Located 6 Miles South of The Loop.
Neighborhoods include: North Kenwood, Bronzeville, Kenwood, East Hyde Park
Zip Codes Include: 60615, 60653
Kenwood is located on the shore of Lake Michigan on the South Side of the city. Its boundaries are 43rd Street, 51st Street, Cottage Grove Avenue, and the lake. Kenwood was originally part of Hyde Park Township, which was annexed to the city of Chicago in 1889. Kenwood was once one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods, and it still contains some of the largest single-family homes in the city. It contains two Chicago Landmark districts – Kenwood and North Kenwood. A large part of the southern half of the community area is in the Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District.
In recent years, Kenwood has received national attention as the home of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Kenwood was settled in the 1850s by wealthy Chicagoans seeking respite from the increasing congestion of the city. The first of these residents was John A. Kennicott, who built his home near the Illinois Central Railroad at 48th Street. He named the home Kenwood after his ancestral land in Scotland, and when the Illinois Central Railroad built a small depot near 47th Street, they named the station Kenwood as well. Shortly afterwards, the name Kenwood began to be applied to the whole area.
The southeastern portion of Kenwood contains the Indian Village neighborhood, which features the Chicago Landmark Powhatan Apartments and the National Register of Historic Places Narragansett. The 1902 Blackstone Library is another well-known landmark in the neighborhood. It continues to be part of the Chicago Public Library system. The recently reopened Hyde Park Art Center, located on Cornell Avenue just north of 51st Street and East Hyde Park Boulevard, is Chicago’s oldest alternative exhibition space, with an on-site school and studio.
The area that contains the Hyde Park community area and the southern half of Kenwood (south of 47th Street) is sometimes referred to as Hyde Park-Kenwood.
Bronzeville is a neighborhood located in the Douglas and Grand Boulevard community areas on the South Side of the City of Chicago around the Illinois Institute of Technology and Illinois College of Optometry. It is accessible via the Green and Red lines of the Chicago Transit Authority, as well as the Metra Electric District Main Line. In 2011 a new Metra station, Jones/Bronzeville Station, opened to serve the neighborhood on the Rock Island and planned SouthEast Service.
In the early 20th century, was known as the “Black Metropolis,” one of the nation’s most significant landmarks of African-American urban history. Between 1910 and 1920, during the peak of the “Great Migration,” the population of the area increased dramatically when thousands of African Americans escaped the oppression of the South and emigrated to Chicago in search of industrial jobs. The Wabash YMCA is considered the first African-American Y in the U.S. It continues as a center today due to the continued support of many of the Black churches in the area. The Wabash YMCA is widely credited as the birthplace of what would later become Black History Month, although this has also been attributed to the noted black historian John .
Noted people associated with the development of the area include: Andrew “Rube” Foster, founder of the Negro National Baseball League; Ida B. Wells, a civil rights activist, journalist and co-organizer of the NAACP; Margaret Taylor-Burroughs, artist, author, and one of the co-founders of the DuSable Museum of African American History; Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman pilot; Gwendolyn Brooks, famous author and first African-American recipient of the Pulitzer Prize; actress Marla Gibbs, legendary singers Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls, and Louis Armstrong, the legendary trumpet player and bandleader who performed at many of the area’s night clubs. The neighborhood contains the Chicago Landmark Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District.
47th Street was and remains the hub of the Bronzeville neighborhood. In the early 21st century, it has started to regain some of its former glory. Gone for good is the Regal Theater (demolished in 1973), where many great performers took the stage.
From the 1940s and 1960s, high-rise public housing projects were constructed in the area, which were managed by the Chicago Housing Authority. The largest complex was the Robert Taylor Homes, which were beset with social problems exacerbated by poverty and poor design. These were demolished in the late 1990s and early 21st century.
The name was first used in 1930 by James J. Gentry, a local theater editor for the Chicago Bee publication. It refers to the brown skin color of African Americans, who predominated as residents in that area. It has become common usage throughout the decades.
Kenwood is served by the CTA Red & Green Lines, and many connecting CTA buses at the 47th St. & 51st St. stations.
• Total 17,841
• Density 16,000/sq mi (6,300/km2)
• White 16.5%
• Black 71.9%
• Hispanic 3.0%
• Asian 5.4%
• Other 3.2%