Chicago - City of Broad Shoulders

This course is about Chicago, We will cover the history of the city and region, the politics, corruption, arts, plans, neighborhoods, humor, achievements and the future of the City.

Mount Greenwood

The following was taken from Wikapedia,_Chicago

Mount Greenwood is a predominantly Irish-Catholic neighborhood on the Southwest Side of Chicago. It neighbors the Chicago neighborhoods of Beverly and Morgan Park to the east, the suburb of Evergreen Park to the north, the suburb of Oak Lawn to the west, and the suburbs ofMerrionette Park and Alsip to the south. Because of the presence of the cemeteries along the eastern edge of the neighborhood, the area was fictitiously said to have been known as "Seven Holy Tombs" before it was known as Mount Greenwood by author and playwright, John R. Powers in his fictionalized trilogy about growing up there. Mount Greenwood is about 14 miles (23 km) SW of the Loop.

Even though there were a small number of settlers in Mt. Greenwood, the origins of Mt. Greenwood began in 1817 when it was surveyed by George Waite. Mr. Waite established an area where he could trade with the local Native Americans. Mount Greenwood Cemetery was established around this time by Mr. Waite. With the cemetery came the saloons and restaurants and eventually tracks for horse and greyhound racing. The cemetery is also the final resting-place of Robert Haslam (1840-1912), who as a twenty-year-old immigrant from England became one of the most celebrated riders of the Pony Express mail service that operated from 1860-1861.

Mt. Greenwood became part of the city of Chicago in 1927. It was not until 1936 that the Works Progress Administration finally laid sewage systems, and paved and lighted city streets. As late as the 1960s, the Mount Greenwood Civic Association was still fighting the city for curbs and gutters. By the 1980s, Mount Greenwood was home to the last surviving farm in the city, which was developed as the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences at the southeast corner of 111th and Pulaski.

Mount Greenwood is home to many Chicago firefighterspolice officers and union workers of Irishheritage. One of the more prominent and prolific families in Mount Greenwood at the turn of the 20th Century was that of James Dominic "Yank" Cunningham, born in Chicago in 1865. "Yank" operated a popular neighborhood saloon/restaurant and rooming house at 111th and Sacramento Streets, just across the way from Mount Olivet Cemetery. He died in 1907 at age 42, leaving a widow and eight children.

Most of Mt. Greenwood's population is also Roman Catholic. Most students in the neighborhood attend Catholic elementary schools and high schools. Mount Greenwood is home to two Catholic elementary schools, Queen of Martyrs andSt.Christina), three Catholic high schools (Brother Rice High SchoolMarist High School, and Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School) and a Catholic university (Saint Xavier University). Public grade schools in the area are Mt. Greenwood Elementary School and George F. Cassell Elementary School. Both are filled with neighborhood children.

Mount Greenwood, like many other Chicago neighborhoods, has its own branch of the Chicago Public Library. The library in this area looks identical to the Hegewisch Branch of the Chicago Public Library. The library has a significant Irish heritage collection.

The booming Mount Greenwood community was among the neighborhoods identified for park development in the Chicago Park District's Ten Year Plan to provide increased recreational opportunities in post-World War II Chicago. In 1946, the Mount Greenwood Civic Council urged the acquisition of vacant Board of Education land along 111th Street. The park district purchased the 24-acre site in 1949, and slowly began improving the property. The park district constructed a fieldhouse in 1966, and added a swimming pool in 1973. The 1990s brought further improvements. A soft surface playground featured an airport/train station-themed play area. A refrigerated ice skating rink provides winter recreation.

Several features of Mount Greenwood Park honor noted local citizens. A parking area is dedicated to Frederick G. Abrams, Sr. a Chicago Alderman and Treasurer of the Village of Mount Greenwood from 1918 to 1927. A baseball diamond bears the name Rooney Field, in honor of Rooney Richardson (--1982), who took an active role in community affairs. John R. Powers wrote a fictionalized trilogy of his experience growing up in Mount Greenwood in The Last Catholic in America (1973), Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up (1975?) and The Unoriginal Sinner and the ICE-CREAM GOD (1977). In his first novel, The Last Catholic in America Powers fictitiously wrote how the neighborhood was known as "Seven Holy Tombs" before it was Mt. Greenwood.

The school above is the Mt. Greenwood Elementary School in the far southwest side of Chicago. I graduated from Mt. Greenwood in 1962.

The following shots are housing on the perimeter of the school.

An older home north of the school.

Many of the homes were and are modest bungalows and cape cod.  Homes.  A typical 50's family would have raised four children in these homes. These homes would range from 2 to 3 bedrooms and perhaps 800 feet on the first floor. Some of them had a second floor for an additional 400 feet.

A nicer cape cod home included dormer windows to open up the second floor.

There has been significant investment in homes in Mt Greenwood.  A typical improvement would add a full second level to the original cape cod, often cantilevering over the first floor to pick up additional space.

Another nice improvement is the addition of large front porches to replace the original "stoop".

The home above adds a full second story and the front porch.

The home above illustrates an original brick bungalow on the right and a bungalow with a full second story added on the left.

The school has recently been substantially improved with a large addition and improved playground equipment. When we were there in the 1950's the playground was a large gravel lot with no equipment. Of course we also had to walk 3 miles uphill each way to school in blizzard conditions.

The front porch and flower baskets are a nice touch.

Mt Greenwood is somewhat unique in the south side of Chicago. Many City of Chicago employees are required to live in the City.  A large number of Police and Firemen have chosen Mt. Greenwood, which helps stabilize the community and maintain high property values.

Housing price on Zillow for the brick cape cod home below at 10900 and Trumbull near the Mt Greenwood School: 

The graph below is from and shows housing values. Like much of the rest of the United States bubble values peaked in 2007 and have declined since that time.