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Jefferson Park, Chicago

Jefferson Park
Community area
Community Area 11 - Jefferson Park
Location within the city of Chicago
Location within the city of Chicago
Country United States
State Illinois
County Cook
City Chicago
 • Total 2.35 sq mi (6.09 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,448
 • Density 11,000/sq mi (4,200/km2)
Demographics 2010[1]
 • White 68.67%
 • Black 1.04%
 • Hispanic 19.36%
 • Asian 8.87%
 • Other 2.06%
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Codes parts of 60630, 60646
Median household income $60,592[2]
Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services

Jefferson Park is one of 77 well-defined community areas located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, USA. The neighborhood of Jefferson Park occupies a larger swath of territory, as shown on this map.

Jefferson Park is bordered by the community areas of Norwood Park to the northwest, Forest Glen to the northeast, Portage Park to the south. and the suburb of Harwood Heights to the south. Although the official community area map draws the boundary between Jefferson Park and Portage Park at Gunnison and Lawrence, the Jefferson Park neighborhood extends to Montrose further south.


  • History 1
  • Jefferson Park (Chicago Park District) 2
  • Education 3
  • Culture 4
  • Transportation 5
  • Neighborhoods 6
    • Jefferson Park 6.1
      • Indian Woods Community 6.1.1
    • Gladstone Park 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Monument of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Jefferson Park Transit Center.

Settlement in the vicinity of Jefferson Park began in the 1830s with John Kinzie Clark and Elijah Wentworth, whose claim was near what is now the Jefferson Park Metra Station, where he operated a tavern and inn. The tiny settlement of traders, hunters, and farmers consisted of simple one and two room log cabins until Abram Gale, for whom Gale Street is named, built the first frame house in Jefferson. Jefferson Park became the hub of an independent township that was incorporated at the nearby Dickinson Tavern as Jefferson Township in 1850 until annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889. The area was once home to a significant population of Volga Germans, and one of the area's one time local landmarks was a local apartment buildings in the vicinity of the park along Higgins Avenue dubbed by locals as "the Russian Hotel".

Jefferson Park is also, appropriately enough, home to the The Northwest Chicago Historical Society which is dedicated to preserve the area's rich history as well as most historical events and lectures.

Jefferson Park (Chicago Park District)

Jefferson Park, the park, with a view of the field house designed by Clarence Hatzfeld

Jefferson Park is a 7-acre (28,000 m2) park operated by the Chicago Park District. The park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is located on the site of the Esdohr Farm.


Jefferson Park residents are served by Chicago Public Schools, which includes neighborhood and city-wide options for students. There are also a number of private parochial schools run by Roman Catholic and Lutheran congregations in the area. The Chicago Public Library operates the Jefferson Park branch for neighborhood residents.


The Copernicus Center, supported by the Copernicus Foundation is located in Jefferson Park. It houses the former Gateway Theater, as well as a number of other event venues and meeting spaces.

Jefferson Park is the home of the historic former Gateway Theatre Movie Palace that is now only part of the Copernicus Center. The Copernicus Center & former Gateway Theatre (renamed the Mitchell P Kobelinski theater) still serve the community today as a performing arts center, hosting numerous music concerts, theatrical performances, classes, seminars, community meetings, and cultural events throughout the year. The Copernicus Center is also a voting location for Jefferson Park residents. The Copernicus Center "Annex," which includes both an event space and offices, houses the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce office.

Jefferson Park is also home to the award-winning Gift Theatre Company, a professional theatre company located at 4802 N. Milwaukee co-founded by Jeff Park native Michael Patrick Thornton.

The neighborhood holds two large festivals annually: Jeff Fest in June, and Taste of Polonia over Labor Day weekend.

The Taste of Polonia has brought some of the nation's most prominent political figures to Jefferson Park to woo the support of Vice-President Dick Cheney as well as Tipper Gore, and Hadassah Lieberman made an appearance.[3] Vice-President Cheney's presence was particularly notorious with coverage in the New York Times of his lively antics which included dancing the polka, serving attendees kielbasa with stuffed cabbage and addressing a cheering crowd by shouting the Polish phrase Sto Lat.[4]


Jefferson Park has long been one of Chicago's transportation hubs, earning the neighborhood the nickname as "The Gateway to Chicago".[5]

The neighborhood is serviced by the Blue Line's Jefferson Park station located on its southeastern edge next to the Kennedy Expressway at the intersection of Milwaukee and Avondale, less than three blocks away from the Copernicus Center and the historic Jefferson Park Congregational Church. The station is attached to a stop along the Union Pacific/Northwest (UP-NW) commuter rail line provided by Metra, previously owned by the Chicago and North Western Railway and currently operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. In 2005, a monument to Thomas Jefferson was placed along the station's entrance along Milwaukee Avenue.


Jefferson Park

Milwaukee Avenue, just south of Lawrence

Jefferson Park is a predominantly middle-class neighborhood of people coming from a variety of diverse backgrounds. Like many neighborhoods on the Northwest Side of Chicago the neighborhood has a heavy Polish-American presence, and is home to the Copernicus Foundation, the Polish parish of St. Constance, as well as a host of other Polish-American organizations, institutions and businesses.

Jefferson Park is also known for having a very high number of resident city and county workers. The area is filled with the homes of Chicago Public School teachers and staff, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department as well as Cook County Sheriff officers and staff.

Boundaries are Austin Ave, Chicago River, Railway, Elston Ave, Foster Ave, Edens Expy, Cicero Ave, Montrose Ave, Narraganset Ave, Nagle Ave, BrynMawr Ave, Northwest Hwy, Milwaulkee Ave.

Indian Woods Community

Boundaries are Indian Rd, Central Ave, Ardmore Ave.[6]

Gladstone Park

Gladstone Park is a neighborhood in the northern section of the Jefferson Park community area of Chicago. It is centered at the large and confusing intersection of Northwest Highway and Central, Milwaukee, and Foster Avenues. The Kennedy Expressway runs nearby as well and has an entrance from Foster Avenue. The park for which the neighborhood is named is located a few blocks to the northwest between Northwest Highway and Milwaukee, on Menard Avenue.

The numerous examples of homes in the Dutch Colonial style has led to the area's nickname as "Little Rotterdam", an allusion to the Dutch city of Rotterdam

Gladstone Park has a stop along the Union Pacific/Northwest (UP-NW) commuter rail line provided by Metra and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad which runs through Chicago, and its surrounding suburbs.


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External links

  • Official City of Chicago Jefferson Park Community Map
  • The Jefferson Park Historical Society's official website
  • Chicago Park District
    • Jefferson Park
    • Gladstone Park
    • Foster Austin Park
    • Roberts Square Playlot
  • Encyclopedia of Chicago
  • A Short History of Jefferson Park
  • The Jefferson Park Free Press
  • Copernicus Center
  • Taste of Polonia
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