upon them. The place is thickly settled as a consequence of these advantages, and its nearness to business centers in Chicago. The area of the township is about ten square miles. The lands in Lake View attracted early attention. The settlement dates back over a period of twenty years, and many of the lots having, during this long stretch of years, been subjected to constant improvement, the place bears something of the appearance of the older suburbs about the cities in the East. Viewed from the observatory of the new United States Marine Hospital, the whole village resembles a beautiful park. The government of the township (incorporated in 1865) is in the hands of a Board of Trustees, who have control of thoroughfares, bridges, public improvements, buildings, the police force, and generally of all matters usually subjected to municipal rule. The routes of approach to Lake View from the city are as follows: One line of horse-cars leave Clark street bridge every twelve minutes, running north on North Clark street to Diversey street one-half mile within the limits of the place and connecting there with a dummy for Graceland, which runs once an hour. This trip occupies fifty minutes. A second line of horse-cars leave Clark street bridge at like intervals, and run on Clark street to Lincoln avenue opposite the principal entrance to Lincoln Park and then on Lincoln avenue in a northwest direction, and reaching the southern limit of Lake View at Fullerton avenue, one mile west from the lake shore. The Milwaukee branch of the Chicago and Northwestern railroad runs through the suburb north and south with a daily service of twelve trains each way. In addition to the second track now being laid on this road, there are now under consideration two other projects looking to the development of the Lake View district by new railroads, one to run out of Chicago on Sheffield avenue, through Lake View to Evanston, on a route east of the Milwaukee track; the other, a branch through Bowmanville to Evanston, to be constructed by the Northwestern railroad company.

The greatest degree of activity in improvements, such as sidewalks, traveling facilities, etc., at Lake View, commenced but recently, the people feeling assured that the fine location and natural attractions of the place would of themselves insure a prosperous future But the intense action which has constantly characterized the development of localities which must rely almost solely upon what man can do to make them attractive, awakened them to the necessity of throwing off their partial inertia and contend for all the auxiliary advantages which could be secured. Their natural growth made tree planting unnecessary, and the high and sloping nature of the ground, with its subsoil of gravel or sand, provided so much natural drainage that this adjunctive advantage could not assume the degree of importance attaching to it in many other suburbs.

Recently, a general system of improvement has been inaugurated. A number of double ring brick sewers are ordered. One on Sunnyside (Ravenswood) avenue, from Ashland avenue to the north branch of Chicago river, and others on Sulzer, Nellie and Surf streets, each running to the lake. Road beds of cinder and gravel are ordered on a number of other thoroughfares.

Ashland avenue has been opened to a width of eighty feet, and extending through Ravenswood southward to Belmont avenue, the point of its intersection with Lincoln avenue. This will be improved into a boulevard, giving a short diagonal carriage route from the western part of the township to the center of Lincoln Park. The Ashland avenue improvement will doubtless be continued southward until it meets the splendid improvement of that thoroughfare made within the city limits by S. J. Walker Esq. When this is completed, Ashland Avenue will be one of the handsomest drives within and about the city.

Graceland avenue, the eastern terminus of Irving Park boulevard, and which constitutes the carriage route from Irving Park to the lake shore drive has been opened to a width of 100 feet to Southfort avenue. At the river this street is provided with a new iron bridge. This thoroughfare, terminating at Lincoln Park, and the lake shore drive, constitute an excellent system adapted to the natural contour of the country and were made in the interest of the whole public; not for the special enriching of speculative proprietors.

The lake shore drive is one of the finest improvements in or about Chicago, and when completed will afford a carriage way 200 feet wide, extending from Indiana street to Evanston twelve miles. The whole surface will be graveled and curbed as hard and level as a floor. It is already completed as far north as the Marine Hospital in Lake View. The superior advantages of this magnificent drive, the pleasant scenery along its borders, its elevation overlooking the lake, and its course near some of the most interesting improvements in the city and country; all these and other attractions will induce those who wish and can afford handsome home sites to settle along its borders. Already quite a number of our wealthier class have tracks on which they will build superb houses, and it will be but few years before nearly all of the available ground will have been improved in this manner. Land along this drive has doubled in value in a short time. It will increase four fold in the neighborhood of the city within a few years more.

Graceland Cemetery, a small but beautiful tract of land, is located in Lake View. It was originally intended by the Graceland company to embrace a considerable territory, but owing to the rapid advance of the city in that direction, and the opposition by the people to its extension, it has been abandoned and the lands not already embraced within the enclosure are on the market. Ere long, interments there must cease and the field of Chicago's dead be fixed at a greater distance form the city. But the character of the lot owners, and the liberal fund provided for its perpetual decoration and care of the grounds render it certain that the cemetery will be continually increasing in beauty until it rivals Greenwood, Spring Grove, Laurel Hill, and Mount Auburn, in the center of the very best residence property in those cities.

On the corner of Graceland and Ashland avenues, upon a lot donated by the Graceland Cemetery Company, an excellent brick building, 40x70 feet, is now being erected for the town High School. It will cost $15,000. It will be finished by the 1st of January, 1874.

Lake View Town-hall, a substantial and well designed brick building, containing upon the first floor, some five or six rooms and offices, and overhead a large and beautiful assembly room, stands on the corner of Halsted and Addison streets, was built in 1872 at a cost of $17,000. It is used not only for municipal purposes but also for concerts, lectures and religious services. At Ravenswood, also, an annual course of lectures is given.

Upon the lake shore, just north of Graceland avenue, stands the United States Marine Hospital, a magnificent stone building 360 feet long and four stories high. It has just been completed at a cost of $500,000. Its location in the center of a lot of ten acres, upon a ridge fronting the lake, and being in full and near view of all the passing shipping of the harbor, is one which for healthfulness, beauty and appropriateness, cannot be surpassed anywhere.

The improvement and decoration of the hospital grounds already commenced will act be completed until next season. Government buildings and grounds everywhere kept with extreme neatness and taste, are always desirable neighbors. The United States Marine Hospitals, and Soldiers' and Sailors' Homes, at Washington, Pensacola, and other places, are the center of park neighborhoods and so, we confidently predict that the lake shore property in this vicinity will, within five years, present an exceptionally fine line of villa residences.

Property along the lake shore within a mile of the park is worth $100 per foot North of this it ranges from $75 to $45 per foot, according to its distance from the city. The principal owners are Messrs. B. F. Culver, W. K. Nixon, Maj. Goodwin, S. B. Chase, J. H. Rees, Thompson, J.V. LeMoyne, Hubbard, Boyden, Lill, Walker, H. G. Spafford, F. Tyler, and others.

Daniel Goodwin house

A majority of these owners are holding surplus land for certain increase. Major Daniel Goodwin owns near the Marine Hospital a beautiful home, illustrated on page 344, and six acres of tastefully ornamented grounds surrounding it. He purchased the grounds in 1871 for $30,000.

This beautiful Gothic house was erected at a cost of $40,000, and is a model for that class of residence architecture. The neat porches on the west and south sides are in fine proportion with the shapely gables of the roof. It is a commodious structure, with excellent interior arrangement, which need no description in detail. The beauty of the grounds is hardly surpassed in any of our suburban localities, and the Major is still improving them. The investment in the property is worth $50,000.

Mr. S. H. Kerfoot, for many years prominently identified with the real estate business, owns about seventy acres, also near the Marine Hospital. He purchased the tract in 1853 paying $ 100 per acre. He began making improvements at that time, and has continued them ever since, until now the land is worth, on the lake shore, from $100 to $150 per foot and elsewhere its value ranges from $40 to $70 per foot. He has improved so many of his blocks by planting extra trees in regular order, opening up and grading and graveling walks and drives, and in various other ways beautifying them, that it is hard to tell which he calls his home. At present he
occupies a very tastefully arranged cottage on a block of nine acres, highly ornamented, but his plans for his permanent dwelling on his large and exquisite grounds, extending to the lake shore, promise a homestead and surrounding unequaled in the vicinity of Chicago. Some of the single blocks in Mr. Kerfoot's interest are worth $125,000.

Mr. B. F. Culver has done at least as much as any other party for the development of the town. He first purchased a tract of ten acres in 1866, paying $600 for it, and ten acres in the following year, paying $ 1,500 per acre. These pieces of property lie between Wellington street, Barry avenue, the Evanston dummy road, and Lake View avenue, and sell now at $125 per front foot. In 1868, he bought property in Baker's subdivision at $20 per foot, which has increased to $100 per foot. The property known as Culver's Lake Front Addition" was bought in 1870 at $6000 per acre. It now sells at $100 per foot. Mr. Culver built the beautiful Italian villa represented on page 345, and sold it to Hon. Frank W. Palmer. Mr. Culver has spent much of his time and expended large sums of money for the benefit of the locality, and deserves the prominent mention given above.

picture of Frank Palmer's house

This is located on Barry avenue, and was erected at an expense of $24,000. It is full two stories, and attic story in height, of a very handsome design, both outside and in. The main entrance on the south side of the dwelling is massive, and ornamented with a handsome tower, at the west side of it, which extends above the roof, and culminates in a large and tastefully finished observatory. The bay features seen at the west end are among the most attractive arrangements about this building, and afford a view to the north, south, and west, of the elaborately adorned and extensive grounds about. The interior of the house is elegantly finished in hard woods, and arranged with symmetry and taste.

Goudy House picture

The residence of Mr. Goudy is in Wrightwood, fronting on Green Bay road (an extension of Clark street), just north of Fullerton avenue, the limit of the city. The house was erected in 1865, at an expense of more than $20,000 and the ground, with the present improvement, is now worth $50,000. It stands on a beautiful ridge, so that the basement story is above the surface of the ground in the rear, and the main entrance is only two or three steps above it in front. The style of architecture is exhibited by the engraving. The grounds are ornamented with shrubbery, flowers and fountains, and covered with native trees. The front proper is upon Green Bay road, but opposite is a front, with a large veranda, overlooking Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan, furnishing an unobstructed and magnificent view form every window. There is no place combining better the advantages of city and country than this spot.

picture of Waller house

Mr. J.B. Waller owns 53 acres of improved property, worth $80,000, and upon a portion of it has built his own homestead, the handsome residence represented. The house is a very large one, of a very substantial build, and looks like the fine old mansions to be seen in long-settled districts of the East. The reader can judge of the liberal outlay needed to build such a house and adorn the grounds about it, by a glance at the picture. The cupola commands a view of Lake Michigan and a large radius of country around. The material of the house is brick. The interior is elaborately finished in hardwood, and its fine apartments are spacious, pleasant and comfortable. The cost of the structure was about $75,000.

picture of Huck house

The spacious grounds surrounding Mr. Huck's house compare favorably with the best planned of those before mentioned in this article. They front 500 feet on Fullerton avenue, and extend south on Clark street 600 feet. Although the outside of the house is of plain and simple architecture, there are few dwellings more comfortably arranged inside. The first floor is devoted to parlors, dining room, family sleeping apartments and kitchen. The second floor contains a large chamber, parlor, and several sleeping rooms, with all modern appliances and improvements. The site is valued at $225,000. Mr. Huck owns, also, a fine tract of twenty acres adjoining Ravenswood, in Lake View, and has sown it to grass -- a preparation for subdivision and sale in lots and blocks next spring.

house of S.B. Chase

The dwelling of Mr. S.B. Chase, of Chase Brothers, the abstract men, is the modest but attractive villa shown on page 349. It stands in a 10-acre lot on the north side of Belden avenue, between the dummy road and the lake. The value of the house and improvements is about $18,000; and the ground for which Mr. Chase paid only $70 per acre, less than 20 years ago. Indeed, some land west of his present homestead, of which Mr. Chase disposed at the rate of $12,000 per acre, was bought by him in 1852 as low as $50 per acre. Aggravating reminiscence!

house of Horatio Spafford

Mr. Spafford's cottage home is located on a triangular lot containing five acres, in one of the most attractive spots in Lake View. The lot is bounded by Evanston road on the west; Halsted street, east; and Graceland avenue on the south. Just across Halsted street is the site of the U.S. Marine Hospital, and on the south are the grounds owned by S.H. Kerfoot, both of which are noticed elsewhere. So that on the south and east an extensive and beautiful lawn prospect stretches, instead of a view blocked by rows of buildings. Mr. Spafford has improved his home site in a very artistic manner, and at a large outlay. His homestead is worth $75,000. Source: Chamberlin, Everett, Chicago and its Suburbs, Chicago: T.A. Hungerford & Co., 1874, c1873, 472 pgs. (TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: I have moved the pictures from their original places in the original text closer to the actual house description.)


1880 Mortality Schedule for Lake View Township (Enumeration District 216)

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©2004, Kimberly Torp