Austin is one of seventy-seven officially designated community areas in Chicago, Illinois. Located on the city’s West Side, it is the third-largest community area by population (behind Lake View) and the second-largest geographically (behind South Deering). Austin’s eastern boundary is the Belt Railway located just east of Cicero Avenue. Its northernmost border is the Milwaukee District / West Line. Its southernmost border is at Roosevelt Road from the Belt Railway west to Austin Boulevard. The northernmost portion, north of North Avenue, extends west to Harlem Avenue, abutting Elmwood Park. In addition to Elmwood Park, Austin also borders the suburbs of Cicero and Oak Park.
In 1835, Henry DeKoven purchased prairie land in the region. In 1857, a group of citizens formed the Town of Cicero, a ten-member local governing body that covered modern-day Cicero, Oak Park, Berwyn, and Austin. Eight years later, DeKoven’s land was bought by Henry W. Austin. Austin, a businessman and real estate speculator developed the namesake Austinville subdivision. Its population grew exponentially as the area’s attractive amenities and access to suburban railroad service drew in population. In 1870, the Town of Cicero placed its town hall in Austin. However, by the 1890s, the heavily populated Austin area dominated town politics but did not constitute a majority of voters. The Austin-controlled township government allowed the Lake Street Elevated to extend into Oak Park. Outraged, the other residents of Cicero Township voted to allow Chicago to annex the Austin area in an 1899 referendum. The residents of Austin voted against the referendum.
After World War II, African-Americans increasingly moved into the surrounding community areas of East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, and West Garfield Park. Crime rates in the 1960s were still virtually non-existent while the Austin community was near exclusively white middle class. After the arrival of African Americans during the Great Migration, there resulted from the race and integration-related prejudices, economic decline, and safety concerns. Austin then became a case of the white flight movement, with a dramatic decrease in white residents, white-owned businesses, and industrial jobs. By 1970, despite the aggressive blockbusting efforts of realtors, the Austin community was 32% black. A decade later, it was 73% black. This trend would continue for the rest of the twentieth century with Austin becoming a stronghold for Chicago’s African American middle class. Pest Control Chicago
Restaurants and Pubs
- Out Of Bounds Chicken & Fish is located at 4813 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL
- The Godfather Restaurant is located at 556 N Cicero Ave, Chicago, IL
- Winners Sports Bar & Grill Inc. is located at 5912 W Madison St, Chicago, IL
Check out other neighborhoods like Chinatown