Have you ever wondered why Beverly is named Beverly, or what happened to Pennyville? Well wonder no more! The exceptional folks at Mental Floss have compiled a fairly comprehensive list of the origins of some of Chicago’s neighborhoods – most of them, actually.
With as many as there are, they couldn’t make a complete list (some stories are lost to history, it happens), but this is a great starting point. Some highlights include:
AVALON PARK This neighborhood was originally named “Pennytown” for Penny, a local general store owner who sold popcorn balls. The area’s Avalon Park Community Church lobbied to have the name changed, and Pennytown—and Penny’s popcorn balls—are no more.
HERMOSA In 1889, the city of Chicago annexed this area, which was part of Garfield, and changed the name to Hermosa, Spanish for “beautiful.” No one knows why, but everyone agrees it’s very nice.
JACKOWO Jackowo gets its name from the Polish spelling of Saint Hyacinth’s Basilica (Bazylika Św. Jacka) at the center of the neighborhood.
LINCOLN PARK Lincoln Park was originally a cemetery for cholera and smallpox victims. Shallow graves located so close to the city’s water supply rightly raised some alarms, so Chicago began converting it into a massive park called “Lake Park” in the 1860s. After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, the park was renamed in his honor.
Check out the full article for the rest – it makes for an interesting read!